Dharma Glimpse by Ali
In October last year one of my best friends sadly took her own life. I was devastated and heartbroken and was weighed down with grief.
Another close friend sent me these words which I will share with you now.
“ When it comes to grief, remember this –
You have not broken a bone, there is no default treatment, no cure, no timeline for your healing.
You cannot strap your heart to the heart next to it and hope it mends itself.
You cannot rest it for weeks or months.
You cannot rely on your other heart like you might a leg or an arm.
You have not broken a bone.
And yet, like a broken bone, your heart will always now have a vulnerable spot, a bruise, a burn, a scar.
And just as your arm can still ache after breaking when it has been holding too much for too long, so your heart will ache.
When it has been holding too much for too long.
But just as your once broken arm can still hold things and your broken leg can still dance, so your heart will learn to carry you forward,
Even when it aches.”
These words brought me great comfort but I was still burdened with grief.
And then I walked into the temple here in Malvern and my healing really started.
I was struck by the ways Buddhism provided insight in my grief that was completely different than anything else.
In Buddhism , impermanence is an inescapable truth of existence. In a world and culture where we strive for permanence (lasting or remaining unchanged).
Buddhism teaches us that impermanence (lasting or temporarily) is fundamental to everything. From life to health to joy and sorrow to material objects to our very identity, nothing is permanent no matter how much we want it to be. Everything is constantly changing, existence is always in flux.
Buddhism explains that our attachment to things and failure to accept impermanence is at the root of all suffering.
As someone who had gone through a significant loss, this idea of impermanence resonated with me immediately. As I read more and thought more, I decided I had two choices. I could try to restore the old life and self that I believed was the real ‘me’ and how things should be. Or I could accept that my loss fundamentally changed me, and we will forever be changing.
I could pretend I was the same person now but I knew I was not. I had changed and would continue to change. So forcing myself to believe the things that I believed before was not the answer. Instead I needed to focus on the present. One day at a time, one moment at a time. Building awareness of my life – the good, the bad and the ugly, all in flux and ever changing.
Buddha would remind us that we should not become attached to our path, it will always look different for all of us.
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