Have you ever wanted to believe a lie so much that it hurts, even when you knew it to be untrue? About a month ago, while ranting to my therapist about my most recent crush – did he ever like me, did he ever mean what he wrote to me – she told me that maybe his words were real, but not true. At the time, I nodded and went along with it, but I thought to myself, okay, what the heck does that actually mean, just tell me if he liked me even if it’s like, clearly impossible for you to do that.
Over the past week, I did more research about real but not true, an idea coined by Buddhist teacher Tsoknyi Rinpoche. The phrase captures how sometimes when we encounter powerful or challenging feelings, we often experience these very real emotions and thoughts, even though the conclusions we draw from those emotions and thoughts are not true. An example Rinpoche often uses includes crossing a high glass bridge in Malaysia, how even though the fear and anxiety he felt was real, once he honored those emotions, he recognized the truth, that he could indeed cross the bridge safely.
Because two of my hobbies include relentless introspection and over disclosing that introspection on the internet, I wanted to write about three instances of real but not true in my own life. The first instance that comes to mind includes my experience with anorexia. Continue reading