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"
Seed questions for reflection: What does "holding lightly" as opposed to "holding tightly" mean to you? Can you share a personal experience to illustrate the difference? How do you stay unattached without becoming cold and indifferent?