A few days after my last post, about bringing compassion into divorce I read a passage from the Dalai Lama that seemed to exactly amplify my point. One of the many books I'm reading is "The Book of Joy", by the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and Douglas Abrams. In a chapter about "acceptance," the DL said:
...Imagine that you are living next to a difficult neighbor. You can judge and criticize them. You can live in anxiety and despair that you will never have a good relationship with them. You can deny the problem or pretend that you do not have a difficult relationship...None of these is very helpful.
Instead, you can accept that your relationship...is difficult and that you would like to improve it. You may or may not succeed, but all you can do is try. You cannot control your neighbor, but you do have some control over your thoughts and feelings. Instead of anger, instead of hatred, instead of fear, you can cultivate compassion for them, you can cultivate kindness...This is the only chance to improve the relationship. In time, maybe they will become less difficult. Maybe not. This you cannot control, but you will have peace of mind. You will be able to be joyful and happy whether your neighbor becomes less difficult or not.I get it -- your ex is not (usually) your neighbor. And "relationship" with your ex might sound like a stretch (although see my earlier blog post about this). If you can look a little deeper, the wisdom which the Dalai Lama is imparting is really useful whether it applies to a difficult neighbor or a difficult ex. Hopefully these words, from the mouth of the compassionate and wise DL, are helpful.
Source: "The Book of Joy" (ibid.)