I try to keep most of my post positive and inspirational, as I do with most things in my life. I understand the hard times are there to teach, and allow for a deeper appreciation for the frailty of life, bringing attention to the need to make each moment in this consciousness dynamic and helpful. It’s with faith many people endure these hardships. I use experience, faith, and logic to push me past a lot of the emotional aspects of life I struggle with using Buddhism’s teachings as a guide. However, when it comes to the loss of a physical body, a friend, a loved one; I like many have difficulty reconciling faith and emotions.
I recently found out a dear friend of mine from high school passed away suddenly. We hadn’t seen each other since then but were able to peak in on each others lives through social media, with an occasion to chat from time to time. Because I had a pretty up and down time in high school, I choose not to keep in contact with most of my classmates. I can say, I am grateful I was able to with a few, otherwise the information of my friend’s passing would have never reached me. But in this I have begun to live in regret and sorrow over being so disconnected with the joys of my past, in an attempt to shut out the darkness that was beside it. I couldn’t get out of my own way, and now I feel lost.
In Buddhism, we believe in reincarnation. It’s not a concept that has us putting our heads in the sand in an escape artist attempt to shield ourselves from death and mourning. This is a belief based in the teachings of the Buddha, reinforced for me through moments of familiarity I shouldn’t have. Those Deja vu moments can be chalked up if it’s easier for you but each one tells me something, just as the energy and spark I receive from strangers and friends alike do as well. It honestly isn’t something I am skilled enough to say in words, but like many that believe in Heaven, I believe in birth and rebirth until the consciousness is able to reach Nirvana. But with my old friends passing, I am faced with a new challenge.
I want to yell and scream. Tears have fallen and continue to as I write this post. I’m not sleeping and I don’t want to do anything I usually do in a day. I am completely at a loss as if my friend and I had still been as close as we were in high school. It’s been fifteen plus years and it feels so raw and real this pain of knowing I will not see this form of my friend again. I think about the time gone; the distance due to my insecurities. I think about if I have the right to mourn as the family who has been there does. I am sickened by my ability to make this loss about me and my demons when the family and friends that have been around have more of a right. I feel like throwing my Buddhist sensibilities out the window, cursing the Universe for even creating us to lose our loved ones.
I understand this all boils down to the first Noble Truth: To live is to Suffer, but as I know in my heart and head this is true, this direct experience of loss is new to me, something I’m clearly not equipped to handle at my current level within Buddhism. I’m mad. I am deeply sadden, and I want the Universe and the teachings of the Buddha to stop my pain. I also want to experience the pain as those that are not Buddhist will, as even the most faithful of any religion often times will when it comes to loss.
Loss is the ultimate test of faith. This isn’t a test any of us want to take, but it’s inevitable and reoccurring if we are lucky. To even say that feels horrible to me, but I know in my heart it’s true. We grow older, we loss friends, loved ones, hair, many things because it’s all fragile and impermanent. The ultimate evidence to impermanence is loss, and while I have lost relatives in the past, I experienced those without the knowledge and the faith I have at this moment. I am very conflicted being deeper in my faith, but wanting badly not to be in this moment; then wanting to be at the same time. This was a youthful thirty-something person, who most would know had more time; but for some reason that time has ended and the rest of us are left to pick up the pieces and keep going on. It just feels so cold, but warmth will come.
I will miss my friend, the thought of a reunion still within me but now moved to the next cycle of birth. I, I am sad. I am learning to deal with impermanence sooner than I would have liked to but if the Universe is willing, more times will come. Knowledge is supposed to be a comfort in situations like this, just as faith. I’m conflicted but hopeful, and still sad.