Non-attachment ain't what it is cut out to be. In an idyllic world the enlightened one finds loving and caring for each and all, even one's very dearest friend, with equanimity, with a sense of completeness, without a need for the other's reciprocation. But if that be true, then I certainly am not there. Not entirely. No. My whole being is suffused with the grief of missing those I love. Very much. Not that such grief renders me morose, or moody, or even overtly sad, but it does pervade my senses, ride my thoughts, and predicates my wishes. I wish I was free to be with the ones I miss.
Australia did that for me. Simon, so sick with liver cancer, is living each day, waking up in a land so very far away, and wondering if today is the day he is to die. How very present he must make his very breathing. But moment by moment, I am not there; I am here, in Canada, wishing I was there. There is Nancy, my dear 90 year old friend, and then too my other dear and dearest friends; when shall I ever see them again? And were I there, in Oz, how long would it be afore I was wondering the same about my dear friends over here? No, this non-attachment thing is certainly not as easy as it is said on the tongue, as it is made out to be. The heart aches too much.
A kind of prayerfulness attends my thinking. It is a constant stream of energy wishing the other well, wishing the other happy, wishing the other successful, wishing the other energy and love and care and ease and grace and clarity. And in my subconscious, as well as in the forefront of my actions, there is this awareness that I am connected to my dearest and dear just by 'the very thought of you'. Is there a song to which we no longer can relate at our time of life? Somewhere in almost every theme is some slice of life that is part of our having lived so long. Simon found that to be in the reminiscence of his days; there was a been-there done-that quality to his acceptance of his lot. And as for that which he no longer would, could, or wanted to do, why, so be it; he was no longer in a state of attachment to an outcome.
But I would like to return to Queensland. I would like to walk freely again. I would like to be independent. I would like to have freedom from obligation. I would like to have freedom to pursue my goals without concern for the strain upon others. I would like to be utterly selfish so that I may contribute toward others without subtracting from those dependent on me. I would like not to be attached. But I am attached. And that is reality. As long as my heart is so pained by the lack of that which I do not have, I am attached.
Reality is a journey. All along the watchtowers of our progress, whenever we take stock, we see the process that led us to the markers of our years. We may, monk-like, place the carefully chosen pebble with complete carefulness in the precise moment within the mandala of our own making, and we may be prepared to have all previous effort, a lifetime's achievements wiped out by a single tsunami of misfortunes, but not to care and not to regret and not to wish that it were otherwise is not the non-attachment I personally have yet achieved. Not yet. In the going forward from this day forth there is the bringing together of the past as a lesson, imperfect as recollection is, toward that which I wish for, create, move toward, promulgate. But regrets? I have too many to mention. Reality is, one must live in the present. The past brought us here. Who knows what the future may bring? Not even Simon knows. And his leaving does not leave me.