When I was a very small boy, smaller than I look in this drawing, my mother bought me a balloon.
I loved balloons, and so was happy.
We visited some adults, and there were some children there I didn’t know.
I made friends quickly and we played outside. A girl wanted to hold my balloon, and I didn’t want to give it to her.
But I did, or she stole it, I can’t remember, and shortly after that she accidentally let it go and it floated up into the sky.
I cried, I was furious! I ran inside and cried to my mother, and was so angry with the stupid girl.
The girl didn’t seem to care. I think she laughed. But I felt a great loss! It was MY balloon!
However there was a moment before I owned the balloon, a very short moment, an instant in fact, when the balloon wasn’t mine. I didn’t know about it, I didn’t care about it at all. It was not in my consciousness. This was the moment before it was given to me, before I was made aware that it was ‘mine’. Before that, I had no care in the world for that balloon. If I had seen it floating away before it was given to me, I would not have cared, I probably would have really enjoyed watching it!
Then suddenly by virtue of a concept only, it was mine, and from that instant I attached to it and attached it to me. From the moment I attached to it, I was doomed to cry.
Of course the girl didn’t cry, it was not her balloon, she had not attached to it, had not made it a part of herself like I did.
When the balloon floated away, a perceived part of myself floated away, a part of my imagined identity… which is why it hurt.
She had not lost a part of her identity. I had made the balloon a part of myself.
Isn’t all our pain at loss the same now? There was a time when we didn’t have that job, this body, our money, that partner, this house, or anything that we can lose. There was a time when we didn’t define ourselves by, or attach to all the things that give us joy or pain. And before we attached to the ideas of any of those things or people as being ours, they gave us no pain, of course. We were fine without them, why should losing them suddenly make us unhappy! 🙂
Even losing an idea can bring us pain, ideas we didn’t have as a child.
But, we say that our pain today is more important, that in the past that was childish pain, but THIS is IMPORTANT grown up pain!
Is it really? We were devastated then, as children. And today with what we perceive to be a bigger, far more important loss… we are still devastated. If we kept growing for thousands of years, might we look back on our serious grown up devastation in the same way?
Everything is going to float away. Wouldn’t it be better not to attach to any of it in the first place?