In light of Valentines Day, I’ve caught a few posts on blogs here and there about love. While I won’t go copy/pasting those, nor do I have anything terribly inspirational to say on the matter, I think I can share a little of my experience instead.
My mind, where it comes to love, has always been very easily confused between love of a caring, compassionate type and love of the sexual type, or lust. There have been times in my life where I have misinterpreted people as having a romantic interest in me (inappropriately or not) and have not always responded to those situations as well as I could have. Further, I have always been very easily distracted by women even when they aren’t making [real or imaginary] advances. In other (simpler) words, sex can be a massive mental hindrance for me.
These sorts of problems have plagued me for a long time. While not resulting in any overt action of unfaithfulness in nine years of marriage, the unfaithfulness of my mind has found the occasion to strain my own perception of our solidarity. I have wondered at times whether we would survive my continual mental turmoil; whether my delusions would eventually have me act out in some unpardonable manner.
Since I have adopted the teachings of the Buddha, I have found some relative peace as it pertains to this. In a lot of ways, I have said that “the Buddha saved my marriage,” because His teachings on mindfulness go much further than simply meditating for hours or leaving one’s family in pursuit of a solitary life. Not everyone is ready for that, and His teachings reflect this. I have learned that I can turn a mental eye back onto my mind and watch the formations of thoughts and feelings, the rising and falling of urges, and it is possible to know their source in delusion and choose to put them down.
It isn’t always a matter of ease, but these practices of observing one’s own thoughts have helped me put down a great deal of anger, hatred, and even lust. I have read that once one starts to let go of these afflictive emotions, while they may not be permanently gone, in each subsequent instance it can be progressively easier to let it go.
This has rung true for me. Some things are still difficult, and the distraction of the female sex is still a problem that is not ignored in my daily practice, but a great deal of my delusions on the matter have been managed. Ultimately, happiness is not something that can be sought for, but is decided in one’s own mind. I have found contentment in my wonderful wife and family, and even in my job most of the time, and do not have to feel unhappy as a result of things that are not me.
I’m far from perfection, but at the end of the day, I just hope that my wife and family are as happy as I am — and when they are not, I will endeavor to help them be so.
I hope you are well today, my friends. Much Metta.