My beloved big, beautiful Buddha Boy and his lovely, little sister Lily passed away within 10 days of each other just shy of their eighth birthday. Buddha and Lily were special “dogi’s” who raised thousands of dollars for No Kill Animal Shelters. I adopted both of them when they were four months old. I taught them a variety of yoga poses in Sanskrit and put their talent to good use teaching Doga Yoga at a variety of Charity Events.
Buddha passed away from a degenerative disc disease in his spine. When he was diagnosed, the vet gave him three months to live. He lived for another 16 months and I attribute it to his yoga practice, a great holistic team of acupuncturists, chiropractors and a raw food diet. Although his body deteriorated his love and spirit never declined.
Our lovely Lily girl died gently in our arms at home on the couch. Her lung cancer prevented her from eating much yet she detached from the experience of any discomfort in her body and just wanted to stay by my side comforting me.
When we buried Buddha and Lily, My “kids” who are 18 and 21 now, were having a difficult time, so I shared the Buddhist teaching about impermanence.
Don’t cling to things because everything is impermanent. Experience your emotions fully, let the emotions penetrate you – let it penetrate you all the way through you. If you don’t allow yourself to express fully the emotion – let it go all the way through you – then you can never get to the point of becoming detached from it.
You’re too busy being afraid of the emotion coming back. If you experience the pain, grief, love or whatever emotion fully, then you know what it is and can move on from it.
And only then can you say, okay I’ve experienced that emotion, I recognize that emotion, now I need to detach from that emotion.
As a family, we experienced the grief of Buddha and Lily’s passing. We cried and let the emotion penetrate us deeply. From that penetration of the emotion, we begin the practice of detaching from the experience.
“We have to nourish our insight into impermanence every day. If we do, we will live more deeply, suffer less, and enjoy life much more. Living deeply, we will touch the foundation of reality, nirvana, the world of no-birth and no-death. Touching impermanence deeply, we touch the world beyond permanence and impermanence. We touch the ground of being and see that which we have called being and non-being are just notions. Nothing is ever lost. Nothing is ever gained.” [The Heart of the Buddha’s Teaching (Parallax Press 1998), p. 124]
Thich Nhat Hanh