Thus I’ve heard, the blessed Gauthama Siddhartha, the Buddha, had told us:
- Not to see the plans you make in thoughts as permanent or certain.
- Not to cling to what you cherish today as permanent or certain.
- Not to cling to your emotional state as permanent or certain.
- Doing so would bring you pain and suffering.
From my own understanding, although I struggle to practice this, I can now see what he spoke about is our untamed or ego-driven positive and negative belief systems.
I live in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Earlier in the week, I had plans for this Friday night and also the weekend. I did makeup visuals in my head or thought, how this will look like, feel like, and how it will help me come out of the negative headspace I experienced at the time. But, due to rising COVID cases in Victoria, the Victorian premier announced our sixth lockdown, which disrupted my plans. My inability to achieve my goals for the weekend did bring me some amount of pain. For a moment, I was not too fond of Daniel Andrews. For a moment, I wanted to break the rules. But, I managed to come out of this headspace.
Retrospectively, I asked myself:
Does this mean I should never make plans?
Does this mean I should create a negative belief system around me that says, “I can never have what I want”?
Wouldn’t that be making the “perceived negative reality” as certain or permanent if I do so?
I am 41 years old now, and I haven’t been fortunate with relationships. I have a powerful negative belief system around this which sounds like:
“I am unworthy to be loved by someone I find attractive in body, mind, and soul, and seek for a partnership.”
I did not let this belief rule me when I fell in love last. I somehow mustered the courage and positivity required to be vulnerable to uncertainty.
But it didn’t work out. He has moved on, and I have to somehow come to terms with this.
I had used so much emotional resources in the last six years around this romance. Today, my ego has made this “failure” to achieve my relationship goal the greatest fuel it has seen to establish the aforesaid negative belief system as certain and permanent.
It has even managed to establish negativity around “unworthiness” further.
If I am honest with you, being vulnerable to uncertainty around anything in life has become very hard for me now. Fortunately, this is only for my personal goals. If I am to work for another’s goals, let it be a friend’s or an organization’s, these negative beliefs don’t interfere.
Why is this?
It is because I am not egoically attached to them.
So how do I change my negative belief system around my personal goals?
I have the answer to this, but it is a lot of hard work. But if I am to be my own therapist or counselor, this is what I would have to tell myself:
I understand that you have had a tough life when it comes to relationships. You have been cheated on, taken from, raped, bashed, experienced unkept promises, and the list of negative, painful experiences can go on. But, now you use these experiences to future forecast. You have managed to overwrite or overlook the positive relationship experiences you’ve had.
I know you are thriving to understand what Buddha said.
I know you struggle and feel pressured from two directions and constantly ask yourself:
- Am I not to have any goals?
- Am I not to seek love or sexual relationships?
- Are those wrong?
The cause of your pain is “doubt” and “fear”
“Doubt” arises from needing to know and needing to see the outcome, needing to be correct.
“Fear”, in your case, arise from the fear of experiencing the same pain you experienced in the past again.
“Doubt” and “Fear” keep us from being vulnerable to uncertainty.
When you daydream of a beautiful future, you stop it. You say to yourself:
“That will never happen.” Or you get embarrassed about it as you fear someone else will hear your thoughts or know your mind.
It will take someone like you a lot more effort to quieten the negative belief’s voices.
But, always remember,
“Nothing we forecast is certain or permanent.”
These are Buddha’s words. He did not say,
“Only forecasted positive experiences are uncertain and impermanent. All forecasted negative experiences are certain and permanent”.
“Everything we create in our mind and forecast is uncertain and impermanent. Thus, creating an emotional attachment to them will bring you suffering”.
So try not to cling to your negative belief system. You know through experience how much suffering it brings to you.
I am always there for you if you need me… “
– Nim –
(Nimeshe Dilraj Madanayake)