I was recently reading the Guardian website and found a series of articles offering advice on different day-to-day situations. They were called ‘Dear Mariella’ because they were written by Mariella Frostrup. I remember her hosting movie review programs like The Little Picture Show and a hundred TV advertisement voice overs. The articles can be found here:
One or two of the ‘Dear Mariella’ articles caught my eye because it was about the inability to let go of the past. Unable to move forward, the people writing about their situations were stuck in various ways. This meant that they didn’t see what they had and were unable to move forward to a different future.
Many of my own hang-ups can be described using a similar pattern. Something happened in the past and I haven’t really let go of the situation. Here are two specific situations that have all happened in the past so they’re relatively straight forward to handle in this way. There are other on-going situations but they are more tricky.
1. An imagined future with a specific partner that has long since ended.
Impact: I longed for an imagined future with that specific partner and have kept my emotions locked inside myself since then. I haven’t been able to imagine anything else.
Desired Outcome: Get out of the habit of imagining what could have been. To be emotionally open to meeting a new partner. Be open to imagining a new future with that new person. Work at that relationship and make a real effort when I find it.
2. A relationship that soured with a particular Buddhist organisation that I no longer have anything to do with.
Impact: Led to a certain amount of wariness and mistrust with other Buddhist organisations.
Desired Outcome: Be open to having a closer spiritual friendship with the spiritual teachers that I do know and trust. Make a real effort and work at that friendship.
- In a way I am exhibiting the following afflictive emotions:
- Attachment: I am attached to the past in a way that is limiting and restricting my behaviour and future possibilities.
- Not wishing myself happiness: I want myself to be happy. By engaging in these patterns of behaviour I am not letting myself be happy. If I can’t wish for my own happiness then how can I wish for the happiness of all other sentient beings?