How to separate from those we love
Translated by Peter Webb - [email protected]
When those that are dying are our most cherished beings, the pain of separation is intense.
Once I heard Sogyal Rinpoche say “We only accept releasing someone when we feel that we have received all that we could through this person”. In other words, we are only capable of non-grasping when we are completely satisfied.
When we are internally filled with a sensation of love it is much easier to separate ourselves from those who we feel we love or that we feel loved by, as we don’t feel the separation as a loss in our capacity to love. In this sense, letting go means that we are satisfied and nourished by spiritual love.
In general we find it difficult to get in touch with this type of satisfaction as we concentrate more upon what we still like to receive, rather than recognize the pleasure already received. Even though satisfaction doesn’t arise through the rational analysis of a fact alone but rather through a genuine experience of a sentiment, many times we rely upon a mental analysis to awaken the curative strength of a feeling within our psyche.
When we are touched by this type of elevated love, we desire real happiness for this loved one, with or without our presence.
In general our love is more emotional than spiritual; we love in a needy way, fed by the sentiment that to love is to feel the need for the other person. We commonly tend to think that the other will only recognize that they love us when we distance ourselves or make them miss us, or rather, we will only be valued in our absence. But contrary to what is thought, to love is not to feel a lack of!
The more we know how to recognize our capacity to love, the less dependant we will be upon the physical presence of our loved one. A proof of this is that we continue to love someone even after their death.
The dynamic of love continues within us: we continue to dedicate ourselves to the loved person even after they have gone. We pray for them and many times dedicate ourselves to finishing off their projects and their wishes.
While I was writing part of this text I accompanied the last four days of Adriana, a practical and serene psychoanalyst, a friend of many friends. Her acceptance of her own finitude was exemplary. Many times she left us surprised and at the same time confidant that despite her strong physical pain her mind was prepared for death. The love of all for Adriana was evident; each one in their own way showed how prompt they were to do whatever was necessary for her well being.
In the days which followed her death, Marcia, a great friend with whom she shared an apartment, said to me “The best experience I have had after her death was when I organized her room, removed all the material left by the home care people, made the bed, lit some incense, played some mantras on her CD… there I had the first sensation of peace while continuing to care for Adriana. Care for the energy of her room brought me the comfort I needed to assume her death”.
As Robert Sardello explains in his book Free your Soul of Fear: “In spiritual love, the well being of the other person lives within each thought which comes to me whether the thought has to do with them or not. The spiritual term for this quality is intent, which here carries a more subtle significance than when we say that we have the intention of doing something. Intent carries the sense that something maintained in thought has become so real that it seems to be literally present – in the present right in front of me, but also in all the places within me. In spiritual love, that which becomes so absolutely real is the spiritual quality of the other person felt through the intention of being oriented solely for the well being of the other person. In our daily life, the perfection of spiritual love is concentrated in the thoughts we have in relation to the other person. These thoughts are not the same as those of missing someone, remembering things done together in the past or of what the person might be doing at that moment. In spiritual love, we don’t necessarily think about the other person, on the contrary, the other person, as spirit, has become completely interwoven in my existence so that even without noticing, they are with me in each moment in ways that accentuate my individual liberty rather than of hindering it".
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