Exploring gain and loss


So, I've been doing some thinking about the concept, "Gain or loss, which is a greater bane?".

A little while ago, I posted on here talking about getting back together with my girlfriend. It's gone on for a couple of months, but as soon as I regained her, the main thing I've felt is a fear of losing her again. As soon as we said we'd try again, I felt a happiness, sure, but along with it, stress somewhere in the back of my mind...

And now I've lost her again. Well, given her up. And I feel much freer. I'm pretty clouded with emotional thoughts, but I'm not really letting any of them form. I've found this to be an interesting experience: I've had the opportunity to really feel and know, mindfully, that holding on is pain; loss brings peace.


  • holding on is pain; loss brings peace

    I've noticed that as I become more viscerally aware of gain and loss producing each other, the words themselves carry less meaning. Hearing one bring a sense of the other. It is peace for me, but for others it would be the epitome of boring, if not depressing (i.e., the bio-hoodwink that induces us to feel gain is exciting, loss depressing). Impartiality comes across as a depressing state to anyone seeking bliss. The irony: a desire for bliss is symptomatic of fleeing sorrow.

    Oddly, accepting that life is suffering has the curious effect of dissolving the suffering to a large extent. Imagining a way out just ends up creating more suffering. Naturally, this is heresy to anyone seeking happiness.

    As chapter 70 say, 'My' words are very easy to understand and very easy to put into practice, yet no one in the world can understand them or put them into practice.

    Well, I found that not totally true, but nearly. It takes a long time for perception to really see/feel through the hoodwink. You are on the way; each trail like this recent one will place yet another nail in the coffin of your illusions.
  • Good morning danjlittler
    I am new to this site and this is my first reply I was reading your post and it struck a cord with me, I have found similarities with you position and the situation that I found myself in recently.
    My relationship of 25 years was floundering I tried allsorts to fix it and nothing seemed to work,
    And it seemed the happier I became in the tao the less I tried to force the issue realising I have changed I was quite upset that she didn‘t want to change, by looking within myself I realised I had no right to expect change from (Jane) wife so I stopped expecting and started to create a new life for myself, it can be easy to let our lives become stuck in a rut, loosing the original person and becoming a shadow of what we can be, and as I started to become the old me the me she originally fell in love with, things started to change for the better, we are still not 100% but we are on the path to a brighter future
    We only have a relatively short time in this form and shouldn‘t waist it being unhappy,
    If a man speaks or acts with a pure mind, joy follows him as his own shadow

  • Thanks to you both, some helpful words there.

    Carl, I know what you mean. As I've been working directly with gain and loss in my own life, while coming to accept that they are inextricably linked, I've started to feel like they're not two separate things at all, the gain and the fear of loss are all one piece. I'm still marvelling at the fact that I feel like I'm deepening my understanding a little bit every day as I try to "have in my hold the Great Image"... possibly some of that is illusion, I know that I really need to feel like I'm making steady and constant progress in something that will enrich me... I've always been in the habit of questioning things, even those ideas that invite me to question things, and I've found myself wondering if the peace that I find in trying to "act from knowledge of the constant" is as illusory as the peace I find from anything else... although, unlike most other things that bring peace, one can't "lose" the concepts of Taoism (brain injury and the like notwithstanding). That being the case, it doesn't matter to what extent we're hoodwinking ourselves, because the effect is the same.

    Bit rambling today, well, often... Not sure if that above makes complete sense, but I'm always more of an apologiser than an editor, my flaws are on display.

    River Dog, thanks for this. I've always found other's accounts of relationship troubles help me to easily attain a sense of mysterious sameness about relationships. I've believed for a while that pretty much all relationships seem to go through the same kinds of problems, one way or another. Every break up is over-whelmingly comparable upon a little examination. That's what I've mostly been trying to focus on now, it really makes worrying about it all, or being surprised at anything that happens, seem very naive and silly.

    See, that's exactly what happens to a lot of people, perhaps most or all people, I guess... Once the rut is established, you're both different people. This is what she was so worried about that made her leave me in the first place.

