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A Whole New Dimension of Love

--by Tenzin Palmo (Jun 11, 2012)


Everything is flowing. And this flow isn’t made up only of external things. It includes relationships, too. Some relationships last for a long time, and some don’t—that’s the way of things. Some people stay here for some time; some people leave very quickly. It’s the way of things.

 
Every year millions and millions of people are born and die. In the West, our lack of acceptance is quite amazing. We deny that anyone we love could ever be lost to us. So often we are unable to say to someone who is dying, “We’re so happy to have had you with us. But now, please have a very happy and safe journey onwards.” It’s this denial which brings us grief.
 
Impermanence is not just of philosophical interest. It’s very personal. Until we accept and deeply understand in our very being that things change from moment to moment, and never stop even for one instant, only then can we let go. And when we really let go inside, the relief is enormous. Ironically this gives release to a whole new dimension of love. People think that if someone is unattached, they are cold. But this isn’t true. Anyone who has met very great spiritual masters who are really unattached is immediately struck by their warmth to all beings, not just to the ones they happen to like or are related to. Non-attachment releases something very profound inside us, because it releases that level of fear. We all have so much fear: fear of losing, fear of change, an inability to just accept. [...]
 
It’s like a dance. And we have to give each being space to dance their dance. Everything is dancing; even the molecules inside the cells are dancing. But we make our lives so heavy. We have these incredibly heavy burdens we carry with us like rocks in a big rucksack. We think that carrying this big heavy rucksack is our security; we think it grounds us. We don’t realize the freedom, the lightness of just dropping it off, letting it go. That doesn’t mean giving up relationships; it doesn’t mean giving up one’s profession, or one’s family,or one’s home. It has nothing to do with that; it’s not an external change. It’s an internal change. It’s a change from holding on tightly to holding very lightly.
 
--Tenzin Palmo, in an extract from "Into the Heart of Life"


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On Dec 18, 2012 david doane wrote:
 Response to samdup:  Reading your message, which I appreciate you sharing, I thought of the following quote: "Buddhism must leave Buddhism itself in order to enter the field of blessing."  I think Joseph Campbell said that but I'm not sure.  Anyway, it appears that you are in great inner turmoil and anguish.  I have no suggestion -- I share my fantasy/thinking that in the situation that you describe I think I would respect and follow my heart more than my religion, more than my head, and definitely more than maintenance of the social status.  In my understanding I could have who I love and have my Buddhism -- it's not either-or, it's both-and.  if I gave up who I love, I fear I would also damage my Buddhism.  I wish you well, Dave

On Dec 17, 2012 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:
 Dear Samdup,
My suggestion is to take your time in making any decisions and to notice where your present anguish is coming from.  I invite you to read many of the other pieces and comments at this site.  You are to be congratulated for finding such an excellent site.  The answer to your question is within you. Warm and kind regards, Conrad P.

On Dec 16, 2012 samdup wrote:

 m not a member of this site but its my luck or destiny which made me come to ur story..... i recently had a very pretty women in my life,, she was not an ordinary,, but belong to different religion , i m buddhist she christian, but family of mine does not allow me to marry her,, but its really hard to let go things even u r a hard core meditator,, cuz life is different and our mind is different too.... every being of me says to me go with the love.. but my parents does the formality of maintaining the social status... its too that every thing is tranistory, and nothing stops for us even our body does not wait for our unfullfilles dreams  so why someone else will. but we can try to live with the things which is with us,, but this is not possible either, cuz we as human has no control on our thought and our destiny. so where should we stopped.. let go things which we really love or do formality which is another aspect of letting go. life does not works on basis  See full.

 m not a member of this site but its my luck or destiny which made me come to ur story..... i recently had a very pretty women in my life,, she was not an ordinary,, but belong to different religion , i m buddhist she christian, but family of mine does not allow me to marry her,, but its really hard to let go things even u r a hard core meditator,, cuz life is different and our mind is different too.... every being of me says to me go with the love.. but my parents does the formality of maintaining the social status... its too that every thing is tranistory, and nothing stops for us even our body does not wait for our unfullfilles dreams  so why someone else will. but we can try to live with the things which is with us,, but this is not possible either, cuz we as human has no control on our thought and our destiny. so where should we stopped.. let go things which we really love or do formality which is another aspect of letting go. life does not works on basis of letting go.. cuz somewhere we have to hold it also....
let us think like this-- ok in my example there is two people who love each other like anything.. so if both of us decides to let go then things may work but its not possible if u r practising letting go from one individual,, cuz that is going to hert other one which exist within us,,,,, give me some suggestion

