Transcending Betrayal: A Journey of Forgiveness & Redemption

Tingy is a member of KMC Kent and a student of the KMC Kent’s Foundation Programme class in Canterbury. She maintains a consistent meditation routine and loves attending and volunteering at the weekend courses and retreats run by KMC Kent. Additionally, Tingy shares her knowledge and experience of meditation by teaching the Thursday morning classes in Ashford. Balancing her spiritual pursuits, Tingy is also a devoted mother of two and a successful owner of a PR agency.

Can you tell us about your struggles leading up to your experience of betrayal?

The particular period leading up to when I started, when I discovered meditation, was a particularly horrible period in my life. It was very dark. My relationship with my partner had ended. I suffered from a chronic pain condition that’s idiopathic. I was on pain meds. And then obviously, my personal life suffered quite badly at the time. There’re points in your life where everything goes wrong. That was like everything was going wrong. I was having huge problems with my son, with my eldest son. We were practically estranged at the time. So it was just a very, very dark period, and it led to me near having a breakdown, really. About sometime after that, and really not wanting to be alive. So after several months of this horror, when I started to look for reasons to keep going and things to get me back out, back up and out in the world, I started to force myself to go back to the gym and try to socialise and take a creative writing class. And I was, again, trying to force myself to continue on this journey of some healing and some recovery. I felt abandoned. My partner simply disappeared, just after five years, just ghosted us.

And it was incredibly what it took for me to get through those weeks. It’s very hard to convey because unless you saw me then, you wouldn’t recognize it now.

What were some of the feelings you were having then?

Oh, gosh. Well, overwhelmed more than anything. Incredibly, the feelings of worthlessness. It’s a very paralysing thing as well, where the level of depression that I was at was made it hard for me to sometimes even move. I remember talking to my dad once and just saying, I can’t move. I can’t lift my foot. It’s too much effort.

It was like a form of paralysis. You couldn’t even physically move?

Absolutely. I stopped socialising completely. I mean, for about a year, I think people didn’t know if I was dead or alive. There were really good friends that were really great that would come and check in on me. I was smoking, I was drinking. I mean, any escape, you name it. It was a truly, truly dark period. And I know a lot of people say, well, you need to break down to break through.. But little by little, the meditations classes I was attending, in particular, the morning meditations, but I think we were going through the book Eight Steps to Happiness. And what happened was nothing short of miraculous, really. There were things where I learned to forgive. That was huge. I was relatively controlling, if you want to call it, outwardly, abusive and controlling relationship, which was painful for years. I felt constantly worthless….like I was made to feel a certain way.`

Through the Kadampa Buddhist meditation classes, one of the most magical things was no longer abdicating responsibility for my state of mind. And that happened gradually, but it was no longer, I was made to feel this way, but I felt this way. And these things are arising because of narratives that I have. So for example, when my partner left, I fell apart. But there are loads of people out there whose partners leave, and they don’t fall apart. Not everyone. There might have been another person, and they’re like, Hey, good riddance. I’m free. But not me. I think there was a workshop that we did on forgiveness at KMC Kent, and I think it was the biggest, break through.

Completely coincidentally, a year after I started meditating, my ex-partner showed up at my doorstep, and he was a mess. Apparently, he had left me for someone else, but I didn’t know any of this. I just felt like I was worthless. I suppose if I’d known, I don’t know if I would have made it better. But anyways, long story short, he showed up and he was a mess because this new partner of his had left him, and it made him think that what he had done was mean.

And he came to… And I actually was able to talk him through a whole forgiveness workshop and just teaching him to let go of the feelings that he was having. Because by then I had made so much peace with it.

Despite what your ex-partner, did to you, you were able to help him let go of his pain after his relationship break down?

Tingy at a Kadampa meditation class

Absolutely. I helped him through his breakup. Not only that, I helped him with work. And a lot of other people that I felt like it maybe had wronged me. I was able to cleanse. It didn’t mean I called them up or anything because it’s an inward process. But it was very funny because at work, people that had had a difficult relationship or that they thought that I resented them because I did. But then after I had done so many meditative exercises of cleansing my resentments, I was able to run into them at conferences, and I was so happy to see them. They were always taken aback. And it’s really funny to see it because I’ll see people that I know they’ve wronged me, and they know they’ve wronged me, and they possibly feel bad, but they are so shocked when I’m like, ‘Hi’. And it’s not fake. I wish them happiness, and I wish them well. One of the things that I’ve talked about is that meditation has allowed me to be extremely forgiving. I don’t mean I’m a doormat in any shape or form. I mean, definitely not. But Kadampa meditation has allowed to just reframe so many things in my life to a positive.

