Excerpted from the book, The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment
by Alice Grist
Buddhism is anger management with bells on! Many of us are used to living on an emotional tightrope. Even the calmest people may be covering for a great deal of turmoil that they simply do not outwardly display. Buddha, like any good counselor, wants you to let go of all negative emotions and attachments that are disturbing you and standing in your way to accomplishing inner peace. It may be you are too attached to your material objects, unhealthy relationship or business-like reputation. Your blockage to inner peace may be damaging events from the past that still trouble you, or events yet to happen that may distress you in the future. You may worry unnecessarily, fear the worst or desire new things that you believe will make everything better. Many of us are craving the next thing to make us happy, always believing that things external to us will make the difference. When life does not get better or the façade of material objects breaks down we get sad, angry, frustrated and depressed. Delusion is seen to exclude inner peace. If you allow delusions into your mind, no matter what shape or form they take, you will not experience inner peace and your life will be characterised by negativity and foul emotions. Buddha taught that much of our misery is visited on us by our own mind, and its delusions. Delusion is a Buddhist’s foe, so let’s get to know the enemy so we can see who or what it is we are avoiding….
All human suffering is viewed as coming from a deluded state of mind. This refers to the day-to-day rubbish that we all get mired in. A delusion might be something that you attribute significance to that does not really deserve such a high standing. For example, ‘If I purchase a lipstick in the ‘Pussycat Bows’ shade of red, then Friday night will be perfect,’ or the belief we have all encountered that another piece of cheesecake is definitely, without a doubt, the right way to go.
Delusion informs you that you will be happy when you have your next car, holiday, man, job, kitchen, etc. These material things, however, only make us happy temporarily. An example of this could be the person we fell in love with who one year down the line cannot live up to our expectations, but we blame that person rather than looking at our unrealistic perception of them. It could be our vivid imagination that imagines goodness where there is none, only to be let down time and time again. It rears its head when we mistake lust for love, alcohol for confidence and jealousy for caring.
Delusion is a tricky scoundrel and often we use/abuse our minds to justify our behaviour. In doing so, we mire ourselves down in negativity and immoral actions. We lose our sense of self and our perceptions become warped and unreliable. We suffer a broken heart constantly as nothing makes us as happy as we think we deserve to be. We do not realise that our own feral and abandoned selves cause all of the misery we are suffering. All things that lurk and stagnate around the fringes of our society are likely to result from somebody’s delusions. Greed, intolerance, addiction, prejudice, crime, cruelty and violence can all be attributed to delusions gone crazy. Whatever form it appears in, delusion is ultimately destructive and something that Buddhists aim to purge from their lives.
Before you can fully eliminate these emotions or attachments you have to recognise them, as well as how they specifically affect you or where they might catch you unawares. It may be that a sexy body or delicious ice cream is in your grasp. Your mind might desire these things, and you may feel that you need them, one or both, even simultaneously! In some instances this desire may be harmless, but for the married woman or obese dieter this delusion becomes a form of self-sabotage. To believe that these things will give us the happiness we crave is liable to lead to abstract misery. Delusion is a drug and alas, we are our own dealers!
In today’s world we do tend to look for happiness in other people, objects, possessions and achievements. If someone writes off your brand new car or you catch your boyfriend in bed with the neighbour, it is natural to react badly. A Buddhist temperament would require you to attempt to rise above the hurt, forgive them and offer unconditional love to them and all beings. Realistically, I am sure you can do your forgiving from a distance, and nobody is saying you have to take the womanising scoundrel back!
It is fair to say that Buddha never married Mick Jagger nor did he have his brand new VW Beetle totaled by a drunken idiot. And do not for a second think that if I caught my man in bed with another lady I would not go anything other than completely crazy. Quite frankly, I am not convinced that I will always be able to say no to that last piece of pizza, or refuse to listen to the remarkable gossip about Posh and Becks. However, given a few lifetimes of Buddhist practice, you and I may just about be getting there! If you can control your delusions, you are certainly well on your way to Enlightenment.
Alice Grist is the young and glamorous author of The High Heeled Guide to Enlightenment, a practicing Intuitive Tarot Card Advisor and Reiki Practitioner. She is also a freelance writer whose work has been published in Chic Today, Kindred Spirit and 69 Magazine, amongst others. Alice was recently featured as a 'top psychic' in Fate and Fortune Magazine in relation to her Tarot Reading. She is currently collating ideas and research for her second book. You can find more information at her website, AliceGrist.co.uk.