Life likes to take us in directions we aren’t prepared for. The people and places change and we adapt to new circumstances as we grow. Some of the people we thought we would always have around are sometimes taken too soon for our liking. Things outside of our control turn up and we have to make decisions or let go of loved ones for a time. It seems no matter what we do separation happens.
Knowing doesn’t make it any less difficult to accept change no matter how constant change has proven itself to be. We adjust our lives over and over again as we journey down the road in life. We fall in rhythm with the hearts thumping in the chests of those we’re walking with. This ultimately sets up to feel the sorrow of separation when our paths split and we head our separate ways. Yet we can all agree that it’s better journey in good company for those moments we can. Each separation teaches us to cherish the time we have with our special people in the future. In that way we grow more compassionate and kind to others.
The Buddhists say that our pain of separation comes from our ignorance of people, places, and things. They believe nothing is permanent by nature and only change reigns supreme. Our ignorance, or attachment, wants to deny this truth and our pain comes from having to accept impermanence and lose what we’re clinging to. Maybe but it’s also in our nature to love one another and cherish each other. That makes it difficult to pinpoint the moment when we pass beyond the loving part and into more possessive emotions that do cling. It’s easy to confuse desire with love.
These sort of spiritual lessons are always pervasive. The realizations always seem like they’re right around the corner and we’re striving and striving and yet they somehow evade us. Then we let go of our desire to progress. We accept ourselves as we are and we settle into the here and now. In doing so we realize how our dependence upon progress was what kept us from moving forward. It’s the same way with people. We get so caught up in how we feel around a loved one that we forget those feelings come from within us and not from the other person.
In the Gospel Of Thomas, verse 38, Jesus says, “The days will come when you will seek me and you will not be able to find me.” Jesus was basically telling his earliest followers that they were completely missing the point in spending their time attached to His physical nature. He constantly told them to ‘seek ye first the Kingdom of Heaven.’ They probably heard this every day yet they somehow kept missing the part about the Kingdom of Heaven being inside of us. A lot of members of today’s Church are still missing the significance of these words.
We miss out on all the really good parts in life every time we allow ourselves to be fooled into thinking happiness exists outside of us. Yes we get attached to people. Yes it is natural to do so. No there is no way to avoid the pain that comes from having our loved ones taken from us or having to separate when we don’t want to. Of course not. If the separation isn’t of our choosing then something is interfering with what we want. Our desire to be with that person is what is causing us pain not our love for them.
You all know how I feel about love by now. Love is an action. Love lets go and puts that persons needs before its own. An easy way to check our motivations and differentiate between love and attachment is to simply remember the nature of love; love is selfless and desire is selfish. Just by checking our motivation we are actually awakening to the true nature of the spiritual path. Keeping our motives pure and considering others as we consider ourselves is really all there is to it.
Life isn’t going to stop changing for us. Things will never be the same way today that they were yesterday. It’s better to do as King Solomon suggests in Ecclesiastes 3:12 and “recognize that there is nothing better than to rejoice and do well during life.” If it’s all fleeting moments we might as well choose to be happy no matter what it is we’re going through. Cherish your loved ones when they’re in your presence and accept that separation will make their return all the more joyous. If death has taken them then count yourself blessed to have known them and share that beauty with another.
No matter the moment, no matter the emotional state, this too shall pass so we might as well enjoy the journey. Peace be with you.