by Michael Hurley L.Ac.
Do you want to have better relationships with co-workers, family, a significant other or just anyone you meet? Try lowering your bar. I know that is a blunt statement and please know that I am referring to healthy relationships not emotionally or physically abusive relationships. If those apply to you, get help removing that relationship from your life.
Recently, I have re-acquainted myself with “If the Buddha Married” by Charlotte Kasl. This is an amazing book that introduces Buddhist concepts in the context of married couples. It is a book that Tricia and I began reading when we were having a particularly difficult time in our relationship and it is something that I always find myself going back to. In this particular read through, and there have been many for multiple reasons, I really resonated with the chapter where she talks about accepting what is and not being attached to what isn’t. In Buddhism, there is an idea that we go through a certain amount of suffering in our life. This is not to say that all life is about suffering but that we negotiate suffering at certain points in our lives. The other important thing is that we are actually the cause of our own suffering not other people or things even though we may feel that way sometimes.
That brings me to the point of this article. We are the cause of our own suffering. Through our expectations of what, we feel, should be but is not happening in our lives, we induce suffering on ourselves. It is no one else’s doing. Sure, someone else may be the trigger for some unresolved emotion(s) around a past situation that still needs to be addressed by you. The next time you find that you are blaming someone else for “making your life miserable” or causing you to be sad or anything that you might consider negative, stop, breathe, and ask yourself, “Who is really the cause of my suffering?” Is it the person who cut me off in the rotary or is it I who expects that everyone knows exactly where they are going or that they are concerned with my stress level? Is it my spouse not having dinner ready or making plans that conflict with my own or is it I who expects them to know that I am hungry or that I have a different plan for the evening? Life is seen through an infinite number of perspectives and the chances of one person seeing things in the exact same way as we are astronomical. Understanding that, it makes being patient with our fellow humans much easier. Understanding this means that the other person is not doing something to me that I should be offended at. It just means that they were not seeing the situation in the same perspective that I saw it. In this case, I can send love to the situation not anger and the universe can flow more freely for all of us.
As you can see, relationships do not necessarily mean romantic relationships. We are all in relationships with each other. We upset each other, we support each other, and a host of things in between. The common thread is that we have a responsibility with each other to be truthful and honest about what we feel and what we need. That way each person has a chance to respond in a loving way.
So, the lesson is that we need to detach from the desire for what is not and accept what is in our lives. A great way to do this is to practice gratitude. In one of my past articles, Make a Choice in How You Start Your Day, I offer a nice morning routine that helps to make this practice a priority. I hope you like it and I hope you liked this little message. I think it is a great little reminder for the holidays ahead.