The pain of loss

There is the dreadful fear and pain of loss of that which matters, that which we love. To lose something, you must first (feel you) have it. What do we have that we feel we can lose?

Do I have life? Do I have relationships? Of course life and relationships are there, but what is it to feel that I ‘have’ them in a way that I can lose them?

You ask: “What do we have that we feel we can lose?”

  • My answer: my memory.

If there is anything that I think that I am able to have, is my memory. Knowing that I can’t have an object, I create innumerable memories around it. If the object goes, these memories loose their purpose, and die out. This gradual death is a dreadful feeling, which leads the mind towards another object, and the mind misses to find it self empty of memories.

My greatest loss is for the happiness I might have had, if only I’d come across a genie in a lamp.

I feel like I’ve been robbed of my 3 wishes.

I don’t like losing my stuff. Fear of losing my most precious stuff can cause many sleepless nights.

Suffering is a pain in the ass. I am of the (uneducated*) opinion that suffering is too high a price to pay for survival - as it makes life less worthwhile (which is not to argue against the idea that difficulty makes a challenge interesting)
On the other hand, my attitude (ie. horrified by the process of suffering) might be what allows me to accept death. (psychological or otherwise)

(*not being familiar with any other options/methods)

Isn’t part of the ‘challenge’ to realize a “serene” mind (Nhung) in any moment to be aware of the difference between physical suffering and psychological? The body suffers but it’s the ‘self’ that feels pity for itself? Thought screams “it shouldn’t ‘be’ this way!” Yet everything that came before caused it to be this way, the ONLY way it could be?

Psychological resistance is pain…and conflict?

The memories the mind retains and resurrects – of a lost person, situation, feeling – they run deep and are often unconscious. You have the feeling that they are part of you, of your body.

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That’s why people turn to the LoA.

What makes my stuff MY stuff? Is your wife your stuff? Your son? Your views?

Does that mean that if you were suffering 24/7-ish, as many (arguably all^) humans are, you would prefer death over life?

^ not intense unbroken suffering, rather a dukkha-like sense of persistent malaise

I wonder how that applies to a mother who has just lost her daughter to a school shooting? It seems like when loss happens, profound loss, it’s a whole different ballgame.

We must feel emotionally attached to something to suffer a profound sense of loss when it is no longer there. Right? What is this attachment, how does it work?

Last spring we visited our favorite local nursery and bought a beautiful strong little katsura tree that we planted right in the middle of our front yard. We tended it, watered it, trimmed it. It was doing really well, flourishing. Then, one morning a few months ago, I went outside and saw something my mind couldn’t process for a few seconds, the tree stood there in pieces, broken off about halfway up the trunk, most likely by one of the deer who live in our neighborhood. We were both heartbroken, the sense of loss was (still is) surprisingly profound. If you had asked me while the tree was doing fine if I was emotionally attached to it, I would probably have said “Sure, mildly,” but I guess the reality was I was quite deeply attached.

Not to minimize the pain of loss but I think that it does apply. In the case you mention, the possible regrets, guilt, etc: “ he/she didn’t feel good and begged to stay home but I refused, etc.”
Serenity of mind as was said is a “challenge” in every situation? Is it possible? If not we suffer endlessly?

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Is suffering part of the “being alive and sentient” contract? (In fine print, perhaps?) Not continual intense suffering, that would probably be unbearable and make us less fit for survival. But periodic suffering, suffering during times when loss is felt, for example. Don’t Buddhist monks mourn the loss of their masters and fellow monks?

Sorry to be Mr Pedantic : the size and value of the ball does not necessarily change the rules of the ballgame - neither do the betting odds. (nb. though I will be the first to cry)

Also : once one is horrified by the movement of self, freedom via awareness is no longer a “challenge” (in the sense of effort).

Obviously not. But if I was horrified by the process of self (aka suffering) I might let it die/recoil from it.
Suicide, in its normal everyday sense of actually killing oneself , would be the movement of self (or preference) in action.

May I put this to rest by saying : it works in exactly the same way young ducklings attach to the first thing they interact with positively, as their mother. :pray: :nerd_face:
(you’re welcome - for further details please contact a duck neurologist)

Many years ago, whilst on holiday in Thailand, we found a place to rent right on the beach for a few weeks, we would get most upset by the occasional influx of day trip tourists to our beach.

So psychological ‘attachment’ is obviously not conducive to a serene, awake mind?

‘Riding above the noise infinitely’? (JK?)

But maybe the rules do change with size. In physics it’s a different ballgame at quantum scale.

Surely adult human emotions of attachment are more nuanced than animal imprinting?

True dat. :slight_smile:


If I could answer this question I’d be free, but I can’t locate, feel, or sense what/where attachment is. Maybe this is because I am attachment itself. It could be that I personalize everything I come into contact with, react to everything I’m aware of with desire/aversion instead of innocence, vulnerability.

If this is true, I identify with my feelings, my reactions to actuality rather than to actuality itself. My sense of self may be so insulating that I can’t be in actual relationship with anything but my reactions. And this may be the condition of the brain that is not in contact, communion with intelligence, ie., the human condition.

Can the brain know what is beyond the brain if it hasn’t awakened to its own limitation? Can the brain know it is operating within self-imposed limits if it has no sense or curiosity of what may be beyond itself?

Makes good sense, though sense-making might not be all that potent in this context. If it were, lots more people would be intelligent and at peace. Sense might understand the nature of the fire, but understanding the fire doesn’t put it out. Does it?

When I am emotionally attached to something, I want it to continue. I don’t want to lose it.

I don’t think of the human condition as a fire (though I probably should at this stage). I think that if one feels the urgency of awakening, then one will let it happen by getting out of the way…

Maybe. I am unable to say, since I am not awakened. My urgencies revolve mostly around feeling safe and happy. I used to be passionate about awakening, saw it as the zenith of human potential, our ultimate birthright, perhaps even purpose. But I eventually saw I’d fallen for the story of awakening and was miles away from the reality of it (whatever that is).

That’s thought the trickster! I heard about this other state, and I want it! I’ll get it and that will take care of everything!
That’s the psychological disease of ‘becoming’.
Can we be aware of it or not?