No matter how bad things get, never give up!

Dec 11, 2023

 

QUESTION

Dear Robina,

 

Hello and thank you for being here to listen to me. My story is rather a shocking one to most, but possibly not yourself.

 

I am a survivor of sexual abuse. I survived cancer. I have been physically abused. I’ve been an alcoholic. Many bad things have happened over the years. But I’m clean and sober now.

 

I have severe PTSD. I tried to end my life several times. I feel hopeless and afraid sometimes. Why all this suffering and why am I still here? I am despised by my mother and my children and feel unloved apart from my dog.

 

I know you will understand! Thanks for sharing and how wonderful it is to have found your teachings. I am best friends with one of the local sangha, which really helps.

 

Thanks for listening to me and I do wish all suffering would just dissolve into emptiness and out of emptiness appears omniscience.

 

Life and Light,

L

 

ANSWER

Happy to hear from you, dearest L!

 

Thank you for telling me about your life. You’ve certainly been through plenty. But I am full of admiration for how you’ve persevered through it all and continue to live your life. You’re doing beautifully, it seems to me!

 

When we can get a feeling for the approach of karma, that all the good as well as bad things that happen to us are the result of our own past actions, we can really begin to move forward and let go of the pain, the PTSD. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, karma is like self-creation. I love that!

 

This view, if we use it properly, is a powerful antidote to self-pity, and the very instinctive feeling that we all have that somehow we didn’t ask to get born, that it’s not our fault, and how dare bad things happen to us. We all feel like this – it is a natural consequence of ego-grasping.

 

But owning all the good that happens to us — and we must remember the good! — as well as the bad really helps us grow up, become accountable. 

 

And the main thing it brings is the confidence that we’re not set in stone, that we can change. And that experiencing all the bad things is cleaning us up, it’s purification.

 

As Lama Zopa Rinpoche told one of my friends who’d been meditating for years and who was experiencing some pretty bad things, “Fantastic! The dirt has to come out! The dirt has to come out!” 

 

Don’t feel hopeless, L. You’re doing so well! It’s really important to remember all your good qualities, your good experiences. Don’t define yourself in terms of the bad, or in terms of what other people think of you. It’s painful that people don’t like us mainly because of our deepest attachment, which is the attachment to be approved of. 

 

You need to approve of yourself, L! Who cares what everyone else thinks! Remember your good qualities, your effort, your buddha nature. Rejoice in your efforts, your hard work! This is so important — I can’t stress it enough.

 

Keep moving! Never give up.

 

Much love,

Robina

 

QUESTION

Dear Venerable Robina,

 

Thank you for your email. I really had to re-read it again to allow what you said to settle in my mind. 

 

I believe greatly in karma and can agree with you. Ego-grasping is always a tough one. So is karma.

 

I’m thankful that I have discovered the Dharma and I forget to see my good qualities often and have given attention to the inner critic instead. 

 

I am doing my best but it’s a challenging time. 

 

The joys of being on the path to liberation! I really wish for all suffering beings to encounter the Dharma and to leave suffering behind. I wish so deeply for our suffering to cease, and its causes. 

 

I’m very grateful to our kind lamas and all those upholding the Dharma.

 

May all beings be free from suffering, Robina. 

 

Best Wishes,

Kindly L

 

ANSWER

L!

 

You are doing your best, that’s for sure, it’s clear. So just keep moving, that’s the key to success. We all go up and down, it’s our nature as long as we have attachment.

 

But slowly slowly changes happen. Always see that, L, always identify with your goodness, with your efforts, with your courage.

 

I rejoice, for sure!

 

Much love,

Robina

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