My girlfriend went to college and it’s been shitty. I’ll admit that. The first night was okay. The second night was worse when I realized most people go to college. Including most of my friends.
So I did what any sane person would do, and started smoking to deal with my problems.
For three consecutive nights. Until I didn’t want to smoke anymore, and my problems were still there. Bummer.
I started hanging out with some of the boys. I’m lucky I have close friends going to the local community college.
I went rock-climbing yesterday to try and get out of my head in terms of my girlfriend. That worked, but only slightly. After, I immediately delved back into, Fuck, I miss my girlfriend.
Which is kind of a bitch thing to admit seeing as it’s been a grand total of four days.
Then I started reaching out to people because, you know, my girlfriend was at college and I basically had every day freed up time-wise. And not only was every one at college, every one was freaking loving it.
And it’s not even the partying I’m envious of – it’s the college lifestyle. The living in dorms, having roommates, going to crazy parties on the weekends. The sneaking into the dining hall for some last minute food. The meeting random people all the time. I eat that shit up – and I love my dudes, but it’s also so much fun talking to new people, hearing new people’s stories.
But I feel good now. Why’s that? Because I passed out last night around nine pm. My girlfriend was taking around five to ten minutes to text me back each time – shame on her – because she was talking to her roommate and I didn’t want to think anymore.
And I was beat from rock-climbing for like five and a half hours.
So I slept for ten hours and felt great waking up. And literally while I was walking down the stairs to go make coffee, I felt the thoughts start up.
‘Dude, your girlfriend’s at college. All your friends are at college – what’re you even doing here, man? This town is beat and you’ve got to be here for another four months before you travel? Why didn’t you just go to freaking college?’
I’d been doubting my plan to travel over these past few days. The closer I get to the date I leave for traveling, the more doubts start to spring up in my mind. Doubts of, Am I really ditching that full freshman year of college, ten months of schooling, to be able to support myself on the road for maybe four months?
Freshman year sounds fucking great. Parties, random people, classes that actually make you think. I was talking to a good friend of mine on the phone last night. He told me how he loved his classes, the campus, all that goodness. How he was reading a book on Taoist philosophy that he’d been assigned. He knows me, and was like, Dude, you would love this book. You’d eat it up.
And I started thinking seriously, Wow. I may have fucked up.
Not rationally, not seriously as in I’d change what I’m doing. I won’t, and if I had the option I wouldn’t. But doubts aren’t rational, and even if you logically know you wouldn’t change anything, they whisper.
But I woke up this morning. And I snagged a book on Buddhist philosophy from one of my shelves. My dad gave it to me long ago – The Buddha In Your Mirror. It has a cheesy title, but I promise it’s gold.
Opening the book was a fresh breeze. I started reading, and words connected like blocks in my mind. Not intangible concepts of the mind – solid thoughts. Thoughts that were as real as something conceptual can be. The right words that needed to be read.
I read a section on impermanence. That’s what made me immediately… I’m not sure the word. Come to terms with what was happening in my life? Come to terms with the fact that my girlfriend and I are starting to separate in life paths? Come to terms with the fact that all my friends are on their own journeys, and I’m on mine.
That seems sad, right? But it’s not. Tony Robbins once said that sadness comes when we lose something, and feel we’ll never get it back again. That’s why people feel sad. They lose a loved one, and feel that part missing from them. Feel that they’ll never be whole again – from that point on, we’re permanently broken. But that’s not the case.
Life is constant cycling – birth, life, and death. Anything. Friend cycles, lover cycles, family cycles, jobs, anything. It’s when we become attached to a particular part of this cycle that we start to feel loss. It’s not loss, it’s transformation.
When we forget the principle of impermanence, that nothing ever stays as it is right now, that’s when we suffer. We see a star and we believe it will always be a star. No, it will die. And in millions of years will become planets, more stars, and whatever else.
When you’re with your first serious girlfriend, you look at her and think, This is forever. It’s not. You might get married, you might stay together for years, but it won’t always be the same relationship.
This might seem sad, but it’s actually freeing. If suffering comes from being attached to a particular part of whatever cycle you’re in, then you can practice acceptance. Just knowing that your suffering exists because you’re denying the principle of impermanence can free you.
It can set you free to love whatever you have right now with a deep-hearted love, because you know that it’s going to end. And when it ends, you’ll love that too.
I didn’t cry, but I teared up when I read that part of the book and it hit me before I started meditating.
Pain comes from attachment. When you accept that everything ends, then you’re free to love so fucking deeply. Because you know that when it ends, you can accept it’s ending to be re-birthed into something better.
You don’t have to accept that. But it’s going to happen anyway, so you might as well make peace with it.