You and I assumed forever
When we became companions.
But now, unhappy, you are leaving
The sky turns to bitter candescence
Unslaked by resignation.
There are times when we have been lucky enough to have companions on our spiritual path, but the time of parting often comes without welcome. When our friends decide to leave, we are often left with doubt, confusion, and sometimes guilt. Anyone may leave the path. They won’t suffer damnation; they will only walk a different path.
The rule for those who follow Tao is this: Walk the path together as long as you can, and when you must part, never hold your companion back.
Should one seek to have no feelings at all regarding friends? After all, the sages constantly warn against attachment. Yet emotion is part of what makes us human. We may understand philosophically why a companion must leave, but we need not deny our feelings as we walk on alone.