Healing All Our Relationships

March 12, 2024

“Purifying our mind of delusions through spiritual practice fulfills our deepest longing for true, lasting happiness.”
– Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche, How to Transform Your Life

According to the Buddhist view we can completely heal any relationship and quite quickly. This begins with meditation.

The practice of meditation is about creating a place of refuge, an inner sanctuary within which we can safely revisit any painful relationships and investigate what’s actually going on.

When we do this we discover two key insights:

Firstly, in a painful relationship, we can recognize that we are over-focusing on the other person, specifically on their perceived faults. Buddha’s teachings on anger reveal to us that the deluded mind of anger exaggerates the faults in the object it is perceiving and believes them to be true. We don’t think we are angry. We think we’re seeing clearly.

Secondly, we can recognize that when we do become angry there’s a hurt “self” appearing to our mind and we are believing that self to be who we really are. An angry thought arises in our mind and we identify with it as me, instead of recognizing “a hurt and overwhelmed self is appearing and I’m believing that appearance to be who I am.”

Buddha called this “self-grasping ignorance” – a type of delusion that believes the identity that is appearing to our mind to be who we are, when in fact it is just an appearance, just a thought.

It can take some time to gain a visceral experience of our self-grasping ignorance in our mind but it is worth the effort! By correctly identifying this ignorance in operation we can learn to experience the self in the way that it exists – as mere imputation. This powerful insight will eventually liberate us permanently from all suffering.

By identifying the delusions of anger and self-grasping ignorance that are operating in our mind, we create the possibility to change how we relate to ourself and to other people. How we perceive someone greatly impacts the quality of our relationship. If everything is the nature of the mind, we can heal the relationship simply by changing our mind.

Delusions are a central topic in Buddhism. In Buddha’s Four Noble Truths, he devotes the second truth to exploring how these agitated states of mind – such as anger, jealousy, attachment, greed, deluded pride, and principally the root delusion of ignorance that misunderstands how things exist – are the cause of all our suffering.

Thankfully, Buddha also taught methods for eradicating them all together.

Enjoy this video with Kadam Morten, where he examines delusions and how we can remove them from our mind based on Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s teachings:

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