El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

A comment on "What is Your Choice?"

January 13, 2016 0

I read an article recently (on the BBC? HuffPo? I forget) about how people’s inherent nature is altruism. In particular, greater levels of altruism manifest when people have less time to make a decision. The relationship is an inversely proportional one – the longer we have to deliberate over something, then the lower the levels of altruism in our decisions.

So people like to say that it takes time to make a choice, but I do not really think so, especially if we are serious about the choices we are making and it concerns the development of our mind. The question is simple – do we want to be happy and to become a source of happiness for others, or do we want to become a source of pain for ourselves and those around us?

That is not to say the choice will be an easy or pain-free one, especially when it is the opposite of the patterns we are used to reinforcing. It also does not mean that once the choice is made, the work is over. In fact, once the choice is made, the real work begins in ensuring we have the integrity to stick to and uphold the choices we make. But the point is, choice can happen in an instant, if we are sure of what we really want.


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Yes, I do know some people like that. There are just some people who say that they’re sorry over and over again, and they’re very good with their apologies. Only, they’re not so good at ending the reasons why they keep having to say sorry to you.

If they were truly sorry, why would they keep hurting you?

In such instances, I find that it is better to remove such people from my life or to keep them at a distance. Sometimes, no matter how much we want to help them, we just can’t because we aren’t in a position to, we aren’t strong enough, we aren’t clever or skilful enough, there’s no karma or maybe they just don’t want to be helped.

It gets frustrating and upsetting, especially when the people you thought you knew turned out not to be that way at all. It’s a combination of issues – they have always been that way but we never saw it, we had expectations which were disappointed and/or they lied and promised to change but didn’t.

That is why I think this picture here is so appropriate: “I do not trust words, I even question actions. But I never doubt patterns.” Patterns will reflect the true motivation of the person you’re dealing with, and understanding this helps me to manage expectations and therefore manage disappointments.

At the same time, some of the qualities that Rinpoche has blogged about, I also recognise in myself. If I can see the same shortcomings in others, then others can see the same shortcomings in myself. And if the way other people behave make me feel like this, then what effect am I having on others through the way I behave?

If we ever want to improve, we have to learn to be brutally honest with ourselves. How quickly did we read this piece and think “oh, I know someone like that”, just as quickly forgetting that that someone could be ourselves?

Reflections and Teachings

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