    Maybe Taoist thought would save all our marriages from themselves. I think it's a bit late in my case. Still, if she'd never left me, I probably wouldn't have been able to accept many of these ideas as easily as I have (although I'm sure I've got much more understanding and internalisation to do), certainly I wouldn't have felt like I needed them, when my mantra was, "As long as we've got each other, it'll be alright". Without this certainty to live with every day, it was hard to get out of bed. But the Tao Te Ching simplifies this even further: "The reason I have great trouble is that I have a body: when I no longer have a body, what trouble have I?" I tend to think of it as, "You'll survive, and if you don't, it won't matter to you". Of course, now I can see how silly it was hinging my peace of mind on an "as long as...". Since everything is transient, I was setting myself up for disaster all along.
  • I'm still marvelling at the fact that I feel like I'm deepening my understanding a little bit every day as I try to "have in my hold the Great Image"... possibly some of that is illusion, I know that I really need to feel like I'm making steady and constant progress in something that will enrich me... I've always been in the habit of questioning things, ...

    "Questioning things" is the key to the feeling of making progress, although not if one is intent on finding The Answer. They would likely be attracted to paths that provided 'constants that can be named', and not this path of mysterious sameness.

    I imagine the "questioning things" is driven by the hunter gatherer instinct. The search for 'greener grass'. If the search is reward unto itself, one will feel more content the taoist paradigm. It sounds to me like this applies to you Dan.

    Rigorously facing things as they are requires dropping our favorite story of how we wish they were. As we face 'it' as it is, the mysterious and the mundane blend into a One and the sameness. The difficulties we face in life are the only opportunities we get to exchange our desire (for what should be) for the wonder of what is. A proper sense of awe becomes our constant companion.
  • Mysteriously comprehending like the sage you appear to be, you've picked out exactly what my current "problem" (for want of a better word) is. I came to the same conclusion, although not in so many words, that "a proper sense of awe" should be my constant companion, something to muddle my desire for a "soulmate". It's the only hard to obtain good that I really feel the need to take all sorts of foolish action over.

    Come to think of it, if any of were to achieve the kind of ideal that I have in my mind for a soulmate, I should think they'd gravitate to me naturally (even before I knew the TTC, I felt that)... and not away from me, as in this case. Well, it's one solution to the thought problem.

    I so often end up answering questions while I'm trying to ask them. While I'm trying to thrash out the salient points and explain the backstory, that's often enough to come to some kind of better understanding. A widening of perspective, I guess.

    Anyway, I'll go to bed before I go onto any further tangents. Night all.
  • The "Mysteriously comprehending" is more just a matter of being more tuned into 'mysterious sameness' as time goes by. The older I get, the less distinct the differences in all matters of life, not just in the usual physical realm - eyesight, hearing, tastes, etc.
    ...my desire for a "soulmate". It's the only hard to obtain good that I really feel the need to take all sorts of foolish action over.

    Given the increasing social isolation that comes with prosperity, many turn to the romantic ideals of which the "soulmate" is one. The ironic thing is that the only way we can truly 'get' what we desire is through not seeking it (not desiring it). I suppose it is double irony because what is the point to 'get' what you are not seeking? Straightforward words seem paradoxical.

    Although, it's probably not that paradoxical. What we think we want, our desire, represents only a half truth. It is 50% an empty promise. What we really need for emotional balance (contentment) is drown-out by the commotion of desire seeking its end. This is why things like meditation, yoga, and the like (personal long term devotions) are so effective. They deliver the meat and bones of what we truly need over the long haul.
  • Hay Dan
    Sometimes I find myself over analysing things and can get to wrapped up in thinking and not doing
    Our egos can play a massive roll sometimes, this isn‘t fare or I don‘t deserve that. We are only in this form for a short while and I try to see the world and my life like a brand new thing every morning when I open my eyes full of potential remembering the three jewels of tao compassion, moderation and humility and try to be all I can be

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