Love overcomes loss

Written by Suraj Shah.

We know that love is extraordinary.

We know love has the power to build bridges and break barriers.

We know that love can bring rise to our greatest qualities while conquering our most stubborn enemies.

We know that love has the power to deliver freedom from pain and bring about eternal happiness.

So how does love do all this, and how can we strengthen it in our lives?

I love you, and I’m thankful for you

In a Zen Habits post, Leo Babauta writes about a powerful algorithm for happiness.

He suggests using the phrase “I love you, and I’m thankful for you” in our day to day relationships.

Leo writes:

Look at each person you pass or encounter today, and think to yourself (as if you’re talking to the person you’re looking at), “I love you, and I’m thankful for you.” Try to say it with feeling. Mean it! Even to those you pass on the street, in the elevator, while you’re driving (you might only see them for a split second, from a distance).

When I applied it, I discovered that love transformed tense situations into calm and generous relationships. I found that I felt better, I felt real, I felt like I could move forward with my day.

This phrase works when we are experiencing the loss of a loved one. When someone we love is no longer around, feelings of sadness, anger and guilt come about in us. Often, great stress is placed on our closest relationships. Through our oscillating emotions, we push away the very people we need during delicate moments in life.

But by thinking “I love you, and I’m thankful for you” and truly meaning it, you will find that it drastically transforms tense relationships into ones of care and support.

Here’s what love does for us…

Love enhances the feeling of friendship

When you love someone, it brings about a feeling of care for their well-being.

You want them to come to no harm.

You want them to grow and discover their true selves. You are supportive of their decisions and you help them up nomatter how many times they may fall.

Love enables appreciation

When you love someone, when you are thankful for them, you discover and magnify their qualities. You feel great joy at observing what is great about them.

These same qualities that you observe in them start to grow in you.

The more you see them from a positive perspective, the more you benefit from the development of these qualities in your own life.

Love grows compassion

When you love someone, you want to protect them from fear and pain. You want to do whatever is in your power to shelter them from the harmful forces of the world.

Of course, you can only give to someone when you have it to give in the first place.

So it reminds you of the gifts you hold within you. It reminds you of the greatness you possess within you that can help someone else through a hard time.

Love tolerates through equanimity

When you love someone, you are willing to embrace them completely. You patiently listen to what they say, nomatter how they say it, and you simply observe their actions.

Free from expectation or frustration, you tolerate their every expression, and realise that they are not all too different from you.

Like you, they want love. Like you, they want to be heard, to be understood, to be cared for.

So looking at them with eyes of love communicates just that – you love them and you care for them, and nothing else matters.

Apply love in every interaction, every day

When you lose someone you are fond of, it can be very difficult for you and the people who want to support you through this loss. But what helps make it smoother is thinking and feeling “I love you, and I’m thankful for you” in your everyday interactions.

In relationships with those who are still around you, realise that the love that you possess at this delicate time can bring about deeper friendships, appreciation for the qualities of others, wider compassion for those who would benefit from your support, and great calmness through tolerance and equanimity.

When you lose someone, do something about it. Love those who are still around you. It will help you lead a calm and purposeful life.

Attachment-free relationships

Written by Suraj Shah.

“Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone.” – Bill Withers

Relationships are wonderful. Attachment sucks. Here’s why.

  1. We go to a lot of trouble to be with someone we desire.
  2. When we get them, we worry about losing them.
  3. When they are gone, we feel sad.

Attachment = love + expectation = trouble

Attachments to people we are close to is love, coupled with expectation. That always spells trouble.

Our attachment to someone leads to greed – wanting them more, and wanting more from them. In trying to get more, our egos flare up and we tend to deceive and manipulate to get it. We become scheming and selfish. When we don’t get it, we become frustrated and spiteful.

Attachments, bad. Detached, expectation-free love, good.

What attachment-free relationships look like

Attachment-free relationships are magical. Here’s how they look:

  • A person arrives in your life at just the right time.
  • You feel blessed to have their positive presence.
  • All engagements and interactions with them are filled with love.
  • You care for them during life’s difficulties, but have no expectation of anything in return.
  • There is an understanding that they are doing the best they can do with what they have.
  • They leave at the right time, warmly and peacefully.
  • Life is filled with joy and trust.

How to have attachment-free relationships

Relationships free from attachment and expectation are pretty straightforward, so long as you know that:

  1. People come into our lives at the right time, no sooner and no later.
  2. They desire happiness and peace – they are no different from you or I.
  3. Most people have fears of pain, loss and death – just like you and I.
  4. They crave healing through love and care – just like you and I.
  5. They don’t like to be forced into doing things – just like you and I.
  6. They are doing the best they can with what they have – same for you and I.
  7. They will exit from our lives at the right time, no sooner and no later.

Attachment-free relationships are the way forward. Go on, enjoy your first dance.

(Photo courtesy of Stephen Steel, via Sawan Gosrani)

I’m sorry, I forgot

Poem written by Suraj Shah.

Losing my mind.
Losing my memory
Memory like a sieve.
Memory like a goldfish.

That’s what I’ve heard said,
When something’s been forgotten.

I’m sorry, I forgot.
Oops, I forgot.
Ummmm, I forgot.
Oh lord, I have forgotten.

Lost thoughts.
Lost words.
Lost memories.
Lost ideas.

Gone but not forever.
Someday to return.
Someday to arise.
Or perhaps never.

Feelings of shame.
Feelings of sorrow.
Feelings of guilt.

Cluttered mind to clear thoughts.
Cluttered house to clean home.
Cluttered diary to calm days.
Cluttered relations to care for all.

Sorrow of loss?

Joy of lightness.