I started reading Leo Buscaglia’s work in the early 90’s. Unfortunately, he passed on in 1998. However, his work was and remains relevant today! When a student’s suicide affected him profoundly, he found his calling- a university class called LOVE 1A. His book “Living, Loving and Learning” is a compilation of lectures he gave to this class and at various seminars on how humans need to learn to connect. These classes were introduced in the mid-seventies and were “revolutionary” but popular, of course! I highly recommend his books- you’ll smile and you’ll cry. He’s someone who was known to have wonderful HUGS. What more could you wish to be remembered for! You can shop for this and his other books at Amazon.ca
The “reading” I offered the hiking group today is below and talks about “attachment”. Here it is:
There is a remote place called Chayah in central Thailand near the border of Malaysia. In the middle of a great body of water is a little island and on it is a Buddhist monastery. They have no water and must bring it in from the mainland by boat and dump it into a big rainbarrel. My Buddhist teacher there was trying to explain to me about provincialism, and he told me a beautiful story. He said, “You work very hard all day, and you come back eagerly wanting a drink of this precious water that you know you can’t waste. You open up the rainbarrel, reach in with your scooper and see an ant in the rainbarrel. You are furious! You say, ‘How dare you be in my rainbarrel, under my tree in my shade on my island- with my water!’ And you squish the ant. ATTACHED! Or you consider before you squish it, and you say, ‘It is a very hot day, and this is the coolest place on the island. You’re not hurting my water.’ And you scoop around the ant and drink. UNATTACHED. And then he siad, “There is also such thing called ‘non-attached.’ Do you know what that is? The minute you open the rainbarrel and see the ant, you don’t think about good, bad, right, wrong. You immediately feed the ant a lump of sugar!” LOVE. We are so much less without each other.
I have lived a false illusion that “independence is good” for many years. When I reflect on this reading, I look on my previous need for “separateness” and feel sad for the girl who thought that self-reliance was a noble and necessary trait!
We are entangled in this web (not necessarily the world-wide web) and really need each other. Several years ago, I competed in “individual” sports- triathlons and mountain bike racing, to be specific. Being an athletic woman, particularly a long-distance athlete, “defined” me. That is, until the day I succumb to an injury that meant I couldn’t sit for more than 5 minutes without a toothache pain going down my leg. It was “tolerable” but annoying as hell! For 9 months I pitted my self against the pain- I was mentally determined I would overcome this irritating pain down my leg.
I HAD to overcome this pain because if I didn’t, I’d lose all my friends- who were people I trained with or exercised with. After several very lonely months, I had to face a new world….a world that didn’t see me as an athlete anymore but might, possible, still LIKE me anyhow! WOW!
When you’ve been identified (ie. attached) to a certain label for many years, and your EGO is fed by this label, how do you re-define yourself??? An easy answer appeared! When I stepped out of my little world of “Sue” and into the world of “everybody is in pain and we’re all the same”, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief and find pleasure in the joy of participating- remember those participation ribbons from school track meets- they meant “hey, you showed up, way to go!” Suddenly, it felt good just to “show up”, to be involved so to speak in this life. Once I acknowledged I was connected to everyone, I didn’t need to to attach myself to a role anymore because it was OK to just be here.
Now, instead of trying to feed my ego everyday, I focused on “showing up” and offering what I can- that’s the “sugar”…the result of my experience as someone who’s been broken and who’d wondered if my body would EVER co-operate again but who is now wiser and passing it on. And now that I’ve made peace with the part of me that needs to be a “competitor or racer” I am quite happy to just be a participant! Life is much more relaxing and enjoyable!
We’ll explore this more as the summer progresses on…Please carry on. No matter where you are on the journey! You are loved and blessed because you’re HERE.
I leave you with this question:
Would you be better off if you let go of your “attachments”?
Have you chosen to be “unattached”- if so, what does that mean?
What would it mean to you to be “non-attached”?
I want to finish up with a few things:
If you’d like to learn more about Leo Buscaglia (which I’d highly recommend if you are a softy and think the world needs more LOVE), read about him on Wikipedia by clicking on this link. You might also want to watch this video on YouTube about him
I add this little ‘extra’ from Leo for you:
“Starting each day I promise myself not to try to solve all of my life problems at once. Nor shall I expect you to do so.
Starting each day I shall try to learn something new about ME and about YOU and about THE WORLD I live in, so that I may continue to experience all things as if they have been newly born.
Starting each day I shall remember to communicate my joy as well as my despair so that we can know each other better. Starting each day I shall remind myself to really listen to you to try to hear your point of view, and discover the least threatening way of giving you mine, remembering that we’re both growing and changing in a hundred different ways. Starting each day I shall remind myself that I am a human being and not demand perfection from YOU until I am perfect (PS only GOD is perfect…).
Starting each day I shall strive to be more aware of the beautiful things in our world.”
OK. Its all a little heavy for before bed, so go to sleep. Let your silent lucidity “sort it out for you”! AKA your dreams. Good-night hikers.