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On Jul 23, 2012 kari wrote:
 It seems that as I have passed through the seasons of life, I have come to realize that to give openly, whether love, money, snacks, gifts, a smile without expectation of return has given me more freedom to live my life more lightly. In truth we can "hold on" to nothing or have everything by being open and allowing the blessings to flow through us. It is amazing how full and love filled life becomes when I release the need to "hold tightly"

On Jun 17, 2012 Bhavana Pankaj wrote:

I do not know what holding lightly is. But I experience the “holding tightly”. That tightness I experience in my own heart, in the pit of my stomach, in the unshed tears that burn in my eyes. I know I can clench my fists to hold water but it will slip away from my hands, and I will be left with marks of hurt on my palms. Does that help me to hold water less tightly? I don't know. Not yet. And as I write this, I feel how much I want to know, truly know. The fear of losing a loved one, the thought of what's going to happen to me when he passes on, the pain of the future that scars my present... are perhaps all coming from holding tightly. I see my own inability to accept the most evident of truths and I want to learn as quickly as I am allowed to, to be able to shed this fear as the snake sheds its old skin. I also feel some times that this process of acceptance can take a long, long time - and for that time, the pain cannot be wished away either. I understand so well  See full.

I do not know what holding lightly is. But I experience the “holding tightly”. That tightness I experience in my own heart, in the pit of my stomach, in the unshed tears that burn in my eyes. I know I can clench my fists to hold water but it will slip away from my hands, and I will be left with marks of hurt on my palms. Does that help me to hold water less tightly? I don't know. Not yet. And as I write this, I feel how much I want to know, truly know. The fear of losing a loved one, the thought of what's going to happen to me when he passes on, the pain of the future that scars my present... are perhaps all coming from holding tightly. I see my own inability to accept the most evident of truths and I want to learn as quickly as I am allowed to, to be able to shed this fear as the snake sheds its old skin. I also feel some times that this process of acceptance can take a long, long time - and for that time, the pain cannot be wished away either. I understand so well Conrad Pritscher when he says he is holding tightly to wanting to hold lightly. And with Jagdish Dave who speaks of being mindful of this self-inflicted pain. A couple of years ago, I have seen myself so angry with my loved one for not getting well and returning back to ‘normal’ – the way I had known him. I did everything in my power to do what I could and some sort of faith kept me going. But I see that I did it out of a deep sense of fear, of losing him... And I see my own lack of gratitude and trust in the multifarious love that surrounds me because I cling to just one source of love. That’s where, I suppose, to hold on to something inside of you, to know yourself becomes really important... for the external is forever in the process of going...

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On Jun 15, 2012 ELIZABETH wrote:
 For me,every moment is a sacred unfoldment. I bless each moment,  see  the gifts in each moment and do not have any expectation for what or how each moment should be. Accepting life on life's terms- it's totally fluid all the time. I am at my most content and satisfied when I am simply allowing,  thus I am open to all possibility which in turn creates the space for others to do the same.

On Jun 14, 2012 Sateen Sheth wrote:
Beautiful piece and it got me thinking - rather than describing people who love all unconditionally as "non-attached", maybe it's better to describe them as "attached to all" and to describe the rest of us as "selectively attached." Which definitely helps explain why letting go of that "selectivity" can be so be so relieving and uplifting...



On Jun 14, 2012 lisa wrote:
To me "Holding lightly" as opposed to "holding tightly" means loving without expecting anything back in return.  It means being in a space of full acceptance of the now without judgment.  It means nothing is forever and we have what we need when we have it and when we don't need it anymore, it may leave us and it's ok.  After studying with Sufis in Cappadocia, Turkey, I learned life is an illusion and life on earth is really just a journey back to connecting authentically with our souls and others. We have a choice to enjoy the ride and be free or hold on tightly and live in fear.  I choose to live freely. 

On Jun 13, 2012 Ramani wrote:

 Stop Being So Religious What Do sad people have in Common? It seems They have all built a shrine To the past And often go there And do a strange wail and Worship. What is the beginning of Happiness? It is to stop being So religious Like That. (“The Gift” – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)   This reading reminds me of the above poem by Hafiz. Here Hafiz implores one to let go of the past and unnecessary suffering.   See full.

