Loss and Losing Pain

Loss and Losing Pain
Noah benShea

All of us experience loss in our lives. But our experience of that experience is different for all of us. And is as different as all of us. Unfortunately for many of us if we’re not in pain when we’re in loss we question our integrity with loss.

The reason that suffering so often plays a major role in how we experience loss is because we don’t see the world as it is but as we are. No matter what we’re looking at what we’re looking at is our mind. Loss is more than something that is suddenly staring us in the face. How we were raised or taught to experience loss is usually our experience of loss. And too many of us choose suffering as our chosen path through loss.

If you color a large red dot on a piece of blank paper and stare at for one minute, then lower the paper and stare at a blank wall, you will, remarkably, discover that the blank wall suddenly has a red dot on it. What we see in life usually has a lot to do with what we’ve been looking at. Or need to see. Or want to see. Charlie Chaplin once won 3rd prize in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.

If we can see a red dot on a blank wall after staring at it for only a minute, imagine what we see or think we see as a result of what, or who, or how we’ve been staring, or taught to stare, at things for a year, or five, or fifty. Any of us who deny this phenomenon may also be the same ones who deny that a clear conscience is often only the sign of a bad memory.

Past loss leaves a trail in all of our lives and colors how we see things. For all of us, memory is the gentlest of truths. Take the time to honestly view the loss frames that have framed you.

Deep wounds of loss experienced in childhood and not healthily processed can create a wounded frame that makes the wounded child a pain to deal with as an adult. Grownups with childhood loss wounds that haven’t healed, frame themselves as victims, and often frame those who love them now as those who disappointed them once upon a time. For those caught in this way, the past kidnaps the future.

For many of us, we have been taught that if loss is not experienced as a hair pulling, heart shrieking experience then we should doubt the integrity of our feelings for what we have lost.

Many of us have been trained to act out the pain of loss and use suffering as our modus operandi to honor the love behind our loss. But when we lose someone we love, they don’t want us to suffer to show that we loved them. There is no gain to them and only loss to us.

The Buddha said that life is suffering because we live lives of attachment. And while I think the Buddha is right, this is also where the Buddha and I take separate buses. I love people and my life and loss for me is a painful disconnect. But my attachment is not to pain. Love your loss; lose the pain.

Honor both, but don’t confuse the two.

Copyright © 2010 Noah benShea, All Rights Reserved