“Pain is inevitable in life, but suffering is optional.” —The Buddha
Practising Buddhism means devoting your life to counteract suffering … in a nutshell.
This also makes it predestined to use the tools it offers to help deal with the devastating emotional consequences of a break-up or divorce.
We non-Buddhists should be open to every form of teaching that gives us relief, and which makes us grow as a person. This goes for all the philosophies available out there.
We shouldn't be bound to the tenets of our own tradition and education, but use our good judgment to decide which other ones would also make a good fit in our lives.
Having said that, I recently read an interesting article about how to use the teachings of Buddha to soothe our pain of a divorce or break-up.
The title immediately caught my interest, but does it deliver what it promises?
“Buddhist teachings are not a religion, they are a science of the mind.” —The Dalai Lama
The central message of the article is that the teachings of the young Buddha, who escaped the “perfect world surrounding” of his father and clashed with a world of suffering, is the perfect help for someone who is going through a divorce.
Essentially, it is a similar experience to leaving the safe refuge of marriage.
While going through the pain of this experience is inevitable, and can often act as a catalyst for personal growth, the suffering is not.
Therefore the article offers six different teachings that should help you to reduce unnecessary suffering.
These teachings are Attachments, Compassion, Karma, Mindfulness, Aversion, Impermanence.
What made the most sense to me was the concept of “Attachment” and “Mindfulness.”
In the face of ambiguity and uncertainty, your instinct will be to grasp at what you know and once had, but according to the Buddha, these attachments create suffering. Learning to release your attachments to any particular outcomes in the past, present, or future will lead to a more peaceful existence.
Attachments to certain outcomes create suffering, and releasing these attachments will lead to a more peaceful existence.
For example, after a break-up we are attached and slave to the notion that everything must be as it was before again. We resist change.
So we try to get our Ex back, give our power away, and do lots of stupid things.
The attempt to control things that are beyond our reach only creates frustration.
Mindfulness is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to lead your life, to shut out the past and future, and to only live in the NOW.
It's stepping back and observing YOURSELF, how you perceive your surroundings, observing your own thoughts and attitude towards exterior things.
That way you ensure that you are always on the right path in your recovery and life.
The article offers not so much for concrete exercises, as it offers useful philosophies and ideas to change your thinking towards a divorce or break-up.
But I suggest you read it with an open mind and pick out what made the most sense to you that you can use in your own life.
You can find the article about the six Buddhist teachings that can help soothe the pain of divorce here.
As I've said, everything that helps us, makes us grow and widens our horizons, can't be that bad.