January 13, 2015

How to Gain from Deep Loss.

gain from deep loss

I lost my dog.

Not because of old age or illness, but because a coyote had him for dinner. He wound up on the wrong end of the food chain.

He’s gone. I miss him, my wife misses him, my daughter misses him and the cat misses him. But Buddha tells me that I can only lose something if I cling to it. It sounds like a lesson in letting go to me!

“You only lose what you cling to.” ~ Buddha

I’m a yoga teacher. I tell people to let go all the time. But every once in a while something comes along that deepens the universal practice of “letting go.”

Perhaps sharing my experience will be helpful to you—and healing for me.

Loss is an inevitable part of this illusion we call life.

At various points along the path, unexpected things compel us to look within. Big or small, some element of loss or lack eventually forces our hand and we are required to look at our deepest attachments. And while many subjects in the classroom of life can be elected, learning to deal with loss is a requirement.

Buddha is not suggesting that we’ll lose the physical thing or idea to which we cling. Rather, he is telling us to honestly look at our fears and attachments. Whether it’s something we fear or something we love, it’s the often the unseen or hidden attachment to them that promotes the idea of a limited sense of sense of self.

Also known as the ego, this limited sense of self is reinforced by any degree of attachment.

“I” love “that.” “I” am annoyed by _____.”

Regardless of the magnitude, “I” define myself by the things I love and hate. This is the ego’s purpose of attachment—to promote and maintain a separate sense of self. It conceals the inner source of happiness as an experience of shared love.

Our higher yoga is identifying with the things we “cling to” in advance.

Why not practice letting go before it becomes a requirement?

The ego will tell us that this practice will lead to a listless way of being. No attachment, no life.

Not true!

Learning to experience the things we love and the things we hate, without attachment leads to deep compassion. We learn to appreciate everything in our life for the timeless love it represents without denying its temporary nature.

But what if we’re are dealing with sudden loss?

Well, like any emotion (if not denied), loss will lead us to its source where only love is found.

As I sat with the loss of my little buddy, I realized: The deeper the loss, the deeper the healing, the deeper the love.

While fear and loss beget attachment, it takes love to set something free. Practice always—with everything in our world and watch the inner love and joy grow.

Don’t wait for tragedy. Forgive as we go. This is our yoga.

Forgiveness dissolves the inner barriers that stand between us and true love.

“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” ~ Rumi

This is the gift of loss. How else would we know what to work on?

Thank you Chester! Thank you for all the laughs and joy you brought to me and our family. Thank you for the deep love you showed me. I will miss your fuzzy, fluffy face. Your presence however, will live in my heart and mind forever.

A haiku for you:
The deeper the loss
The deeper the forgiveness
The deeper the love

Whatever the form of loss, forgiveness uses the tragedy to get to the love in our heart which is already healed and whole.

True love knows no loss.

And while loss and the ways of the world are constantly trying to tear us away from our whole and healed self, forgiveness and the compassion it fosters, brings us home.


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Author: Jeff Bailey

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: courtesy of author

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