Attachment and Loss

By Desmond Yeoh (Reproduced from the e-book ‘Candles of Celebration’)

Ceramic Products Manufacturer in Malaysia

Ceramic Products

Arathi and her sixteen year-old daughter, Meena, were seated in front of their beloved teacher at his ashram. It was a warm but breezy Sunday afternoon. They visit him very often and share their life stories with him; be they happy or sad. This time, Arathi approached her Master with sad news. She just lost her job due to some office politics; a job which she was very proud of. She is a single mother and her job was their only source of income.

The Master listened closely as Arathi told her story. He is very proud of her as she is one of the few disciples who come to him not to solve their problems or grant their wants. She comes to him for guidance and comforting words in times like this. He appreciates her independence and willingness to face up to her own problems. In fact, the Master had used Arathi’s life stories on many occasions to teach his other followers.

Some of his disciples come to him for the wrong reasons. Whenever they ask him to solve their problems or grant their wishes, he will just remain silent. They will persist but eventually move on to other Masters. He will never agree to their request as doing so would make them weak. It would blind them of their own creative power and stunt their growth. No Master should do this to his followers.

The Master’s eyes radiated love and compassion for Arathi. He would take away her suffering if he could. In a mellowed tone he said to Arathi, “When we go through suffering, it is but the shadow of the Divine’s loving hand reaching out to touch you. Suffering puts us in a position to fully enjoy and benefit from the gifts the Divine intends to give us at the appropriate time. The Divine never let us take on more suffering than what we are capable of handling. And sometimes, only through suffering can our prayers be answered.”

Arathi and Meena had tears in their eyes. Arathi responded, “I know that but yet, the hurt in my heart is unbearable. I see nothing but suffering.”

The Master gave an understanding smile, “You had worked in this company for five years. I could tell that you were very proud of the job. You are suffering now because you are attached to the job. You are attached because the job forms part of your identity; your ego. You are used to seeing yourself as a Manager in this organisation. But now that you have lost your job, you will have to let go of this part of your ego. It is like a part of your ego has died but you are not prepared to let go. You cannot let go of this mental picture because you are used to seeing yourself with the job. Now, all you see is the sufferings that come because you lost that job. The attachment to your job is only making you see how you will suffer because you lost the job and is blocking you from seeing the opportunities.”

Arathi remained silent. Her Master is right. She keeps picturing the good things about her job and what she has lost. The negative aspects of her job are lost to her. She recalled the time when her husband abandoned her. Meena was just a baby then. She felt like the world has ended for her and wanted to take her own life. Now, she feels blessed that he left because she found out later on that her ex-husband remarried and was later arrested for abusing their young son. She grimaced at the thought of what could have happened to Meena had they stayed together.

Being a single mother is not what society defines as a happy situation but Arathi decided long ago to not let society dictate how she can be happy. She is happy as a single mother. Her parents are very supportive and the situation brought them closer together. She knew that Meena would not have the love of a father but she compensated with her love for her. They planned trips and did everything together. Meena, seeing her mother’s sacrifices and love for her, loves her mother even more. Meena is very protective of her mother and it is sometimes hard to tell who is playing the role of the mother.

The Master continued, “Know that your job is merely a concept that you have of yourself. Once you let go of it, you will start to see the opportunities that are available to you. Allow yourself some time to grieve and then, let go of the hurt. Once you allow that part of your ego that is tied to your job to die, you will see that the ego is merely a concept. Everyday, a part of the ego dies and another part comes to life to take its place, just like the cells in your body; everyday millions of cells die and millions are born to take their place. Once you let go of that part of the ego, your mind will start to see opportunities.”

Arathi reflected on her life. She reflected on her younger days and could see how different she is now compared to when she was in her teens. Her perception of what is right or wrong and what is good or bad is so different now that she is 45 years old. Yes, she was a different person then. She could clearly see what her Master is referring to when he said that one’s ego changes over time. Clinging on to her existing ego is preventing her from seeing the opportunities available to her now. She is paralysed by her loss. Yes, she will allow herself a short period of grief and then she will get on with life and face her challenges head on. She had Meena to think about.

She wiped her tears away, “Master, as always, your words soothes my aching heart. I hear you. I do not know what I am going to do but I trust the Divine with all my heart.”

The Master acknowledged her with a smile. Arathi has always been a strong lady.

Three months passed. Arathi and Meena approached the Master. They radiated so much joy that they appeared to be bouncing as they walked.

Meena said, “Master, we have wonderful news. Mom and I have started a bakery together. We love baking and decided to turn our hobby into a business. Now Mom no longer ‘works’; we are just doing what we like to do…together.”

The Master smiled from ear to ear. Arathi could never be more proud of her daughter.

Meena looked down and lowered her voice almost to a whisper as she shared a secret, “When we saw you the last time, I was also suffering a loss. My boyfriend left me for another girl. We were together for two years and the loss was devastating to me. But what you said to mom gave me strength. Mom sacrificed so much for me and I did not want to burden her further with my problem. But I could not keep secrets from her for long. We talked about our losses, we cried together and we laughed together. We know that no matter what happens, we will always have each other.”

Arathi added, “She has always been my pillar of strength.”

“And you to me mom,” Meena responded.

The Master asked, “What made you decide to start a bakery?”

Arathi explained, “We used to bake a lot and gave some of the cakes or bread to our friends. They loved them. Knowing our situation, they started to order cakes from us and we baked them at home. News got around and their friends started to order from us. Before long, our orders got so big to supply from home that we decided to open up a bakery.”

Arathi paused as a thought just occurred to her and continued, “In my last job, I used to work long hours and I hated the time away from Meena. I prayed to the Divine to help me….My prayers have been answered in a way that I could never have expected. Now I spend all my time with her.”

Arathi glanced at Meena and they both smiled. Know they truly understand that suffering is but the shadow of the Divine’s had reaching down to them.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. handa_vivek
    Dec 09, 2011 @ 03:15:38



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