I’ve heard men say that their children are their greatest achievement. I’m sure that’s not what Siddhartha’s father was saying when not-yet Buddha slipped out of the family compound, abandoned his wife and infant son to their privilege, and hit the road to oblivion.
We’ve weighed anchor on the inner journey when we start to shed our dependencies. Pinned as we are between fear and craving, there’s no shortage. The last of these vampiric entities to be pared away are the ones masquerading as virtues. Loyalty, for example.
The fear-based man is cautious, conventional, and conforming. He makes a virtue out of loyalty. Then some crisis happens. Herein his golden opportunity. He will either be re-wilded or driven deeper into fear.
The cultural mantra “Provide for my family” begs the question: Who is my family? This was Jesus’ wake-up response to his disciples when they told him his family was waiting to see him.
Loyalty is less a virtue than a stand-in for love. Less innocently, it elevates patriotism, punishes the un-conforming and beats the drum for our ceremonies of war.