Don’t Let Disappointment Lead to Dis
I like the Dalai Lama. He seems like a really nice guy … friendly, relaxed, happy and healthy. In my mind’s eye, he’s smiling. He smiles a lot.
When you hear him speak, you can tell he knows a few things about the nature of living on earth.
The Lama is a Buddhist, of course, and Buddhists talk a lot about suffering. The broad and somewhat vague way they talk about it never really resonated to these American ears.
But then the Lama did a little “translating”, and it kicked off a whole line of thinking for me by substituting the word disappointment for suffering.
In life, we inevitably suffer disappointments … a lot of them … even if you’re living a really “good” life. It actually defines the human experience in the most fundamental way. We want things and we don’t get them … or we don’t want things and we do.
We get all appointed … and then disappointed. It’s the same for folks from Tibet to Mississippi. Sure, some disappointments are no big deal and some folks suffer less than others, but we ALL experience disappointment and suffering.
Yeah, okay. So what?
Look at the word dis-appointed. Dis = apart or lost or missing.
Disappointment is an emotion. We can’t really get away from it when things don’t work out. We’re gonna experience it.
But what makes all this relevant is what disappointment can lead to if we aren’t careful … a whole lot of other disses.
Disappointment can easily cause distress. That’s emotion manifesting itself in not just an emotional way, but a physical way as well.
And, if it persists, distress can lead to disease … the absence of ease and healthy function.
It can cause you to become discouraged and discontented … even distraught.
It causes discord. The origin of the word literally describes disconnecting from your heart.
When you do that, you’re disallowing the grace, the flow of energy … the lightness, hope and happiness … from Source. That’s a disgrace.
That’s not how we usually think of that word, but the absence of heavenly grace is a serious disease condition … the most serious.
That flow is indispensable to our well-being. Without it, we find life distasteful. We become disagreeable, and we dissipate our energies as we chase the next shiny thing sure to make us happy.
And if disappointment leads to distress and disease, we can become disabled.
So, what do we do? If disappointments are inevitable, how do we interrupt this cascade?
What would the Lama say? Buddhists are always talking about achieving a desire-less state. Again … doesn’t resonate.
But again, he translated the idea into something I’m completely aligned with … non-attachment.
Look, I think it’s silly to think we, as humans, can turn off the wanting machine. What’s more, I don’t think that’s a healthy aspiration. Not only is it impossible, it isn’t necessary to achieve peace and happiness.
To never dream, to never hope, to never strive … I don’t think so. That’s to never live.
To avoid heartbreak, simply never take a chance on love? That’ll work, but does it sound like it’ll put you on the road to happiness?
You don’t have to disavow your nature.
What you DO need to do is recognize that getting attached to things turning out a certain way and predicating your degree of happiness on the outcome is a recipe for disgruntlement and misery.
To routinely be more gruntled, do these things:
- Trust the Universe … Source … God … to hold you in a state of grace and manage the things you have no control over so that things just work out. Give up the need to manage so much.
- Don’t get so hung up on anything happening or not happening that it can affect your happiness and peace of mind beyond the short-term emotional reaction. Don’t get too attached. Don’t make your happiness conditional on circumstances.
- Appreciate like crazy the wonders and blessings that abound in our world. Yes, life can test us and often does … but life is good.
We disserve ourselves when we do anything less.
The Lama gets all this … and does all this.
It’s why he’s smiling.
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