The latter part of today’s Buddhism class was rather interesting. Our professor ended up speaking a bit about some aspects of love in the lecture, in relation to the book we’d just recently started, which has to do with modern Buddhism.
The quote we discussed for much of that part of the period was from Trungpa Rinpoche, the man principally responsible for shaping the face of Tibetan Buddhism in the US. The quote is this:
“Experiencing the upliftedness of the world is a joyous situation. But
it also brings sadness. It is like falling in love. When you are in
love, being with your lover is both delightful and very painful. You
feel both joy and sorrow. This is not a problem, in fact it is
wonderful. It is the ideal human emotion.”
The professor spent some time asking where, exactly, the sadness in love comes from, and why Trungpa would describe it as “wonderful” and the “ideal human emotion.”
The premise has something to do with this: we tend to block ourselves off from – block out and want to get rid of – the negative side of our feelings, to hold off and isolate ourselves from sadness and pain. Yet apparently, hurting is always a part of love – put another way, when the bitterness is removed, so then is the sweetness. So when that sadness we perceive as negative is withheld, when we suppress or distance ourselves from it, then we also distance ourselves from the very emotions that make us happy in the first place.
And then, the professor postulates, might come depression – not in the sense of ‘deep sadness/clinical depression’, but ‘depression’ as in that state where one feels neither happy nor sad…perhaps just ‘bored’, which might be the worst of all.
So the point is that we shouldn’t isolate ourselves from those emotions which seem painful, because it is those emotions that make the sweet emotions as good as they are; it is the duality of the importance of both those emotions we like and those we don’t, that let us experience life.
A lot of what we learned or talked about in the discussion today struck me, resonates with me, to some degree. Leaving lecture, with some of these thoughts in my head, I felt strangely uplifted, as I hadn’t in some time.
I think some of the meaning that I took away from it, part of what made me feel buoyant, was a realization of something rather simple: that it’s okay to feel pain from something like that, that pain from these kinds of life experiences don’t have to be avoided or shielded against because they’re signs that…that one is living, and also…that something is so important, because it’s hard to truly be hurt by something that doesn’t matter. The professor said that well-known phrase: we can be hurt most deeply by the ones we love the most because we are most open with them. So when this kind of pain is felt, it doesn’t have to be negative because it’s a sign that there’s something precious in one’s life.
There’s nothing quite like the feeling of knowing that there are things you hold quite dear.