One thing that grows out of a relationship that has fallen apart is disappointment. This is something I have been struggling a lot with as I continue to ask myself “Why… How did it all go wrong?” I begin to doubt my self-worth and cling to the fear that I’ll never find someone to share my life, my dreams with. I sense that there is something I’m missing amongst all of this disappointment; something that this experience is calling my attention to, but which I have yet to discover.
It’s easy to lose yourself, to forget what is most important when you devote so much of your time comparing yourself to others and vying for someone else’s approval. But in a moment of clarity late last night a thought occurred to me: I will never be happy trying to fit into someone else’s mold. All of this juxtaposing has made me miserable and hollow inside. I can only live my life with genuine intent and authenticity and in so doing I will attract that which I hope to find.
… which brings me back to the issue of disappointment. In my research this morning on how to start living a more authentic life I happened upon some words of wisdom from Phillip Moffitt, former CEO and Editor-in-chief of Esquire magazine who has since founded the Life Balance Institute and now teaches meditation (proof that anyone is capable of changing paths). What he explains is that hope can often be false in the sense that it is merely a refusal to accept things as they are.
“When you reject the moment that is arising just because it is unpleasant, you are rejecting the only moment you have in which to be alive, the only moment in which you can feel and act. If you are lost in disappointment about the future or the past, you are not fully and authentically present in the moment.”
Got it. Less hope = Less disappointment. I have been telling myself that where once I was a hopeless romantic, now I’m just hopeless. So maybe that’s a good thing?
Or maybe… just maybe… it’s part of the natural order of things. One of Buddha’s teachings is that we experience everything in terms of these Eight Worldly Concerns: gain and loss, praise and blame, pleasure and pain, happiness and unhappiness. Buddha referred to these duos as the “terrible twins” because we cannot experience one without the other. To every action there is a reaction. What goes up must come down. And as Moffitt reiterates, “One cannot be open to praise and not receive blame. One cannot experience pleasure and not feel pain. This is the nature of the reality that we know.” Yes, I can see this.
Abandon all hope. Accept that life is full of disappointments. The only way to enlightenment is through our own personal hell. And in that hell, we will experience moments of loss and despair, panic and confusion. “Given that this is so, you can either live in denial of the truth of your experience or obsess on your pains and disappointments. Or you can consciously accept, even embrace life not working out and trust that in doing so you will discover meaning in your life.” I sure hope so.
See more of what Phillip Moffitt has to say at: http://dharmawisdom.org/teachings/articles/living-disappointment#sthash.mJrrUDdx.dpuf