When I checked up on my front garden this morning, I found that someone had lopped off the top stem of one of my baby rose bushes. It’s now a wimpy remnant of its former self.
I at least hope it was means to start a bush for another garden. It’s just that another bush and I suffered the same fate last week…only one remains at its original size (for now).
Should I hang a sign with the words “Pretty please don’t steal the rose bushes”? Should I hire a rose bush bodyguard or start a garden plant neighbourhood watch?
I’m pretty sure I’m a generous person. Beggars and fundraisers beeline for me because they rightly sense I’ll cave in. But gosh darn it, I’m trying really hard to help these rose bushes grow, and I want them for myself. I check them daily, happy to see their little leaves reaching toward the sun. I can’t help but feel sad and violated when they are whacked down to half their size. Hands off MY ROSE BUSHES. Please.
After a few minutes of huffing and puffing over the situation, I ended up just hoping the rose bush ‘enthusiast’ would take tender care of his or her cuttings. I may have bought them, but maybe a rose bush is its own. Maybe it likes to be propagated. Besides, synergy is when 1+1=3. Mine will eventually grow to be huge. So will theirs. All the more roses to enjoy.
Attachment to love
I’m re-reading a book called “Fuck it: the ultimate spiritual way” by John C. Parkin. I’m jumping from roses to relationships here, but I hope you get the connection, as it’s all to do with the law of impermanence (the release from attachment to tall rose bushes or tall men or things staying the same):
“In love we want a lot. We want all the attention. We want it to last forever. We want it to be perfect. And we throw everything we have into these desires. This is attachment and dependency. And this is a very obvious and large potential for pain. The possibility of saying fuck it is like the story of the two dimensional people.
Imagine people living in a two-dimensional world: nothing has three-dimensional shape, everything is lines and shading…these people cannot imagine a three-dimensional world…but take them into this world. Let them live in it for awhile. And they instantly get it and see how utterly amazing it is compared to their 2D world.
This is what it’s like to start saying Fuck it to things. And especially in relationships….think of a relationship where you were deeply in love with someone; smitten by them. Remember what it felt like to be attached to them: loving their attention and looks…waiting for their calls…getting jealous easily…
Now imagine that relationship and what it would have been like to have taken things a little less seriously. Imagine if you’d not taken things so personally. Imagine if you hadn’t worried about whether or not it would last forever…and here’s the strange thing: it doesn’t mean that you love this person any less. In fact, this may be where definitions of love start to strain at the leash. Because the clingy attaching romantic love that we and everything in our society supports as ‘love’ can transform into another kind of ‘love’ when we stop clinging.”
What would happen if we all spiritually let go of things being “mine” and “yours”? When will people stop writing their child’s name on every toy, shirt and pair of shoes? When will Hollywood stop making those awful romantic films I love so much, where the main character finds someone that just utterly completes her, like their love was written in the stars?
Attachment/possession can take on the most hideous forms (war, forced marriage, terrible labour conditions for a cute-n-cheap sweater, animal brutality for a nice piece of meat), but it’s often glamoured up and sweetly packaged for our mental digestion. Duck-lipped women clutch giant perfume bottles: wear this perfume and he will be incapable of resisting you.
In Buddhism, attachment is the root of suffering. I opened an email to find this quote from the Dalai Lama, saying that in modern society, which is completely based on attachment to things and status, you:
“…sacrifice your health in order to make money. Then you sacrifice money to recuperate your health. Then you are so anxious about the future that you don’t enjoy the present: the result being that you do not live in the present or the future; you live as if you are never going to die, and then you die having never really lived.”
It’s time that humanity grew up from possession and attachment. I know I’m not there yet, so I guess I’ll just have to do it one rose bush, one love, and one day at a time.