Loss. It is a funny thing. It’s not the existence of loss that causes pain (if that in itself is not a contradiction) but the noticing of the loss. The ‘you don’t know what you had ‘til it’s gone’ idea. However sometimes with loss there is also the expectation that it will cause sadness or pain when in actuality or on deeper investigation it may bring relief or allow you to realize the insignificance or shallow level that that touched you, which is lost.
People. Say a relationship that is over. There are lots of different ways this is a loss. Maybe a simple break up in which the relationship, the familiarity and the routine are lost, but it’s not actually the absence of the person that causes the painful symptoms. In fact sometimes the absence of a person in your life is a relief, when you realize their absence leaves less a hole and more a lightening. Whereas there is also the opposite…. where the absence of the person in your life is where the pain lies rather than the absence of the surrounding relationship familiarity. For example when somebody passes, it may leave a hole, an absence, and a loss that hurts emotionally.
What about with an item. For example I recently went to my mothers and found a whole suitcase of clothes I had totally forgotten about. All those items I remembered only on seeing them, that I obviously don’t need or use regularly, and had caused me no annoyance in their absence. Yet there is the looking for a particular item, like a favorite summer dress or particular pair of earrings (to keep on the clothing theme!), that has been mislaid. This can cause annoyance about the absence or longing . So is it the recognition of the loss that causes the suffering.
Attachment. We become attached to things, to people, to creations in our minds. How we should be, the labeling on which we judge ourselves as well as the things that allow that to be the case. After all how are we any less, if we are complete and perfect then how does the loss of something external have the power to effect our internal.
This is mainly because may of us do not focus on our complete and perfect internal world but instead spend most of our time judging our world on the external. The things, the labels, the company with which we surround ourselves. Creating an external picture of how our perfect world appears and hence the absence, the loss, of a part of this leaves a hole, an imperfection. If we learn instead to focus more internally. To be complete within ourselves and to accept the inner perfection of our world then this apparent loss is less likely to cause pain or frustration. Our external structure or judgment is less significant and thus less able to affect our internal world.
On Thursday I went shopping… for lights for the studio. We had a great couple of hours pottering around IKEA and the studio now has dimmer, more atmospheric lighting… plus lots of purple flower lights! J Yet as I started teaching on the Thursday evening I noticed that at some point during my shopping trip I had lost my bracelet. Initially I felt a pang, an almost emotional reaction to the lack, and the emptiness on my wrist. Then, more surprisingly, I realized I actually didn’t care that much.
Yes it would be lovely to find it, but if I don’t then it doesn’t matter. It really doesn’t. At some point my meditation and practice of trying to focus internally has provided me with an internal image of myself that didn’t need the external decoration. Yes it is fun to light and decorate the studio, but it was also sufficient without. I am the same… it is fun to have things, but not a necessary for my happiness. I love to decorate my body, I like sparkly things but they are of a lot less importance than they used to be. In fact those items with which I had assumed an almost emotional significance in the past, now I realized I do not need.