My daughter is passing through a very difficult stage right now – she’s being weaned off her mother’s milk. More than just a source of nutrition, this milk has been, for her, a way to connect with her mother and an assurance of security and support. To lose that possibly means the loss of what she values the most in life so far. But this process is required – a necessary evil – for her to switch to better sources of more complete nutrition which can support her in the long term. It might also have an important role in making her more independent and make her seek security and safety beyond what her mother can provide. As adults, we consider her temporary sorrow at being weaned to be okay because we understand it to be a part of the natural process, a step in her growth, and an important change for her to move to the next level. But she does not realize it yet, and so the experience is painful for her.
It is interesting how we adults are generally not capable of accepting other natural processes such as ageing and death with a maturity much greater than that of a child. When we are ourselves undergoing such transformations, we are not able to view them from outside as when we make decisions for children considering their long-term good. Watching such transformations in others, especially our loved ones, also causes us discomfort, probably because we do not fully understand how these processes are for our own good. Knowing that requires being able to see the larger picture, which most people are not.
We all have things that we depend on; these are the very things that we need to be weaned off of. We might depend on money and think that it gives us security and can make us happy. Often, it is through the painful process of losing that money that we realize that it is not dependable. Then we depend on our friends and relatives, but they also cannot be with us forever. We may further depend on our health, and it too fails us at some point. Each time we are weaned off something that we depend on, we turn to something that is more dependable. It is all part of the process that is designed to make us understand that nothing in this world is truly dependable.The things that we interact or deal with are not worthy of being depended on. As long as we just deal with them, we are fine. But the moment we become attached to the things we deal with and let them dictate the terms for our happiness, we will sooner or later have to go through the suffering of being deprived of those. Instead, if we consider them as just tools that serve us for the moment, they will not be difficult to let go of. When we visit a theater to watch a 3D movie and are given those special glasses for the duration of the movie, giving back those glasses after the show is not painful. If we can have the same attitude towards other things in life, including this body, weaning will not be an agonizing experience.