We all eventually suffer the loss of a loved one. Grief is part of life, and coming to terms with the absence of a loved one is painful.
There is no magical formula to prevent the pain of loss. Still, we can take time to familiarise ourselves with our mind and how it works and how we can lessen the suffering of losing a loved one. This way, we can learn to manage our feelings and emotions and maybe lighten the sadness and other emotions that come with grief.
We all have a part of our being, our mind, that never dies. It is eternal, and many religions and philosophies teach this. Our physical being is only one aspect of who we are.
We invest heavily in what we perceive through our physical senses, believing in the solidity of things as the only reality there is. We depend on the outer world for happiness and well-being, and we create a sense of identity with the brand of clothes we wear, the job we have, the car we own and the friends we have. All this builds on our idea of who we want to be and how we want others to perceive us.
Our mind is focused and invested in the things around us. In this way, we also develop relationships with others. We rely on others to make us happy, and if they don't, it makes us unhappy. Our entire existence runs on the part of our mind that is caught up constantly in our outer physical world. We rely on others and the external environment for our well-being, creating attachments.
This dependency on external factors for our well-being leaves us open to losing our happiness when things and people around us change or go from our lives. Nothing remains forever, and we find this impermanence hard to accept emotionally. We hold onto things because we want them to be permanent and remain constant in our lives. We base our existence on an inherent belief that things are solid and permanent. We suffer because the underlying nature of reality is constantly in flux, and all things will eventually change, decay or die.
If we had more understanding of the transience of life and all that we experience, we would accept that change is part of life. We would find it easier to let go of our grasp on people and things. We would live each moment of life with more appreciation and gratitude. We would appreciate each moment, seeing everything as precious, giving rise to feelings of happiness and joy.
Meditation is a way to bring forth the awareness of our wisdom mind as it quietens the judgemental thinking mind. The quietening of our thoughts allows the clarity and wisdom within us to manifest. When we discover the fullness of who we are and recognise the wisdom aspect of the mind, we no longer get so caught up emotionally with our external world. We have a completely different approach to life and those around us. We understand we are not just our thoughts and emotions. We are much more than that; we are spiritual beings, and the mind is more than just the thinking and thoughts, ideas and beliefs we create.
By abiding within our sacred part of our mind, the clear, peaceful aspect - our awareness; we discover inner joy and contentment, strengthening our spirit to face grief. We can draw on our innate wisdom to get us through the grief, helping us find a way to process the loss of a loved one as we contact a deeper aspect of ourselves. If we are free of attachment, we will process the loss differently, with less focus on the actual suffering itself.
We understand that death is merely a transition if we hold spiritual beliefs. The soul or mind of a living being simply leaves the physical body and this physical realm and goes to another realm of existence.
Our faith and trust in our spiritual understanding can help us let go of our attachment and come to terms with the loss. Of course, this acceptance takes time, and we have to allow ourselves to feel the sadness and grieve.
We should be gentle with ourselves during this process. Grief can propel us toward more spiritual practice and understanding, helping us bear the suffering and become less overwhelmed by our emotions. It is good to share our feelings with others. Repressed emotions can block energy in the body, leading to ailments and illness. We may be more reactive and feel more vulnerable and sensitive. It is important not to block out our feelings and allow ourselves to feel the totality of our grief; we need to honour our sense of loss.
When we feel very low, we can gently remind ourselves of the vast clear aspect of mind, the innate clarity of awareness which is our connection to the divine. This awareness is beyond space and time and connects us to all things. In this space, all our departed loved ones are there. With this connection, we can feel more positive, as there is less feeling of separation. We can send them love and good thoughts, make prayers, helping them on the next stage of their journey into the afterlife. If the person was in a lot of pain before they died, we find comfort in knowing they are free of that suffering as they are no longer in the physical body. There are many accounts of near-death experiences where the person has felt bliss and mystical experiences as their consciousness leaves the physical body behind.
It is good to rejoice in the life of the deceased. We can focus on all the positive aspects of our relationship with them, generating gratitude for moments shared. Doing this will ease the negative thoughts of loss and desperation, creating a positive attitude toward losing our loved ones.
We can sit quietly and generate the love we have for the deceased and then extend that love to all suffering beings, those who have passed and others who are also grieving.
We begin to realise the universality of suffering, and our capacity to feel compassion becomes vast and encompassing. The grip on our pain loosens as it feels less personal, and we give our sadness a sense of purpose through loving-kindness.
Death is an unavoidable circumstance that comes to everyone; we all have a finite time in this life.
If we can think about dying more during our lives and reflect on attachment, it will help us with grieving, and it will help us appreciate our lives and live more fully.