Parting - 離別 - Líbié
A loving assumption -
will affection persevere?
When we became one,
I believed there could be no other,
but will we last forever?
Our future remains too distant
and the sky may quickly darken,
but I shall stubbornly remain,
unwilling to resign our love
to the annals of time.
~inspired by Deng Ming-Dao
There are times in life when we are lucky enough to have a companion on the spiritual path, but just as we came together, we must also await a time when we are forced to depart. This parting may be unwelcome, and when our friends decide to leave, we may be left with doubt, confusion, and even guilt. Anyone may leave the path we tread. They will not suffer damnation; they only choose to walk a different path.
For followers of Tao, the rule is as thus: Walk the path together, as long as you possibly can, but when you must part, never hold yourself (or your companion) back.
Should one seek to be apathetic, to have no feelings whatsoever for one's friends? After all, the sages do continually warn against attachment. This must not be taken to the extreme, however, as a continual deprivation of attachment lessens our humanity. Our emotions are part of what makes us human. We may understand philosophically, that our companion must leave, but we need not deny our feelings, as we walk on alone.