Separation and Detachment

Another lecture by Dr. Wilfried Reuter (medical doctor and Buddhist teacher in Berlin) from March 20, 2011 deals with separation, relationships, and detachment. What prevents us from being in relationships? Mental obstructions? Fear? Unresolved issues from old relationships? We need trust to let someone close to us.

Unresolved issues from past relationships enter into our new relationships. They influence our experience of the present. They have to be cleared. We have to acknowledge the past relationship and the former partners with empathy.

The most common reasons for separation are: too little closeness, too little intimacy, too little feeling. Too much carelessness, too much unconsciousness.

In a relationship we come up to the limits of our own capabilities. When we care about the development of a relationship, we run into our own weaknesses and limitations, imperfections, and fear. Unresolved issues come to the fore.

Psychologists say that if one experienced traumatic separation in childhood, one does not separate easily as an adult to avoid reliving the pain of that separation again, and people stay in relationships even if they’re unhappy.

Sometimes we find ourselves in situation where we can’t stay and can’t leave, and we feel on the verge of suicide. In those situations, don’t run, don’t shut down. Address your feelings, your concerns. Analyze what attracted you to the relationship in the first place.

When you let a person into your heart, you make yourself vulnerable. And because of that some people no longer let anyone into their heart. Out of fear. But that’s not what the heart is made for. It’s not made for fear.

When relationships fall apart, it feels like an earthquake. Losing the ground from beneath one’s feet. In those moments, we have to feel our fear, our helplessness, our emotions. When you experience separation on the outside, you have to feel a connection on the inside. The more painful the separation on the outside, the more we have to take care of the connection with the inside, to reconnect with ourselves, through feeling, through emotions.

When identities fall apart, when habits no longer help, it’s normal to feel resistance, fear, worthlessness. We have to allow ourselves to feel these painful feelings, because these feelings call for empathy. It takes empathy, conscious empathy to grow past the painful feelings, to grow as a result, to be lead by these feelings to more consciousness.

The three most common reactions to pain are running away, hostility (revenge), or making ourselves numb and unfeeling (through distractions, throwing ourselves into work). We often escape into new relationships because we don’t want to stand the separation pains.

We have to face the pain consciously. Each separation is a chance to build consciousness. Each experience is a chance to build consciousness. And each experience that does not leave you more conscious, what value does it have? To experience pain is a special chance. And each separation a lesson in transience. Each separation is a lesson of change and passing. And in each separation there is potential for development and growth. But we have to learn to stop resisting to make it easier.

Take time to be alone. And face the detachment. The more we connect to ourselves, relax into ourselves, the more we detach.

We often avoid bearing and accepting something difficult without understanding it first, to be with that which is. But it is necessary in order not to remain stuck in the past. Feeling all, without understanding, without looking for solutions, justifications, accusations, self-accusations, feeling without understanding. With acceptance. Keep your eye on the wounded spot, it will fill with light and allow you to detach.

A new or future relationship needs the old relationship to be honoured, and old partners to be honoured. When you feel stuck, feel it with all your being. The whole depth of it. Feel the helplessness. And if there is someone there that you can ask “please take me in your arms,” say it.

Many people are chained to the people who hurt them deeply, abused them, without being able to detach. But detachment can be learned and practiced.

We will learn that no human being can satisfy all your needs and fill our emotional voids. We will learn not to put those expectations on future relationships. By feeling our hurt and longing, and by healing them, and holding them, consciously, love and connection will be possible. Behind all the hurt and all the judgement, behind everything and beyond everything, there is a space. And in that space we all meet again at some point.

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