I Miss You

My mother died.

My daughter moved to Oregon with her husband and their sons, my grandchildren.

I miss them.  Naturally, those familiar relationships have changed.  I mentioned this to my best friend* last night as we went to yoga class.  We both agreed that missing people and grieving the dead are natural parts of this human experience and not to be avoided.

A short time later, I sat in meditation.  As that meditation completed, there was an immediate recognition that a sense of missing my my daughter and her family was absent.  This came as no surprise.  Immediately I returned to that experience of meditation and verified the recognition.

Immediately came the question, where is it written that I must miss someone?  I don’t mean in the immediate grief that’s experienced when a loved one dies or the sense of longing and heartache and tears that flowed as we watched my daughters family drive away yesterday morning.  I mean the continued experience of that grief and longing that might last for days, weeks, months or even years.

This protracted experience is suffering and we even promise our loved ones that we will suffer in the future because of their absence, "I will miss you."

As this question, "Where is written that I must miss someone?" came to mind, it was immediately followed by self-inquiry.

Does missing someone, to any degree, make me love them more?  No.

Does missing someone improve my experience now?  Doesn’t bring me happiness, peace or joy?  No.

It would appear that missing someone provides no benefit.  So, why miss someone?  The path of renunciation expects exactly that and that was my actual experience.  Missing someone means focusing on the past and steals from the present experience.  With that realization, missing my daughter and her family ended.

But, does missing someone provide a benefit, ever?  Yes.

On one level, missing someone is pain that comes from closing down as we focus on the past, the way things were.  This reveals a place where we can be more open and relaxed to what is as it is rather than resisting what is and wishing life would be like it used to be.

That is a rather advanced practice.  The easier practice is to feel the sadness of missing someone until it burns itself out.  Breathe and feel.

I know both practices and employ them easily.  Today, however, an even further recognition appeared and shed light on a sutra from the Bhakti Sutras, specifically the 82nd sutra and the 11th form:
 

82.  This divine love manifests itself in eleven different forms:
1.  A devotee loves to chant the praises and glories of the blessed Lord.
2.  He loves His enchanting beauty.
3.  He loves to offer Him the worship of his heart.
4.  He loves to meditate on His presence constantly.
5.  He loves to think of himself as His servant.
6.  He loves Him as his friend.
7.  He loves Him as his child.
8.  He loves Him as his beloved.
9.  He loves to surrender himself to Him completely.
10.  He loves to be completely absorbed in Him.
11.  He loves to feel the pangs of separation from Him.

When I first read this, I immediately questioned why would anyone love to feel the pang of separation?  As I continued my studies and practice, I recognized that pang of separation as the pain I mentioned above.  That pain becomes a focal point that can be used to allow a release of what caused the pain.

Last night during those times of meditation and this morning during contemplation something new has appeared.

"I miss you" and "I will miss you" both focus on the past.  The first one focuses on the past now and the second is a promise to focus on the past at some point in the future.

Using the pang or pain of separation, "I miss you", as a focal point returns the focus to the present moment, Now.  Now is the only place you exist, so focusing on now is always beneficial.

Focusing on the pain, while beneficial, doesn’t explain number 11 above.  It ignores something that happened only a moment ago.  A moment ago, there was some unifying experience.  A moment later, a memory appeared as an afterthought as ego tried to re-capture what was just experienced through old memories.

Instead of reflecting on the memory of the past that leads to that pang of separation we call missing someone or grief, reflect on the unifying experience that just was.  Begin to notice that unifying experience happening now and be fully absorbed in it.

The Bhakta loves to feel the pangs of separation because it’s a signal that says, "Hey, you missed something amazing right here and now!"  Reflect over the immediate experience, use memory to recognize what you almost missed.  Reflect over the Oneness you experienced just before memory interrupted.

Let me know what you find.

Jai Bhagwan