What Buddhism has given me is boundless and priceless. It has awakened me to reality, true reality. I know that nothing is permanent and that everything changes. I know that everyone in my life will experience illness, aging, loneliness, and death. I reckon that life likely has no cosmic meaning, that once we die, it’s over. I have accepted these truths. But not only that, I’m OK with them. I found peace with them.
With that in mind, think about our Western culture. . . Hollywood films, sitcoms, soap operas, pop songs, advertising, Disney stories. . . think about it. . . there’s a component of “happily ever after” in all these mediums. The message is that everything’s going be all right, everything will come together, the good guy will win, boy meets girl, they fall in love, they get married, buy a home, have kids, and they live happily ever after. . . . well, we all know that only happens in the movies. Nevertheless, whether we deeply know it or not, most of us still believe it. We believe in magic. I suppose we can call it hope.
We are dreamers. We love a good romance novel or film. We love heroes and heroines. And we have these ideas of how our lives should be. Essentially, we have unrealistic expectations. Moreover, we are setting ourselves for disappointment, disillusionment, and emotional and psychological trauma.
Indeed, we’ve been misled, taken for a ride, scammed, bamboozled by the powers that be. No doubt, we’ve been hoodwinked, and now and again we realize it but hate to acknowledge it. Like when we get fired from our job, or when our lover leaves us, or when our spouse cheats on us, or worse yet, when a loved one dies an untimely death—it shakes us to the core, it rocks our
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