So we went for Ajahn Brahm's talk, a last minute decision on my side but there's definitely no regrets to doing so.
His talk was on guilt and fear, Kevin happily told me it was on "Secrets to Happiness", so when the topic was read by the emcee, I tumbled into a well of painful memories..
I thought about the incident earlier this year, a friend of mine asked me out for dinner but I rejected his offer because I wanted to watch another friend of mine play at a competition. Halfway through the match his sister called to tell me he was knocked down, and later that night he passed away. I cried, I screamed, I shook in denial. I asked myself why didn't I choose to eat dinner with him. If I did, we would be eating and he wouldn't be crossing the road, or anywhere near it. Friends around me tried to pacify me, telling me it wasn't my fault, that a lot of other things could have happened even if I chose to be out with him, yet I was all too negative to accept their views.
I was thankful for the talk, credits to Kevin who texted me otherwise I'd have forgotten about it. It helped me a lot, so I want to share this with you guys too, so that if, in any case, you've any encounter of guilt/fear, this will help you =]
Guilt is a negative emotion towards the past; fear is the same towards the future.
Ajahn Brahm also pointed out that we, as humans, have a habit of blaming others, although there's nothing to be blamed. By feeling guilty, we are blaming ourselves.
Something might happen, due to a truckload of reasons, one of which includes the ripening of Karma. If it does ripen, nothing done would change it.
However, if we are aware of a certain condition, don't leave ourselves thinking- it's karma, nothing can be done. Do something, because sometimes, it might not be Karma. So just try, at least you've done your best, and you know you have.
Why feel guilty? In Buddhism, actions are wholesome/unwholesome only if it is conducted with an intention. If you didn't have any intentions of conducting a deed, don't feel guilty!
Sometimes we feel guilty because we think that our (unintended) actions have caused someone harm, even when we do not know what really happened to them. Have you ever thought, that maybe these incidents have benefited others by allowing them to grow. mature and learn?
Ajahn Brahm drew an analogy to life as taking university entrance examinations. It consists of 6 papers with 10 questions each.
If one question in one paper is answered incorrectly but the others were well done, does it mean you will not be able to enter the university?
In life, it's similar. We might have made a mistake, but if for the rest of our lives we've been mindful, compassionate, avoiding evil, doing good, does that mean we're bad?
Hence, if we make a mistake that leads us to feeling bad, think again. Acknowledge it, face it and most importantly learn from it.
Now, moving on to fear.
Same with guilt, we're so attached to negative emotions towards the future that we miss out on the present moment.
Yesterday, the computer crashed on me. So i was very very unsettled because I was really worried that my sister would come home and holler at me.
Then, she came home, all happy, fixed it, and asked me for help.
The sense of relief was.... immense. Then i thought to myself- stupid girl, worry for nothing.
See? Things don't always go wrong!
I lived that few hours in a lot of pain, but so what if i was? Even if something were to go wrong, what could I do even before she came home? (I'm an IT idiot so fixing the comp would just worsen it.) Why worry?
In the organisation of some activities, some might worry "this might go wrong, that might go wrong"
Why would they go wrong? Because of certain organisational loopholes?
Fix it then!
If there's really nothing to be done because you're just worrying, like, worrying that the world would end and we'd all die (okay this is really bad example), then live happily and make the best of the present moment!
Yup! Be happy, be well =]
& I've learnt that my sister is not that scary.