I’ve been learning a lot about love, impermanence, and attachment recently.
I learned that real true love is unconditional. “Love” that has any sort of terms and conditions to it is not real love. That is attachment.
I am also learning that attachment is a bond created by the ego.
I have also come to learn that the ego is many things. The ego is hard wired to the physical body. The physical body serves as its host. However, I don’t feel comfortable going so far as to say that the ego is just a parasite.
We have to give ego credit for doing things like keeping us alive. We don’t willingly allow ourselves to go too long without food or water. Ego will check in and have us do something about it – because ego knows that it will die when the host dies. It also does things like help us set an alarm the night before in order to go to work the next day. My ego is particularly hardwired to discipline and responds very well to things like getting up extremely early to do spiritual practice, get ready, and get to work before everyone else so I can have some real true time alone. It probably also does this to boost “reputation” – at the very least the reputation of someone who is reliably sitting at her desk by 9:00 am as people start trickling in.
Now to talk about love, impermanence, and attachment.
My cat is sick and may be dying. She got ill at the end of July 2018. At first it was thought to be food allergies. X-Rays and ultrasound turned up images of swollen intestines. Her diet was adjusted to a new prescription diet the vet recommended that helps pets with sensitive food allergies. The new food treated the chronic vomiting she was suffering with. In the months that followed new symptoms emerged: constipation, dehydration, and difficulty breathing. An x-ray taken last week shows a stone forming in her bladder, and an enlarged spleen with a tumor on it.
I can’t describe how I’m dealing with this. I have many great friends around to remind me to “be present now,” which is to say you don’t have all the facts and enjoy your time together while you still have it. These are truths, and I have been able to indulge in that last one very well. Enjoy your time together while you still have it.
Enjoy – That essentially means to engage in joy.
While you still have it – this is the principal of impermanence. We have no idea how long we will be in these physically incarnated bodies or how long we will have anything. All of us have an expiration date. No one is exempt. This physical body will die one day.
That means Cassie, that means you. That means me.
We are all doing to die.
So, being that there is nothing I can do to prevent death from ever happening. I am enjoying this time we have together. Even if Cassie goes on to live a few more years, or a few more months, or even days. What matters is that we got to BE together, in the space of enjoyment (engaging in joy) together, melting into one another, right here now.
Now going back to attachment. There is a lot of pain I’m experiencing as I face these obstacles. My cat is ill. She has a tumor. She hasn’t fully recovered since the onset of illness back in July of 2018. My intellect is wondering, “Is it possible that she is reaching the end of her life? And is this what a natural turn towards the end of life looks like?”
I wouldn’t know. My last cat Dez died suddenly at the age of 7. She was fine one moment, then she got sick. I took her to the vet where she was given some shots and a couple of medications. From there on she just took a turn for the worst. She was dead within 24 hours.
I am attached to that outcome. Every time Cassie got sick after Dez’s passing I would always think the worst was happening and that she was absolutely about to die. There was no shaking me out of this. I would break down mentally, emotionally, and physically. First with an it was an inability to focus, then my work would suffer, then I wouldn’t sleep, then I’d start to get sick. It’s the fear state of existence. Fear based consciousness is the densest and lowest form of existence from which we can operate. It’s extremely difficult to be coaxed out of fear. Things just have to be “fine” for a while and stay fine for a really long time. (Or you have to work at it.) Eventually you forget what it is you were in fear of until something comes up that activates the trauma and the cycle starts all over again.
The pain we experience is caused by fear. And fear exists as the ego sees a threat to itself or its attachments. In all actuality, a threat to ego’s attachments is also a form of threat to the ego itself.
I am identified with having a cat for almost my entire life. We had 3 cats growing up, then I got Cassie my senior year of college, then Dez a year after. From freshman – junior year of college I would go home periodically to see my family and be with all their cats for that extended period of time. So I’ve never really been without some kind of cat.
Not only that, but I made a decision a while ago. A decision I’m compelled to stick to and its one agreed upon by the heart, mind, and soul. I refuse to get another cat after Cassie.
I need several years break.
In summary I am attached to having cats, and I am attached to a future existence of not having cats. I’ve experienced one, I don’t know the other. Both can be upsetting and rewarding in their own right.
Either way, my heart and soul aches for Cassie. And all the other animals that have died. I am attached to you. My highest self knows that I need to just BE with you, and let whatever happen, happen. I’m struggling really hard with the thought of losing you. All that you are to me. All that you mean to me. I love you so very much.
I am taking Cassie to the vet tomorrow. She’s getting an ultrasound of her intestines and spleen. Then whatever happens will happen.