 Stop Being So Religious

What

Do sad people have in

Common?

It seems

They have all built a shrine

To the past

And often go there

And do a strange wail and

Worship.

What is the beginning of

Happiness?

It is to stop being

So religious

Like That.

(“The Gift” – versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)

 

This reading reminds me of the above poem by Hafiz. Here Hafiz implores one to let go of the past and unnecessary suffering. 

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On Jun 12, 2012 Dave wrote:
 I radiate love just like I radiate body heat. So does everyone else. There are times when I am chilled to the bone and need to soak up the body heat of someone else. That is holding tightly. There are times when enjoying someone's body heat is just enjoyable, but not necessary. That is holding lightly. Then there are times when I hold to the knowledge that my love and body heat are sufficient for myself and for the world. 

On Jun 12, 2012 Ganoba wrote:
 one experiences different things during different parts of the journey. take the Himalayan rivers. They start off as solid blocks of ice not moving then become glaciers moving slowly but with great power, onto trickles, then roaring streams, slowing don again as they reach the planes, dry in summers, flooding during the rains and so it goes on. At each stage it is just right.
Today I experience life as a vibrating mass of rocks, energy, fluids and what not..
My wife of 50 years has moved on to a different vibrational mode. I don't se her as gone. Even when she lived (in a body) we did not always vibrate at the same frequency.

On Jun 12, 2012 rohan wrote:
 Holding on lightly is an expression of enlightenment, unattached but not uncaring. It expresses  emotional fortitude, strength and security, knowing nothing is permanent. Holding on tightly reflects ignorance of self, hence ignorance of what You are holding on to, an illusion of ownership that leads to insecurity, weakness and sorrows, all the play of the ego since in reality we own nothing, not even this body that we love so much. We are all just temporary keepers.     

On Jun 12, 2012 Sue wrote:
To me, holding lightly is simply making space for people in our lives for as long as they want to be with us and bidding them a happy farewell when they move on, whether to new adventures in this life or to the next.

On Jun 12, 2012 sethi wrote:
 Holding lightly for me means loosening up and letting go . In my own life in the last five years , have loosened up by being away from my family and living alone . In the past there was a fear of being alone , however today that fear is not there , have walked through that fear and am peace with it and accept it .

On Jun 12, 2012 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
 I love this Taoist way of living, relating  to different dimensions of my life. I see my ailing wife slowly withering away and I realize the truth of the impermanence of  life. Do I not want my wife to live longer and healthier/ Of course, yes. When I let my desire and longing come fully and gently let it go and let my grieving come fully and gently go, I feel the presence of something unchanging, my pure love for her.The more tightly I hold onto my longing and grieving, the more pain I go through. It is like making and holding my fist tightly and experiencing pain. Becoming mindful of this self-caused pain and opening up the fist is a good way and the right way  of releasing the pain.It is like tuning the strings of a lute neither tightly  nor loosely, but lightly.The either /or way  of thinking and relating to life happenings is problematic, perpetuating the cycle of suffering.

On Jun 12, 2012 LM wrote:

The best example for holding 'holding lightly' that I can think of is when my father was teaching me how to ride a bicycle. As I was learning to balance while pedaling, he would hold on lightly to the carriage near the back wheel, but once I attained a bit of balance, he would let go. As he held on, I knew he would be there to break my fall if I fell, but he also would let go if I attained my balance. However, it is difficult when we simply conceptualize it or idealize it, for then we begin to hold it tightly, as Conrad points out. Then we begin to want to possess others who have the same ideals. While have the right companionship is important as we proceed on the journey, we should remember that each soul has its own journey. Seems to me like the only way is when we respect each other's journey and hold to to something within us and not outside us. Then we can truly let go. If we are truly happy and satisfied with what is within us (or our seeking is purely internal), then  See full.

