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Getting back on track

Woman holding flowers.
You guided me spiritually with just a few words and I felt healing begin. (Photo by Jim Nix)

The following are excerpts from an email that Gena wrote the Abbey, describing how she began healing from grief and getting back on track. All of us go through periods of loss, confusion, and grief, and Gena's reflection on how she healed can help us.

Dear Venerables Thubten Chodron, Thubten Chonyi and Thubten Semkye,

Venerable Chonyi, you gave me the most kind of words via an email the past few weeks. You guided me spiritually with just a few words and I felt healing begin. My mind has been much more at peace.

Venerable Semkye, your last two Bodhisattva Breakfast Corner teachings made me start thinking and searching again for more Dharma teachings, for answers. Those two recent teachings opened my mind to my own disturbing thoughts. Your honesty touched me. I began learning again.

Venerable Thubten Chodron, your teaching on self-centered thoughts not only had me laughing: I was so self-centered I actually thought you were talking directly to me (tongue in cheek). The teaching was about millions of us human beings, and it was about me as well. I had not realized what I had done until I listened to your teaching. I knew I had been lost in grief and loss and felt great pain for quite a while now. I knew my reaction to the losses and my behavior caused me even greater pain. I had put up boundaries, tightly, rigidly, and all but covered myself in the hole I had dug and “decorated” for myself. This hole created depression and great anxiety. I was so stuck in the hole that I was all but certain I would never get out of it. Miserable, I had no idea what to do. I was stuck in grief from one loss, then another, and more people kept passing out of my life. I wondered why I was depressed and anxious. So I kept searching for answers—answers that would not only open my eyes and my mind, but my heart as well.

In my confusion, I thought my self-centered thoughts were my best friend. Seeing that that is not the case, I crawled out of my hole, covered it up with cement, and began living again, laughing again, practicing the Dharma again, and thinking about other things besides myself. So, I have learned A LOT recently. Thinking about others, not self, is very potent medicine.

Through the Dharma the three of you shared with me, I received the answers I had been searching for. My heart became peaceful. I plan to work hard, open my heart and mind to continue learning the Dharma, to keep the mind of “me me me” at bay, and to share what I have learned with others that are in pain.

Thank you for sharing the Dharma. It has made a huge difference in my life, and because of that, maybe I can make a difference in someone else’s life.

Guest Author: Gena Butler