Here I sit in my office today and Little Red has been gone 22 hours. Lakshmi is on my lap. I am still surrounded by Red’s water bowl and food dishes, and about 4 feet from where he used to lay most often.
At first this morning I felt strange. I felt the emptiness inside that I always felt, but mostly I felt the absence of emotions, the absence of sadness or loss. Gradually though a weight settled on my chest making it a little difficult to breathe, then I felt a wave of tension in my back, like a stiff blanket covering my upper back and shoulders.
Then I began feeling a pain in my heart, both sharp and dull at the same time, and a deepening sadness spread throughout my presence. Finally, I was feeling depressed. Yesterday it was just shock and disbelief. Today, I feel a raw depression. Heaviness, loss, sadness, and welling up of tears remembering Little Red’s dead body on the blanket. After the vet left the room, I closed Red’s eyes so he appeared to be asleep.
Yes, it is so hard to feel this loss, and I miss his presence. But then I think, “Why would anyone want to run from this feeling?” Buddha encountered sickness and death, felt his own confusion of why this was, felt the suffering of those who felt the losses, and determined to understand what this was all about, this suffering, death, and depression.
Finally after seven years of austerities, studying with teachers, fasting amd meditation he reached enlightenment and became an arhat, a Mukti, one in whom the self had dried up and blown away, one who no longer was attached to anything, one who felt a slow-burning benevolence for all, but ultimately was not touched by anything because he was not attached to anything or any outcome. He no longer loved as a parent or a lover. As Robert said regarding the Jnani, someone no longer touched by the world and its “vissisitudes,” and thereby the “sting” was gone.
But is this it? Is this why we practice meditation, self-inquiry and spirituality, to escape the “sting” of death, either by feeling estranged from everyone, no longer attached to anything or anyone? If this is the only reason our spirituality is purely a sophisticated form of ego defense against feeling emotional pain, insecurity, loss and fear of death.
Is there anything else in spirituality beside escape?
Yes, Robert only spoke of escape, that one gradually sees the whole picture of life, and one learns detachment by witnessing and deliberately not reacting.
But for what? What was the reward for dying to our human attachments?
Well, in going within we find the bliss of self, which gradually gives way to ecstasy. But eventually these phases pass and one just encounters a deeper peace, and the clear, self-illumined void, and a kind of ever present, mild happiness.
Also, we go to a place where love and idealism is safe. In this area our love is perfect and we can hang onto the belief of the omnipotence of love, that “true love” conquers death and any other obstacle. We are cocooned in a self-contained self-awareness with no duality, just me.
I saw we can have both our humanity and the infinite. Once finding the rock bottom levels of consciousness, the so called absolute beyond consciousness, as well as knowing the I Am and the love of the I Am, as well as the state of not knowing and ignorance, can we not return to being a regular human again, totally feeling the pangs of loss, desperation, love, and all the other emotions associated with being human? Do we really want to run from them anymore, or do we want to embrace our limitations and vulnerability?
Basically, my answer is yes we do want to embrace it all. We return to the marketplace, the normal world of humanity and its frailty, but we come bearing gifts we can offer others, of true humility, true compassion, and the deepest loves anyone has ever felt, letting everyone know it is alright to feel deeply everything that arises, and to care deeply and to love deeply with great attachment and commitment.