One of the things that makes grieving so difficult is that we feel like we’re drowning in it. Every time we manage to come up for air, it feels like there’s an invisible hand ready, willing and able to push us under the surface again.
When swimming in that murky water, it is extremely difficult to gain any perspective on the process. It is virtually impossible to see the big picture yet understanding that today is just today, is one of the keys to surviving grief.
Seeing grief as the fluid process it is and seeing it in the context of a larger whole can make a huge difference in whether we continue to get sucked down into the black hole of grief or whether we emerge transformed and whole.
I was already a daily meditator when I experienced my first profound loss, that of my mother in 1985, so it’s hard for me to imagine how my grief might have played out without that daily practice.
The meditation practice gave me a number of things…
It allowed me to get out of my day to day frame of mind and see the big picture.
It allowed me to stay connected to my heart, broken though it was at the time. Allowing my heart to break, opened me to all kinds of new possibilities.
In the process of meditation, I was able to experience the deep connection I had always had to my mother. To this day, that connection transcends her physical absence.
For most of us, grief is like an alien creature we are trying to escape. Some of us try to escape by analyzing each individual manifestation, but such examination rarely leads to insight or relief. If anything it probably adds to the experience of overwhelm that is so much a part of the process.
In meditation, you don’t analyze. You experience. You give up the battle to understand and rather embrace the moment to moment process our minds can never fully understand.
I speak of meditation not because it’s the only way to do this but rather because it’s what I know and rely on in every aspect of my life. I am not suggesting you have to meditate in order to deal with your grief. Nor am I selling any particular brand of woo woo spirituality.
What I am doing is looking at the fundamental reasons meditation has helped me and others, and it is the capacity to see the big picture rather than dissecting each and every nuanced expression of your grief. It is in the capacity to connect heart to heart with yourself and with your loved one in a way that totally transcends death. And it is in the capacity to be transformed by loss.
Most of us don’t come to any of this naturally. These are attributes that require cultivation and our grief often calls upon us to do so.
Tomorrow I’ll talk about some of the ways you can regain some perspective and connection while in the midst of your grief.
Photo Credit: andyreis