Sunday, March 9, 2008

the annihilation of suffering

I just spent half an hour in a virtuous, self-satisfied (but possibly ill-advised, from an emotional point of view) attempt to send blessings upon the lives of all the men whom I love, but who do not love me back. You know, all the guys I'm still carrying a torch for - or who, for various reasons, cannot choose to be with me in the way that I want (because of significant others or, in at least a couple of cases, sexual orientation).

(What can I say? I have really bad "gay-dar"...)

It is nearly spring (despite piles of snow outside my window), and my heart wants to quicken along with the birds and the bees. The natural world is on the brink of waking up after months of cold hibernation, and I long to be awakened, too...

My ex-boyfriend's grandmother called me a couple of days ago to chat, and after we hung up I found myself in a funk of melancholy - reminded (after weeks and weeks of being blissfully forgetful) of how much I had loved this man, and how much it still pains me that he has apparently chosen a whole new life without me in it.

A day earlier, at choir rehearsal, Brainerd read a passage from Pema Chödrön's book, When Things Fall Apart. A phrase jumped out at me - something along the lines of "desire is the root of all suffering," a well-known Buddhist teaching.

I looked up the reference online, and found this from the scriptures of the Buddha:

"What, however, O brethren, is suffering?...the loss of that which we love and the failure in attaining that which is longed for are suffering..."

And what is the annihilation of suffering?

"The radical and total annihilation of this thirst and the abandonment, the liberation, the deliverance from passion, that, O brethren, is the annihilation of suffering."

Umm, maybe I'll take suffering... LOL

(Read the entire passage, here.)

Seriously, though - while it is agonizing, this longing I feel for the men I cannot be with - would I really wish it away? There is a deliciousness to the peculiar dances of the heart that I cannot abandon.

And then today I found myself reading an article about Rumi in the latest issue of Spirituality and Health, and I discovered that the great Sufi poet had an intense (non-sexual, apparently) attachment to his mentor and teacher, Shams.

I am in love with You.
What's the use of giving me advice?
I have already drunk the passion.
What's the use of candy?
They say, "Bind his feet in chains,"
but they can't bind up my crazy heart.

Shams eventually disappeared, likely fallen victim to assassins. "With Shams gone, the final veil was removed, and the sun (Shams) of Rumi's own heart could be revealed. The love that had been awakened could now be realized as an attribute of Rumi's own self. Rumi would later be able to teach with conviction:"

There is no Love greater than Love with no object.
For then you, yourself, have become love itself.

And so I found myself sending blessings to all the men I love: the ones with wives, the ones with ex-wives and new partners, the ones who swore they never wanted kids and have now become fathers with other women, the ones who are still single but apparently never wanted to change that status with me, and of course Mac, who seems to believe that a career as a singer and happiness with me are mutually exclusive.

I sent them love, and I sent them good wishes for the lives they are now living. I blessed their families and their well-being.

They may not have chosen me... but they may allow me to be revealed to myself...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Knowing the affection with which you've talked about Mac, I think it's his loss to have made the choice he did. I agree, why do career and love have to be mutually exclusive?

You're in my thoughts.