Thursday, March 31, 2011

This too shall pass

My childhood cat, Quinne, was put to sleep yesterday evening. It is a big loss for me and I'm very sad. He truly was the most awesome, loving cat in the world. I was thinking earlier about how it feels like a part of my teen and young adult years are gone, as he was with us for over 16 years...and I got to thinking about loss in general. I realized suddenly that first you witness the loss of your childhood, then you see the loss of your younger years, the loss of your middle years, culminating in the loss of your earthly life. One after the other, the experience of loss is one that cannot be avoided. 

However, perhaps the way I am viewing it is part of the issue of why it can seem so painful at times. Maybe it should not be considered loss so much as constant change, or the arising and passing away of all things. It has been said that the only thing guaranteed is change. Things come and go and perhaps our lack of acceptance of this, our need to keep things as they are, frozen in one moment or the other, forever fixed in the state we wish them to be, is the source of discomfort that can sometimes arise in people (or for some, is ever present). How many people are there that you know who talk about the good old days that are gone, or time that they lost? How many people are there that you know who lament about getting older?

Likewise, people can spend their whole lives waiting for the time when they will get everything in order and will then finally be settled and content. This, too, is a source of discomfort because that moment will never come. Every "thing" will never be permanently in order even if you do manage to achieve your goals because it will all eventually change or dissolve. Nothing is stagnant. How many people are there that you know who say, "I'll be happy when I...." or "I just have to get/do this and then I can really start to enjoy my life." In one way or another, it seems that many people are fixated on what was lost or on something that can never be gained - a finality of the present moment that doesn't shift, change, or bring loss of what was once had. It is hard to accept life as it comes and goes, just as it is.

I am reminded of the story/parable This Too Shall Pass, where a king realizes that no matter what happens in his life, no matter what he gains or loses, despite the riches and the wars, it is ALL only temporary, and so he learns to sit back and smile while witnessing every part of his life. I think that the goal is to realize that everything is transient so that we can see what the real goal is, which is to look inward for our peace and enjoy and accept the present fully as it is, because this too, like my dear Quinne, will certainly pass.

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