The best example for holding 'holding lightly' that I can think of is when my father was teaching me how to ride a bicycle. As I was learning to balance while pedaling, he would hold on lightly to the carriage near the back wheel, but once I attained a bit of balance, he would let go. As he held on, I knew he would be there to break my fall if I fell, but he also would let go if I attained my balance. However, it is difficult when we simply conceptualize it or idealize it, for then we begin to hold it tightly, as Conrad points out. Then we begin to want to possess others who have the same ideals. While have the right companionship is important as we proceed on the journey, we should remember that each soul has its own journey. Seems to me like the only way is when we respect each other's journey and hold to to something within us and not outside us. Then we can truly let go. If we are truly happy and satisfied with what is within us (or our seeking is purely internal), then we interact with others to know their journeys, see parallels betwen our paths; and see how we can help them. Then, when we seek joy in our contributions to/sharing with others, perhaps, we will also stop being cold and indifferent.

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On Jun 12, 2012 Sylvia wrote:
 The image that comes to me...Holding lightly in the palm of your hands with fingers open and relaxed, not grabbing with clenched fists and holding on tight in fear. Acceptance not ownership.

On Jun 12, 2012 Suneetha wrote:
 Holding very lightly.......so that everything can flow  with you to be part of the eternal dance of life.

On Jun 12, 2012 Edit Lak wrote:

 Yes, so true and so profound. Holding on tightly to anything and squeezes the living life out of just about everything is fear.. That fear driven hold, to never let go, is the disease that insecurities are made of, and live in. Goodness knows how many times I have felt my hand and heart clutching with pain onto something in my life, because that’s all I knew, that’s all I had, that’s all I was given – or – that’s all I was allowed to believe my worth was...  How do we say it – That’s mine, that belongs to me, it’s mine, I own it, it made me.. That’s how we teach our kids right – Its yours, That belongs to you, and, It has your name on it so don’t lose it... Yep, I’m taught to hold onto (it) and (forever) as a child... Until one day one wakes and all is gone, even the tears of loosing those possessions run out at some stage.. But yes, letting go of possessions and thought is a challenge, indeed  See full.

 Yes, so true and so profound.
Holding on tightly to anything and squeezes the living life out of just about everything is fear.. That fear driven hold, to never let go, is the disease that insecurities are made of, and live in. Goodness knows how many times I have felt my hand and heart clutching with pain onto something in my life, because that’s all I knew, that’s all I had, that’s all I was given – or – that’s all I was allowed to believe my worth was...  How do we say it – That’s mine, that belongs to me, it’s mine, I own it, it made me.. That’s how we teach our kids right – Its yours, That belongs to you, and, It has your name on it so don’t lose it... Yep, I’m taught to hold onto (it) and (forever) as a child... Until one day one wakes and all is gone, even the tears of loosing those possessions run out at some stage.. But yes, letting go of possessions and thought is a challenge, indeed it is, and funny in the same sense, as when one lets go of anything, it’s amazing how all of a sudden, that thing we held onto for dear life with complete emotions of sadness and loss, only to see on the other hand that it brings a ‘smile’ of release somewhere down the track...  For me the learning pain of letting go is the happiness of finding ‘me’. You know  I’m learning in my life, that,  life is just too short to be a life’s hoarder,  I’m holding onto that identity because I believe it is me, but until I really and truly let go, I will never know, it’s a slow process and a choice really, but one day I will know who the whole me is...   
I just remembered a little youth saying that goes; If you love something, Set it free, If it comes back, it's yours, If it doesn't, it never was...

In Kindness
E

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On Jun 11, 2012 philip joshua wrote:
 Holding lightly is when you are not attached to anything,you let go of yourself and have an attitude of "give".There is an element of "sacrifice" involved.Holding tightly is a tense statement wherein you keep things and emotions to yourself and there is a selfish motive involved.

On Jun 11, 2012 lalitha wrote:
 when one lives mindfully ..then separation by any sort( bereavement, retirement, ) becomes a very natural  event. The school where i worked was moving away from its  vision ( I thought ) I held it tight and demanded that everything has to change! I was frustrated  . But once I let it go.. I  now have a clear mind to " see" what is really happening and  think of solutions in  a very humane way!.People  who I thought were exploiting me and the situation now appear genuinely wanting in ideas and competence !

On Jun 11, 2012 pk wrote:
 Last week, one of my favorite aunts passed away -- unexpectedly, while visiting her son in Rochester. She is not even 65 -- woke up with chest pain and by noon, she was gone! I heard and first collapsed with pain and then it became easier to see that she is no longer in one place at one time. She is with all of us who love her and appreciated her love. She is no longer physically present -- i have some regrets that i have postponed my phone calls too long and many others. But I am happy for her -- she did not have to suffer in bed for long and she left happy! 
reflecting on her life and death, made me understand more about holding lightly!

