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25 March 2024

How meditation helped me find happiness after divorce


Fear of facing a future alone

Two years ago, my husband suddenly told me he wanted to end our marriage.

I was shocked, devastated, and lost – although deep in my heart, I also had wished to be free from this unhappy relationship for over half of our 18 year marriage. No matter how hopeless married life became, and having decided to live with my children apart from my husband, I didn’t dare to actually end our relationship due to fear. I was frightened of an unknown future alone, and of being considered as having failed in my marriage.

silhouette of a person on the beach

Seeking space to reflect

For a half year or so after the separation decision, I was depressed. Tears fell even though I wasn’t doing anything - just sitting at work or walking around the park. My mind was so scattered that I lost my house key and iPhone, and I got a red-light offense ticket. I didn’t live my life in the present. Rationally I knew the decision to separate was the right thing to do, but my emotions couldn’t catch up with that.

I kept questioning myself and wondering what went wrong in our marriage. Could the separation have been prevented if I was different? Why did I continue engaging in an unhealthy relationship for almost a decade? Why was I sad after this relationship finally ended? I needed to reflect on myself a lot. I researched where I could look deep into myself internally, and then, almost a year ago, I found a retreat event at Kadampa Meditation Centre Toronto. The very first day that I attended the introductory session at the center, I felt so warm in my heart and a long-forgotten feeling that this was a place where I belonged.


Freedom from negative thoughts

Dharma, Buddha’s teachings, taught me that happiness comes from inner peace. What I need to do is to remind myself of my pure nature, which is often forgotten in busy daily life, and to reconnect myself with such nature. According to Dharma, everyone has “Buddha nature” with a deeply compassionate heart. By consciously and constantly connecting myself with this nature through daily meditation, negative thoughts do not seem to appear in my mind as often as before.

I used to be easily drawn in by negative emotions. But now as soon as these emotions arise, it gives me a red flag. I identify that my anger, frustration, anxiety, agitation, and fears are the objects I am observing, not part of who I am. While keeping an open mind, I now try to let feelings pass as if clouds keep moving and fading away in a clear sky. I’m learning to shift my attention to a vast clear sky instead of focusing on each cloud too much.

An unexpected joy

To my surprise, while processing my separation, I experienced something unexpected - a change in my daughter’s behavior. The more I tried to absorb the essence of Dharma and the more I tried to spiritually grow, the more my daughter became affectionate, giving me hugs and kisses and telling me she loved me.

On Valentine’s Day, when I returned from work, she told me not to enter my room until she said she was ready. After dinner when I entered my room, I realized that she had decorated my room and the bathroom as a spa treatment space. A cute handwritten Spa menu, prepared by my son, had been placed on the bed. She had a hot bath with bath bombs and an aroma candlelight ready for me. I asked her why she did this for me and she answered ‘because she wanted to’. The whole experience brought me to tears; it was so thoughtful.


Accepting myself as I am

My children’s kindness showed me that as I work internally to be more grateful and compassionate around and about myself, the external world naturally shifts. I am more grateful for the present moment, being able to spend a peaceful and joyful time with my loving and caring children instead of focusing on my fear of an unknown future as a divorcee.

Two years after the separation decision and a year after participating in meditations at the Kadampa Meditation Centre (KMC), I finally started accepting who I am for the first time in my life. I am fully content with the separation both mentally and emotionally. I concluded that one chapter of my book, with my husband, had just ended. The purpose I met him was to have and raise two beautiful children and travel to many countries together. Now, I am at the beginning of a new chapter of my book, with new adventures.

My spiritual journey keeps going on guided by Buddhist wisdom.

Share Your Dharma Journey

If you have a personal story about the positive impact of Dharma in your life and would like to share it with the community, please feel free to reach out to us. You can submit your story by emailing it to [email protected]. We look forward to hearing from you and sharing your inspiring journey with others.