Cosmolosophy: Loving Too Much And The Notion of Letting Go
We must state this unequivocally. It is possible to love a thing too much. One might wonder, though, why it is necessary to make this a specific tenet within a philosophical framework. I felt it necessary because of it's relationship to the notion of letting go.
It is certainly no big revelation to posit this possibility. We see this realized all of the time in our everyday lives. And it manifests itself in adoration of so many different things. Love of self, love of another, love of any number of different inanimate objects. When love is the force that brings things together to create loving structure, how, or when, does it become something that is too much? It occurs when it becomes something that we cannot possibly let go, and in fact must increase our hold of. When love becomes more than the gentle embrace and tender touch; rending over to the fixed grasp of possession, we have crossed a line into behavior that thwarts and hinders loving structure.
The question then becomes, why is the notion of letting go so important? The answer lies in the nature of creation. Creation is destruction. This is an essential given in the entirety. It may seem like a paradox but it really isn't. In as much as loving structure creates new structure, the new has, in a sense, destroyed the old. The old may still form a part of the new, but it must necessarily be within an altered context. It's original meaning has been lost.
One might then suggest that holding on to anything is no good, but this too can be taken too far. As Love and Mind are the two essential elements of the entirety, the need is for there to be a balance between change and continuity. Not only do emotional ties need some form of commitment, meaning needs time and contemplation. In this context tradition is simply the process by which we honor the things found from past experience that have had value, as well as those who struggled to achieve that experience. To say that a time will come when an old concept will no longer apply does not necessarily imply it, and that those who sacrificed for that realization, should stop being honored. It is simply to recognize what Ecclesiastes stated so eloquently: "To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." That is why I will always maintain that the hope for this philosophical framework is that it will provide sufficient value until a new and better idea comes along. We must simply strive here, as with the challenges in other tenets, to apply great care, humility and thought to keeping the balance.
The notion of letting go, however, still needs to be our primary focus in this discussion. Letting go is a reality and a metaphor for so much that is important in understanding the entirety. To be able to let go at the proper moment is probably the hardest thing any individual can do. Providing the means to understand the necessity for this is the goal of this discussion.
I refer to it as both reality and metaphor because it crosses over from the practical to the metaphysical so broadly. We've all heard the most familiar aspect of the reality in songs like "Love is a Rose." "Love is a rose, but you better not pick it. It only grows when it's on the vine. Handful of thorns and you know you missed it. Lose your love when you say the word mine."
What's expressed in this lyric is the delicacy with which something so precious should be kept close. Implicit in this, though, is the idea that the recipient of our love must be free to accept or decline. The degree to which this freedom is withheld determines how much love becomes the prison of obsession and possession for both sides. And even though this realization is fairly well recognized, still there are many who struggle with it.
We can see a part of the metaphysical aspect of letting go in a question that is the final test of a quest I invented for a work of fiction ("The Light of Creation," an e-book that I've just finished). In the story, in order for the protagonist to become a "Guardian of the Light," he must answer this question (asked by the Crucible of Creation; where failure, of course, is not something you want to contemplate very much). The question is: What is the secret of the Mountain? Naturally, the secret is letting go. And the point being expressed that, to attain the metaphorical pinnacle of enlightenment, or achievement, or what ever significant obstacle that is in you way, you must be willing to let go. In both a literal, and a figurative sense, to scale this difficult obstruction you must do the one thing that is most terrifying; risk falling away from where you are now and coming up most abruptly upon some catastrophic new understanding. Another way of looking at this is that, only by letting go can you grasp a thing in a new and better way (which means that inherent in "A man's reach must exceed his grasp," is accepting the risk of not making the intended connection). The really interesting thing here, though, is that it is not only falling from a connection that will change you dramatically, for how can the achievement of that connection not but do something quite similar (just ask Faust).
The next question we must ask ourselves is what lies at the bottom of the perceived danger of this risk? And in this I think it is clear that the most important metaphysical aspect of the change of a loss or gain of connection is how it affects the self. Can this be otherwise when you consider that, in so much of what motivates us lies the trinity of "Loss of Self," "Validation of Self," and "Transcendence of Self."
From the moment we are born, and our brains begin the process of filtering the amazing welter of stimuli that we are awash in, we establish self. The objectification of language, and the experience association of moving through an environment, where boundaries are quickly established not only between exterior things, but between them and the one who perceives, forms a singular reference point for meaning. Even more amazing, this singular meaning assembler retains what has been associated and forms a never ceasing dance of new interior connections between those associations, and thus new elements of meaning. In all of this it also becomes aware of being aware. It knows itself in some sense and strives from that point on to understand a never ending blizzard of why's and what's and where am I in all of it. And from that point on there is an "I" and a "me."
The trinity of the self starts with the instinctual need for self preservation of course, but goes quite a bit deeper from there. What is it about getting a sense of "I" and "me" that makes it so precious and wonderful. Even in the most dire of circumstances we cling to it. And then we struggle all through our lives to validate it. I sense. I feel. I have discovered things that move me with great internal force, and yet still I need to be reassured that I am real, and that I matter (what an astounding unintended pun that is. That a thing, formed of loving structure—which of course is matter, should worry so much about whether they have affect or not). And if all of that weren't enough, we have this need for transcendence hard wired into us. This need to take awareness beyond the limits of rational cause and effect. This need to know that which is beyond what the "me" meaning assembler can provide in direct association.
All of this only serves to indicate that a great deal could be written on each of these important concepts. I'm going to keep it simple at this point because, frankly, I haven't worked it all out yet (how can you have all of the answers if you don't have anywhere near all of the questions, right?). I do want to try and lay out enough of a guide, however, for understanding why we find it so hard to let go in the natural course of things. In this several questions must form the nexus of what is to be grappled with. Is the fear of losing self (beyond merely physical preservation) based on too much love or too little (or perhaps either)? If we love ourselves (or some thing) too much, or too little, what does that cause us to do to further validation? If we are then so caught up in the material and/or grasping aspects of validation, how do we ever even begin to approach Transcendence? And without Transcendence how can we ever come to the realization that there is so much more in what constitutes the first two concepts than the material?
It may well be that there are no really effective general answers to these questions. They must necessarily be personal and answered only in the context of each individual life. It will come as no surprise when I say that Loving Structure is a key here. In the start of self it is key. In the ongoing process of validation it is key. And in the freedom to pursue Transcendence it is also key. I would urge everyone to do several things as they take on these questions. Try to love and be loved without fear or reservation. Let go of the balance book in regards of what is received for that which is given. Let go of the clock in regards of when it will end. Understand that love itself is one of the greatest acts of faith we can ever engage in. Meditate both mindfully and without mind. That is to say take quiet moments to both ask the deeper questions of all of the emotions you feel, events you experience and the desires that come upon you; but also take time to turn off the inner dialogue and just be in the moment. Reach out in that perfect moment without words and try to feel the entirety. And in all of this try to work a balance between being and becoming; of heart and mind, of attainment and journey. If we can become confident in our validation, and successful in transcendence, there will be no fear of the loss of self for we will come to see that there is nothing really to lose, and everything to gain.