Can you talk us through what you do in your mind to get to that place of forgiveness? So someone’s wronged you, your partner left you. What was the thing that you did with your mind?

Well, there are quite a few steps taught in Kadampa Buddhism. I don’t know in what order, but it’s a combination of we are all unwell. And so, there is an element of, ‘have I ever wronged anyone?’ And clearly I have. I’ve been mean. I’ve hurt people. So it’s like, well, if I’m suffering, they are probably suffering. That was one part of it. Another one was really, which I quite like when I’m teaching to use, is when we look at the reasons why we hold on to grudges, because we just collect them, like Pokémon. And we’re just constantly collecting slites from everyone. The reasons why we hold on to things, we think it protects us. So that’s when you start looking at the reasons why we hold on to something. You can see they’re quite absurd. So we hold on to something because we think that it’s protecting us. But effectively, if we see the world that way, we’re tainting the world. It taints our view of the world because we think that there’s attacks coming at from everywhere. Also, this idea that I will hold on to this hurt until that person thinks of what they’ve done and acknowledges.

Tingy discussing at a Kadampa workshop

And it’s really funny because then I looked back and for that whole year where I was just holding on to my pain. I mean, my dude was living his best life with someone else.  And the bizarre thing is that they did come back I never got back together or anything like that. But the scenario that we play out, the fantasy that they’ll come back and say that they were wrong did happen. But by then, I just had no resentment about it. I suppose it’s not necessarily something that everyone jumps into immediately, but a lot of the emptiness of the ‘I’, in terms of who did they wrong? Who was it that they hurt? I mean, this person isn’t even in here anymore. Why am I holding on to something that happened to someone that isn’t here anymore?

That’s very deep Kadampa teachings on the illusory nature of the self and letting go of the self you are  hanging on to because the pain hinges on that painful self?

Yes, because it’s truth.  Everyone, every living being is seeking happiness and seeking to avoid suffering so whatever they’ve done no matter how you might think it’s misguided or psychotic, everybody is doing the exact same thing. So, when he disappeared he was going towards his happiness or what he thought was his happiness and escaping suffering. Why would you blame or resent someone who is doing the exact same thing that we are all doing?  We are all seeking happiness and we are all avoiding suffering in whatever ways we can.

I have been working on giving myself an easier time and not such a hard time because we all have delusions and we all have escapist and compulsive behaviours but then we label ourselves as bad or weak or something.  I have been working on that as well um but also one of the things that naturally cascaded from this process is that I was less in pain.

Tingy, what would you say to someone who is experiencing a lot of trauma and maybe even chronic pain or they’ve just had a relationship that’s ended quite badly?

We all have this delusion that ‘this shouldn’t be happening’ so I think the first thing that maybe I would raise, depending on the situation is to accept that this is happening. If you don’t accept what is happening, it is going to be very hard for to progress to anything else because we are in denial. Suffering comes from wishing things were different than they are and therefore, accepting that this what is happening whether it’s the chronic pain,  a diagnosis or a relationship breakdown is key. Life is slinging you arrows all the time, you don’t have to then add to those arrows by not accepting what is happening or hating yourself for suffering.

Meditation, meditation, and more meditation! It’s not to say that it’s the only way, but it’s the most effective means to truly understand oneself. You can devour countless books like my brother, or explore various self-help resources, inner peace is experientially is at your heart centre. The only way that you can observe your mind and experience the true nature of your mind is in meditation there’s no other way. Experiencing it first hand, at the core of your being, is indispensable. Through meditation, you delve into the depths of your mind, encountering its true essence like nothing else can offer. That’s the essence of it. Initially, it might revolve around practicing acceptance. Then, you progress to meditating on patience, gratitude, and other virtuous qualities that bring lasting peace. Reflecting on my own journey, if there’s one piece of advice I wish I had received earlier, it’s the importance of embracing what arises—both externally and internally. Cultivating patience and acceptance through meditation allows us to creating a space from our thoughts and experiences.

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