Resources for Loss

Tibetan Buddhism, a film, and two jazz pieces, contributed by Michael Shear (2019)

My main contribution would be the suggestion that one look into the ideas of Tibetan Buddhism.  Its most fundamental notions are premised on loss, the ubiquity and inevitability of loss, and the challenges this presents us. One might think that this would lead to a pretty melancholy outlook on life, but quite the opposite! Acceptance of impermanence offers the opportunity of reorienting to the bounty of the present: carpe diem. Moreover, it asks for no exclusivity, and sits nicely alongside many other commitments. A good place to start might be the Dalai Lama’s autobiography, Freedom in Exile.

I would also highly recommend A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, a movie starring Tom Hanks and Matthew Rhys. It is the story of grief turned to anger, and how Fred Rogers' compassion and a practical suggestion (“Remember you were once a child and what it felt like to be that child”) brought a positive turn to one person’s suffering.

Lastly, in order to offer something slightly more immediate and tangible, I have chosen two tracks of music that have brought me solace over the years: “Flamenco Sketches” from Miles Davis’s album Kind of Blue and “My Little Brown Book” from Duke Ellington and John Coltrane.  Music, through channels that transcend thought, can touch us deeply and transform our lives. No doubt different music will move different listeners, but these are two examples.

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