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

Suffering, just add water

June 4, 2016 0

If memory serves, this blog post is an elaboration of a text message that I sent to a friend who was pining after a girl. His opinion of her changed by the day and quite frankly, my patience was tested sometimes especially since he showed little signs of wanting to make a change. After many conversations, I concluded to myself that he was subconsciously getting something out of the drama and more keen on staying exactly where he was: a sufferer of unrequited love.

Did Socrates use those exact words?!

Did Socrates use those exact words?!

The post below was was drafted back in June 2015 but I never got around to finishing it because well, you know, stuff 😉 all too often I make notes on my blog, thinking I will revisit it later and all too often, it’s months before I do. Anyway, I hope it’s useful to you now. As for my friend? I am happy to say that he has since moved on :)


Projections arising from delusions results in attachments, that results in suffering. An example? When a girl has a crush on a guy (or the reverse, or everything in between!), and suddenly everything about the boy is perfect.

If the guy helps his mum carry groceries from the car, suddenly he’s the perfect man to become a husband. If the guy is good with babies, he’ll be a great dad. If he smiles at you, he’s professing his undying love for you, so overwhelming that he can’t verbalise it so he shows it in secret little ways only you and he will understand.

Suffering-2

Of course, none of your friends will know what you’re talking about. They will think you’re crazy for liking him; you see him being helpful, they see him being impatient. You see him as being fatherly, they see him as a smooth-talker chatting up the baby’s mum. You see him as mysterious, they see him as being too ashamed to be associated with you.

As delusional beings living a cyclic existence in samsara, we react to cues we perceive with our delusional minds. We project values onto those cues, make them important to us (although they’re really not), react to them and tada – the wheels of suffering are set in motion because we reacted to something we perceived as important, out of a value that was non-existent until we projected it. What’s more, we got attached to that non-existent value and state of existence; when it changed, as all phenomena does, we experienced a kind of cognitive incongruence and pain.

It can’t possibly be that way.

Surely he isn’t like that.

There’s just no way it can be what you say.

SufferingA simple example, you say? Well, how many times have you fallen in love / lust with someone, only to fall out of it later when you see how they truly “are”? Here is the kicker – they were that way all along. We just never saw it because we chose to interpret things differently, and reacted to “the picture in our head of how it is SUPPOSED to be” (and not what it really IS). And when what it really “is” changes, then we are stuck, in pain, we suffer, we fall out of love / lust because in the first place, we were reacting and getting attached to something not truly there.

If the object of our affections were exactly as we see them to be, then everyone would have the same experience and opinion of them, wouldn’t they? Yet, someone we find attractive, others may not see the appeal of.

Once in a while, things do turn out as we expected. In those instances, we think, “See?! I was right about him / her!” but those moments are dangerous because they reinforce a falsity – that things, phenomena, beings are permanent in their thinking, form, timing and existence. But since the reality of existence is impermanence, such occurrences where our projections turn out as expected are designed to lead us to more suffering. They help us get into the habit of expecting and projecting, and therefore put us at risk of more disappointment.

I know the above example will resonate with girls who are conditioned from young to read into signals that aren’t there. The media does a diabolically fantastic job of this:

10 Ways to Know Your Boyfriend Loves You!

17 Things a Guy Does When He Likes You!

Just Say NO: 8 Ways to Win A Boy’s Heart!

How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days

Look, I love my rom-coms as much as the next girl but they aren’t to be taken seriously. Real life is never that way. Yet how many magazines scream such headlines teaching us that (1) it is our job to appeal to the guy (2) we are somehow failures if we cannot because it’s just so easy (3) the secret to love and happiness is really as formulaic as that?

How many magazines tell us that our life is a life unfulfilled if we don’t have a partner and kids?

But who made that the gold standard of happiness and fulfillment? Why are we conforming to such expectations, looking for easy ways to accomplish them and expecting those methods are universal in their effectiveness? Why do we set ourselves up for failure and disappointment?

Real life – the one that exists beyond our delusional mind of projections – is out there waiting for us to see things as they are really are. All we have to do is switch our perception :)

Reflections and Teachings

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