Friday, April 24, 9959


The things we own can seem like weights that are tied to our hearts via ropes. They might be burdensome, but we cannot drop them because if we do then part of us will be ripped from us and we will feel miserable. This is because the false self is inherently destitute, so it needs externals in order to give itself the illusion of reality.

The false self’s sense that something or someone is part of us makes loss painful. For example, you see an expensive ring that you like. You look at it but decide not to buy it. Does not having it hurt?  Probably not. Now let’s say you buy it. A month later you lose it. That will probably hurt, because you didn’t lose “a” ring but “my” ring. The ego has lost part of its very self, and that hurts.

No loss is painful unless we made whatever we lost part of our identity.

When we find our true selves we see very clearly that we are always complete no matter what possessions or relationships we have or lose. We are immune to what the false self views as misfortune because there is no inherent sense of lack and no burning desire for anything material, so there is no fear of losing anything because it would not equate to loss of self.

Loss is always an opportunity to wake up. The greater the loss, the harder it pushes against the ego. Small losses only push a little, so they might only irritate us rather than shake us awake. A huge loss can be just what we need to wake us up to the fact that we arent as dependent on externals as it might seem. After all, we lost something we depended on, and we’re still here. Whatever the size of the loss, how we react determines how much we suffer and whether we wake up. If we resist, become frustrated, hate the loss, and tell ourselves that it “shouldn’t have happened”, then we will remain asleep in our egoic nightmare. If we can drop our egoic resistance, we might be able to emotionally let go of whatever we lost, and then we just might uncover the wellspring of peace and joy that needs nothing external.

Some people voluntarily lose things in order to break the emotional tie to externals. They might give away their money or possessions, or live in a tiny apartment without furniture. While asceticism can work, it depends on one’s mindset, not necessarily outer circumstances. If one still desires worldly things after giving them up, then the emotional tie is not broken. 

A good practice when losing something is to not give in to the urge to become upset, but to ask ourselves, “How big is this loss? Did I really need who/what I lost? Have I been injured?” If it is a loss of relationship we might ask, “Was that person as wonderful as I made them out to be? Do I have no other loved ones?” For loss of a possession we might ask, “Can I not afford to replace it? How much sentimental value did I place on it, and was that warranted?” For financial loss we might ask, “Can I no longer afford my lifestyle? Is there something I want to buy in the future that I now have no hope of affording?”

Loss can be a great spiritual guide, if only we will listen.