On Jun 10, 2012 David Doane wrote:

" Holding lightly" is being more free than "holding tightly," but it's still holding.  Ideally, instead of holding, I be with someone or something, and there is no holding, no possessing, no controlling.  It's a state of being together and being free.  Being unattached and free has nothing to do with being cold and/or indifferent.  Thinking that to be unattached is to be cold and/or indifferent is an illusion that prompts holding, and the holding isn't necessary.   Ideally, being with and being unattached is caring and warm, but isn't carrying or taking care of or holding which easily does become cold and indifferent.  I learn to stay unattached without becoming cold and indifferent by practicing being with while staying independent and respecting the other's independence.  I'm remembering a statement credited to Martin Buber:  "If I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I  See full.

" Holding lightly" is being more free than "holding tightly," but it's still holding.  Ideally, instead of holding, I be with someone or something, and there is no holding, no possessing, no controlling.  It's a state of being together and being free.  Being unattached and free has nothing to do with being cold and/or indifferent.  Thinking that to be unattached is to be cold and/or indifferent is an illusion that prompts holding, and the holding isn't necessary.   Ideally, being with and being unattached is caring and warm, but isn't carrying or taking care of or holding which easily does become cold and indifferent.  I learn to stay unattached without becoming cold and indifferent by practicing being with while staying independent and respecting the other's independence.  I'm remembering a statement credited to Martin Buber:  "If I am I because you are you, and you are you because I am I, then I am not I and you are not you.  But if I am I because I am I, and you are you because you are you, then I really am I and you really are you and we can meet."  

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On Jun 9, 2012 Chria wrote:
I have had the privilege of watching my mother gracefully transition this past year.  She told me she never expected to live so long (93) and did not know why she had.  I told her it was so that I could learn from her how to age as I had learned how to do many other things through out my life.  I discovered that angels have wings because they take themselves lightly and so I was given this gift of knowledge so I could gratefully bid her God's speed. 

On Jun 9, 2012 Conrad P. Pritscher wrote:

 Tenzin Palmo is a beautiful writer.  I do not experientially know  the difference between "holding tightly" and "holding lightly." I want to hold lightly but if my desire is strong to hold lightly, I am holding tightly to wanting to hold lightly.  I notice that I get angry  when something doesn't occur exactly as I want it to occur.  I am holding something tightly and I'm not sure what it is. It is probably the way I think things should be rather than how they are. Not knowing is somewhat helpful.  If I would accept my not knowing why I anger quickly I probably would not get as angry as quickly.  John Dewey, in 1921, stated that science has clearly established everything is in process. He also said we only give lip service to that. I'm reminded of Milan Kundera's  novel, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." Accepting one's holding tightly, when one wants to hold lightly, may possibly help on  See full.

 Tenzin Palmo is a beautiful writer.  I do not experientially know  the difference between "holding tightly" and "holding lightly." I want to hold lightly but if my desire is strong to hold lightly, I am holding tightly to wanting to hold lightly.  I notice that I get angry  when something doesn't occur exactly as I want it to occur.  I am holding something tightly and I'm not sure what it is. It is probably the way I think things should be rather than how they are. Not knowing is somewhat helpful.  If I would accept my not knowing why I anger quickly I probably would not get as angry as quickly.  John Dewey, in 1921, stated that science has clearly established everything is in process. He also said we only give lip service to that. I'm reminded of Milan Kundera's  novel, "The Unbearable Lightness of Being." Accepting one's holding tightly, when one wants to hold lightly,
may possibly help one hold more lightly.  Part of the process of beginning to hold lightly may be the topic of a not yet written novel: "the bearable heaviness of becoming." Thank you for giving me the opportunity to respond.  Warm and kind regards to everyone.

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On Jun 9, 2012 Derek wrote:
Holding Lightly.. It's recognizing that we are all unique individuals on this earth. I see my partner, my friend, my dad and myself as these tiny beings on earth. We come here alone. We make our unique journey through life. And then we leave... alone. I try to respect each individual's journey. Even if it may not align with my path. Time goes by so quickly. How could I possibly deny anyone the right to be themselves?

And so, I love... and only hold lightly.