dealing with grief

Very often I receive feedback from students about issues they are encountering and how meditation is making an impact on their daily lives. I’d like to share with you part of a note that I recently received from a student whose husband’s mother had just passed away.

He asked me to tell you that he thinks his meditation sessions over the last month, whilst his mum has been poorly, have helped enormously.  Somehow, at the moment, he is coping extremely well.

The death of a loved one is intense and ranks as one of the most major demands that we can face in our lives.

For many, the suddenness of the experience leaves them feeling numb, dislocated and weighed down by a heaviness that is difficult to shake. Even when we have some forward warning it still has the potential to feel like a shock.

There are a variety of emotions that we cycle through as we deal with the grief: sadness, anger, frustration, fear and uncertainty over the future. Too often, these emotions stay with us for months, and even years and have a dramatic impact on our quality of life and ability to move on.

So how does twice-a-day meditation help us get through this process?

We have the energy to adapt to a new situation

Every time we meditate, we gain energy. Very quickly we build a storehouse of energy that allows us to respond to the demands of life more smoothly and successfully.

The intense demands (emotionally and physically) around the death of a loved one requires a great deal of energy. With meditation, our bank balance of energy is regularly replenished and this means we are stronger, more resilient and better able to adapt to the loss of someone dear to us.

We are less bound by the impressions of past events

Very often the impact of a life event such as the death of a loved one can overshadow our sense of who we are – our identity becomes defined by the impressions of grief, sadness and anger.

When we meditate, we transcend activity and begin to re-identify with the unbounded field of Being that is the source of everything in the universe. Rather than being solely identified with the external, ever-changing relative world, we begin to know our true status. Our true state, at the most fundamental level, is grounded in this non-changing field of pure consciousness. The world around us continues to change and yet our foundation is strong and stable.

This means the impressions of an intense life event, such as the death of a loved one, do not overshadow our true self. We can experience these emotions without becoming them and without holding onto them for longer than is appropriate.

We feel emotions without losing our inner sense of balance

When we are balanced, we can see things as they really are.  Just like when the surface of the lake is choppy and agitated it is difficult to see your reflection. If we allow the water to settle, the surface becomes calm and we can then see our reflection clearly.

Meditation allows us to settle the mind and body to very deep levels of rest. As a result the agitating and distorting effect of stress and fatigue are dissolved and we are more balanced and calm.

In a state of calm, our perception of reality is not distorted. In this way we feel the full range of emotions that are natural at such a time of loss and yet we are not thrown out of balance emotionally and physically.

We expand our perspective of life

With meditation, our awareness expands as we de-excite and touch the inner, subtler layers of consciousness. Overtime we begin to stabilize our connection to this inner field of pure awareness that is at our core. We experience ourselves as whole and connected to the infinite field of consciousness that is the basis of everything in the universe.

When we have the broadest, most cosmic perspective we can see the ups and downs of life in the context of a larger view. We no longer feel disconnected, separate or alone. We are more able to see the progressive patterns all around us and attune ourselves to the subtler layers at the source of creation. Then we can truly understand the inter-connectedness of life.

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