Saturday, April 16, 2011

I, Me, Mine, and the Ego-Part 3



The 3rd part in the series of discovering, understanding and applying the ideas of dis-attachment (while still being a normal and engaged human being.)

In this article my focus is to look at the many relationships we hold in our lives, where there is attachments, how these attachments cause pain, and hopefully begin to integrate the lessons of dis-attachment into our lives in pursuit of health, happiness, and harmony.

Humans Are Not Islands:

We engage in countless relationships through out our lives.  These relationships are one of the many joys of life.  I'd even go as far to say that to deny the importance of others in our life is unhealthy and unnatural.

We literally exist because of our parents our first experience in human relationships is with our family, our mothers, fathers, brother, sisters.  As we move through life we gain school mates, coworkers, friends, lovers, and many other types of relationships.

All of these relationships serves us in different ways, range in magnitude, bring us joys, and at times suffering.  To be completely real there are just some people that could leave our lives and we'd pay their parting very little mind. Others, however, are so important to us that the mere thought of their absence leaves a sensation of pain so deep in the pit of our stomachs.

Letting go of lifeless material is hard enough.  How do we approach dis-attachment when it comes to those we share our lives with?

Look At The Trees:

Here is the Zen saying that inspired my adventures in dis-attachment, possessed me to write this series, and has shed the most light for me.
Consider the trees which allow the birds to perch and fly away.  With out either inviting them to stay or desiring them never to depart.  If your heart can be like this you will be near to the way.

I found this saying to be so inspiring because it illustrates this concept in a simple way that is not cold and heartless.  The example of this tree is one of an open heart that nurtures all that take shelter in its leaves, never resenting, or mourning the passing of these creatures.

In order to apply this lesson let's ask the question:  Where does this selfless love exist amongst the human race?

The example that first came to mind for me is that of a loving mother.  The mother selflessly provides shelter, food, tender touch, and in most cases willing to die for the protection of her child.  Yet, when her child is grown she willingly allows her "baby" to leave her clutches, and is joyous for the future of her young despite her empty home.

Of course, there are exceptions, like the overbearing mother.  The pain of this nature is obvious, causing suffering to the mother when her child parts ways.  There is pain for the child as well as it can cripple the development in emotional health, and may even result in damaging rebellion.

But what of the relationships we choose? How do we learn from the tree in the cases of friends and lovers?

I'm sure you've heard the saying "if you love something, let it go."

A great little piece of wisdom.  When it comes down to to it, it's about the self (with a lower case s), the ego.  The lesson is in looking past your own personal gains, and sharing in the joys of those you love even when it takes them on a path separate of yours.

How Do You Find Peace When Someone Is Taken By Death?

All those other examples bring peace of mind in knowing the other person is choosing to go in a different direction, but about death?

I am unable to answer this well as my experiences are limited to those who suffered painful ailments long before their passing.

In those situations I found peace and even relief in the knowing that they were no longer living a painful existence. 

When it comes to an unexpected death, loss of a young person, spouse, and other traumatic departures I can't speak from experience.  My thoughts here are purely intellectual and can not offer the lessons taught by emotion.

With the concept of dis-attachment, in all parts of our lives, there is a required understanding, and acceptance that nothing is definite, and everything changes.  Understanding that death is the course of nature, that cannot be controlled or prevented is what I believe to be key in the protecting your heart from damaging suffering.

The tree stands strong while animals, elements, and seasons come and go.  It remains steady in the gusty winds of change.

I'm a person.  Not a tree!

No, we're not.  We are conscious, emotional, and fickle creatures, but how can we learn from the trees?  How can we stay grounded in the violent storms of life?

Please share any thoughts you have to add to or in regards to this article.  Thanks, and Namaste!

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