Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Deepening our Intimacy with LOSS

A beautiful essay by Robert Augustus Masters:


"Loss. The very word tends to be over-associated with misfortune. It commonly gets reduced to the gloomy cousin of achievement, growth, accumulation. It is not supposed to smile in any way in public, unless what’s been lost is something clearly undesirable, like acne or a toxic relationship.
But think of all the nasty connotations of “loser” as compared to “grower” or “winner” or “achiever.” We are all losers. Everyone, regardless of their perks or elevated status on the anthill. Incarnation ensures this. Loss comes with having a life. What if we were to become more respectful of — and less contracted around — loss, of letting go of what is already leaving or out of our grasp? Must we be envisioned as losing our battle against cancer? Or losing our youth? Or our tennis game?

"What if we were to lose the sense of entitlement implicit in the preceding three sentences? We can plaster our days with fridge-magnet affirmations, wrap ourselves up in feel-good slogans, banish our wrinkles to myopic mirrors, reverse imaginary clocks, but the procession of loss keeps on going, raining on our parades, stomping past our protestations and claims of unfairness.

"Death is the mother of loss; loss nonconceptually connects us with death. If this is not good news to you, look deeper. Breathe in what is breathing you out.

"Grief is the sobering, heartbreakingly alive acknowledgment of loss. The felt presence of loss, whatever the scale, deepens and mysteriously sweetens not just what remains, but also the whole unimaginable immensity and mystery of what is, right down to the tiniest, crunchiest, most unrepentantly fixed detail.

"We play peekaboo with what truly matters, intuiting at least some of its deeper design, all too easily forgetting or marginalizing the reality of loss upon loss that pervades it all. Inhale, and innumerable worlds appear and evolve; exhale, and they disappear, their billions of years erased. Inhale, exhale, time and timelessness both gone. Repeat infinitely. No equations for this, no definitive explanation, cosmic bumper stickers flayed to nothing but angelic confetti, boundless silence saying whatever needs to be said.

"In this, there is infinite loss. It’s personal, interpersonal, and transpersonal all at the same time. Loss connects us all, connects it all. Now. Grief hooks up loss and love and being. Don’t let loss harden you.

"My losses, like yours, are many. The first was the amniotic universe that held me prior to my birth — and yet I still feel it when I lie down to sleep, softly spread-eagled under the bedcovers, riding the waves and wavelets of each breath.

"Is anything ever truly lost? Scientists speak of the echo of the Big Bang. Everything still echoes, still leaves some kind of footprint somewhere.

"Is this not, in essence, the permanence of impermanence? The presence of forever, spread through every detail, every moment? Every shade of suffering? Loss, fully felt, opens us to this.

"This is Grace in the primordial yet ever-present raw. Loss connects us all, connects it all. Bowing to this, we open more fully to the Mystery, now."

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