“Here’s some money—half of everything I have in this world. Take it, go learn black magic, and don’t stop until you get revenge on the people who have done this to us,” the woman said to her son. “If you don’t do this, I’ll kill myself and my death will be on your hands.”
Her husband had died; his brother had stolen the inheritance money that belonged to her. Then the brother treated her and her two children cruelly, lower than dirt—like slaves. She was upset. Well, distraught.
It was one thousand years ago in Tibet when the mother spoke those words to Milarepa, her fifteen-year-old son. Many things have changed in our world since then. But the themes of pain, cruelty, loss, disappointment, hatred, revenge, betrayal, and trying to make sense of life haven’t.
Whether we throw money at our problems, medicate ourselves, go numb, withdraw, seek revenge, give up, try harder, manipulate, or learn magic—people still want to gain a sense of control over their lives. We want what we think will make us happy. We want what’s been taken from or not granted to us, including our sense of power.
We don’t want to feel the pain.