Grief as I felt it this afternoon was of the more subtle kind. Nobody had died. Instead, I had been reminded of a painful bond, a loss not clearly visible to the outside world, but very real nevertheless. Heart aching still, I got to see up close again, the suffering that comes when love gets thrown back onto itself, with no one to respond at the other end. This is where mindfulness practice is put to the test. Mindfulness helps one to not wallow in self-pity and despair. Instead, one can investigate the full impact of hanging on to the idea of love on one's own terms. One can feel the physical pain from grasping, and make the connection with ancient wisdom.
Every time I fall into that place, I feel compelled to revisit Ayya Khema's Metta talk. And each time, I come up with another treasure.
There are six billion of us, so why diminish ourselves to one, two, or three? And not only that, the whole problem lies in the fact that because it is attachment, we've got to *keep* those one, two, or three in order to experience any kind of love. We are afraid to lose them: to lose them through death, through change of mind, to leaving home, to whatever change happens. And that fear discolors our love to the point where it can no longer be pure, because it is hanging on.
Grief begs us to listen to the suffering within, and to slowly let go of the cause. Life is too short to waste one more moment in self-inflicted misery. True love is limitless and independent of external conditions.