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Switch to Forum Live View asking for advice regarding letting go of past events
9 years ago  ::  Jan 22, 2009 - 8:19PM #1
Wiscidea
Posts: 2,319
Hello.

I'm finding it difficult to let go of a past event or series of events.

I'd rather not provide specifics. Let's just say it happened years ago, did not seem significant at the time, and is now yielding challenging repercussions. There is nothing to do to change the past, of course. And there is nothing to do, in this case, to work around the problem. One might describe it as regrets regarding a path I could have but did not follow. I've tried to let go, but here's the problem. There is an ordinary and unavoidable object -- seen pretty much everyday by the average American -- that reminds me of the event and of the path I could have but did not follow. And while I generally suppress my regret, irritation, frustration, it occasionally and unexpectedly rises to the surface. I hope this is enough information.

Can someone please provide a reference to a sutra, dharma talk (ancient or modern), essay, meditative exercise, or something that I've not thought of that might help me learn to let go of this?

Thank you.
"Some people claim that there's a woman to blame. But I know it's my own damn fault."

Jimmy Buffet (Margaritaville)
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 23, 2009 - 6:22AM #2
Cinorjer
Posts: 124
In the Kwan Urn School of Zen we teach that the four walls that lock us in our cages are wanting mind, attaching mind, checking mind, and holding mind.

Let me tell you a story.

Many, many years ago, when I was a very young man, I enlisted in the military right out of high school.  First time away from home and all that, I was a lonely and unhappy boy stationed across the country.  I was lacking social skills and hated dorm life. 

So one weekend I was pouring out my unhappiness on the phone to my old girlfriend back home and she suggested we get married, so we could get a house off base.  She wanted out of her parent's home as badly as I hated dorm life, it seems.  Is this a bad reason to get married?  I've seen worse, and we were kids.  What did we know?

So I flew home to get married.  And when I sat down on the plane a pretty young woman also in military uniform sat next to me.  We struck up a conversation, and in the couple of hours on the plane I had fallen head over heals in love.  And amazingly enough, she seemed to also find me witty and attractive and we were even holding hands. 

When the plane landed for my stop (she was continuing on) I told her with regret about the marriage I was going to be in that weekend.  She gave me a kiss and her phone number and told me if I changed my mind to call her.

Now, in the movies I would do something like change my mind at the altar and run into this True Love's arms.  Reality is, that would be too embarassing.  So I entered a disasterous marriage that dragged on for 9 years and left me a broken wreck at the end.  And I never forgot, and always regretted not taking life up on that one chance so long ago.  Getting married at that time to that woman was the worst decision of my life.  My worst mistake.  And after our divorce, I actually found that girl's phone number, tucked into my hat where I put it.  Many years too late to call her, of course. 

So a huge mistake and regret.  But without the consequences of that action, I would never have ended up where I am today.  The broken man from the first marriage found Buddhism, changed his life, and emerged from his suffering a much better man.  And without that first marriage, I would have never found my second and most remarkable wife.  So the worst decision I ever made turned out to be the best. 

We have a saying in Kwan Um Zen, "A bad situation is a good situation."  Ponder that.
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9 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2009 - 3:41PM #3
Wiscidea
Posts: 2,319

Cinorjer wrote:

We have a saying in Kwan Um Zen, "A bad situation is a good situation." Ponder that.


Thank you very much for your personal story. Those of us who are not so open are fortunate to live among people who are open.

I'm pondering your story, the Kwan Um Zen saying, and the importance of sharing personal experiences with others. I recognize that a situation is not necessarily bad or good... a situation is not good or bad. But I struggle with incorporating this into my daily life.

An observation... though I refuse to call myself a Buddhist, it is the one tradition -- or collection of traditions -- that helps me cope with life's challenges. Thank you for keeping it alive.

"Some people claim that there's a woman to blame. But I know it's my own damn fault."

Jimmy Buffet (Margaritaville)
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