For the past week or so, my Wife has been telling me that I’ve changed, and something is different about me. This has really started since shortly after the passing of my sweet Chow Chow on June 2nd, about eleven days ago. My dear Son-in-law suggested that it may be taking more of me to “feel”, because right now I am “feeling” more. And I can’t say that he is not perhaps right on target with his assessment.
For me, I feel that I am not different, but simply missing a huge part of my life. And although I am handling it much better than when I lost my Mom, I can see that there is a deeply rooted attachment that is the cause of all this. And when I lost my Mom, it was very early in my practice, so I had little to no understanding about attachment and suffering. I was totally devastated for over a year after she died.
While I may have come along way on my path in this regard, it is obvious that there is still a long way to go for me.
I don’t think that most of us can avoid attachment to the people we love. And I’m not sure that we should try to. But perhaps, on a deeper level, we can love those closest to us with an understanding that they are not ours. They are not permanent, or subject to our will and desires. And I have to admit, that on some subconscious level, I expected my puppy to live forever. Or at least she could live as long as I did. And I believe that it was in that deeply rooted desire and delusion that I created my suffering. I did not want to imagine life without her. And isn’t this how we think of all the people that we love the most? We cannot, or do not, want to imagine them dying or dead and gone from our lives. But which of us can control this, or change the laws of impermanence (anicca)?
Today will prove that I am in fact different, just as tomorrow I will again be different. Each moment, we are each changing, evolving, aging and deteriorating. Old cells dying-off and while ones are being generated. That which was there is gone and something new is created in its place. And the same holds true of the ones we love.
My best advice, is to understand this with a deeper appreciation for this moment and all those whom you love today. Do not attempt to hold or control them, they are not yours to own or possess. Simply be joyful and grateful for the love that is present right here and now. And if that person is gone tomorrow, have no regrets. Understanding that this is the nature of our existence and the gift is in the present.