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Thread: Lessons In Letting Go

  1. #1

    Lessons In Letting Go

    After joining Treeleaf the other day, I got down to business and practiced my first sit-along with Jundo. The talk for 1/20 on impermanence really hit home, as I'm suddenly surrounded by people dying or moving close to that point. One of those being my father, who suffers from Alzheimer's Disease. I felt it was very important that Jundo shared the story of his teacher's wife dying, and how he was surprised at the show of his teacher's emotions. Not being attached doesn't mean we don't feel, it means we let go when the time comes.

    I've never been good at dealing with death. Being the youngest in a larger family with many older relatives, I experienced death very early, and no one tried to explain what was happening. This caused a confused emptiness in me, and I'm still not quite sure what happens when we die. Are any of us sure?

    I really feel practicing Zen Buddhism is important for me right now. The deep reflection I've been doing for about a year has changed me, and practicing Zen has changed me...because everything changes. I see now that not only have I been holding on to those I've lost in the past, but I've also been holding on to those who will be lost in the future. I'm letting go knowing I will feel pain, but instead of dwelling on it, I'll be able to accept it and move on.

    Does anyone else have any reflections on this subject they'd like to share?

    Gassho, Dave

  2. #2

    Re: Lessons In Letting Go

    great insight. i too have had those same feelings, however from the other side of it. dealign with cancer has definately forced me to face those questions head on.(by they way, i am sort of in remission, so it doesent look like i am heading anywhere soon! ) instead of fighting the thought of death i am more at ease with whatever comes. also, the practice has shown me the importance of now! LIke you said it is still very difficult and it still does stress me out there is no question there, but this practice has helped me to not dwell on it and to take the good and the bad as it comes. the hardest part for me still, is how to deal with those around me who suffer becuase of my "suffering" i.e. wife. family, friends etc. who do not or are not into this practice.

    Gassho,

    Steve Taylor

  3. #3

    Re: Lessons In Letting Go

    Quote Originally Posted by aksteve
    great insight. i too have had those same feelings, however from the other side of it. dealign with cancer has definately forced me to face those questions head on.(by they way, i am sort of in remission, so it doesent look like i am heading anywhere soon! ) instead of fighting the thought of death i am more at ease with whatever comes. also, the practice has shown me the importance of now! LIke you said it is still very difficult and it still does stress me out there is no question there, but this practice has helped me to not dwell on it and to take the good and the bad as it comes. the hardest part for me still, is how to deal with those around me who suffer becuase of my "suffering" i.e. wife. family, friends etc. who do not or are not into this practice.

    Gassho,

    Steve Taylor
    Thanks for sharing, Steve, and may I say you're an inspiration. Cancer has hit close to home as well here, with my father recovering from prostate cancer, and a young lady whom I know through my employment that continues to fight throat cancer. I've been in contact with other cancer survivors, and their outlook on life changed drastically due to their experiences. You show the greatest compassion by caring more for those around you who suffer because of your condition. You are truly an inspiration. Again, thank you.

    Gassho, Dave

  4. #4

    Re: Lessons In Letting Go

    thanks for the kind words. my best to your dad, and co-worker! and to you as a caregiver.

    Gassho,

    Steve taylor

  5. #5
    Senior Member KellyRok's Avatar
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    Re: Lessons In Letting Go

    Hello Dave,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your father's illness. May you stay strong and be at peace with all that lay ahead!

    You are absolutely right, while on this path things really do change. Or rather, we change our way of looking at things. Death...well, death is a funny thing. It changes all those who are directly and indirectly experiencing it. I think you hit the mark when you said,
    Not being attached doesn't mean we don't feel, it means we let go when the time comes.
    I can definitely relate to your story about not quite understanding death throughout your own life. I too am the youngest in my family and I've found that my relatives would rather "shelter" me from any pain or upset rather than telling me the truth. So, I've had to learn to adapt as an adult - I've learned to search out the truth for myself.

    My family is experiencing this right now...my husband's grandmother is dying from throat cancer. It has been a long and painful experience for all involved. We will be traveling home this weekend because they have told us that "it is time". My Mother-in-law is trying to prevent my children from seeing their Great-Grandmother, because she thinks that they shouldn't be exposed to it. However, my husband and I disagree. While I understand that she wants them to remember her when she was healthy, I believe they shouldn't be kept away from her because she is sick. We have been very open to their questions and have discussed that she will look different and that she is dying. I think our children are alot stronger than we give them credit for; as long as we are honest with them. We will be taking our children to see their Great-Grandmother, they need to see and understand that death is a part of life. It may not always be pretty, they may be sad, but it is all part of life and I believe that this is a crucial lesson for all of us to learn together.

    Steve - you are extremely brave and an inspiration (as Dave has said). I don't know the feelings and emotions that you must go through on a daily basis. But, it sounds like you are extremely accepting of your condition and are ready to move on from here. What a great attitude! I'm very happy to hear that you are in remission and hope that it stays that way for a long time. Keep sitting, keep practicing and we will all be here with you.

    Gassho,
    Kelly - Jinmei

  6. #6

    Re: Lessons In Letting Go

    thank you Kelly. I wish the best for your family as well in this tough time! and thanks for the encouraging words about practice! oh, and happy friday! :lol: (not that there is anything wrong with the other days either!)

    Gassho,

    Steve

  7. #7

    Re: Lessons In Letting Go

    Thank you Kelly. It's comforting to be in a forum with such sincere people. My father may be around for a little while yet, but it's so hard because of his condition. He has little concept of "now"...I can't imagine how confusing it must be. My mother says night time is the worst, because he has hallucinations and he gets up to use the bathroom, then gets lost and wanders around in the dark. I worry about him getting outdoors without supervision, since my parents have a backyard that leads down to the edge of a river. He will soon be in the care of a nursing home, though.

    The young lady I spoke of is truly young, only 19 or 20 I believe. I'm employed by a school district, and she's a former student. The community has pulled for her in a big way, and though she's gone through multiple surgeries and treatments she still holds her own. I give so much credit to people who have to deal with these experiences, and they always touch everyone around them very deeply.

    My confusion over death isn't as bad as it used to be, and I'm even able to reflect on my own time left here without getting too somber. I've had ups and downs, but I've learned so many valuable lessons...some very painful, yet so eye-opening. Turning 40 has been a turning point for me, as I'm moving away from suffering due to making the same mistakes over and over, and I'm looking forward to growing older. As Jundo teaches us, I am embracing change.

    Gassho, Dave

    PS-Best wishes dealing with your husband's grandmother. May you and your family be at peace with all that comes, especially your children. It can be so hard for little ones, but I agree with you that they can be stronger than we give them credit for. Our daughter adored my wife's grandfather, and when he passed she took it very hard. She has a lot of good memories to cherish, though. He's always in our hearts, along with his wife who also passed away. Again, peace be with you.

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