Grief is certainly one of the most human and intense emotional and mental states a human being can experience. It can be so devastating that even considerations of suicide are provoked. There is individual and collective grief; and there is so much grief in many parts of the world.
Grief cannot be avoided, it is too strong. However it can be understood and met in conscious way. Then grief becomes a process that leads us to deeper levels of compassion and greater awareness of the Whole; it rips our heart open, it destroys our vanity, it reshuffles our priorities, it makes us humble, it heals us. But only if we are cooperating and not resisting.
The unconscious way seeks comfort, distraction, denial, reframing, etc. – the womb of these measures is always resistance. And where there is resistance, there is blockage. Resistance blocks the movement of grief. That’s why grief, when met in unconscious way, never finds real completion. The belief that time heals all wounds is an illusion. The truth is that the grass just grows anew on the surface, but the soil underneath is still damaged.
The conscious approach requires understanding, existential understanding not intellectual understanding. First of all, grief and pain are not the same, although they often come as a package. Grief is the response to the fact that something that energetically belonged to us has been taken away from us. There is a void, a wound, an ‘energy hole’. It’s like you lost a part of your body; in this case not physically but energetically – however the analogy is valid, because as it is in the physical body so it is in the energy body: the void needs time to heal and close. When this process is allowed and can happen and complete itself, then the person is whole again and life can run again unhindered through that person. Energy holes unhealed, unclosed are hindering the life energy flow and as a consequence a person experiences being less alive then before the incident.
Life wants us to be whole and alive; and it heals us when we just allow it.
The next thing to understand is, that pain is caused by the story we tell ourselves with regard to what happened. As the Buddhists say: “Grief is inevitable, pain is optional”. It would be heartless not to grief, but it is not heartless at all to not experience pain in the grief. This requires a lot of maturity and awareness, but is available to everyone. We need to see that there is a difference between grief and pain; then we need to understand that pain is exclusively caused by the stories we tell ourselves, and then we need to see that we, and no one else are the (unconscious) creators of our stories. There have been – and still are a few – cultures that celebrate death for example; they wear white and dance and are celebrating that this soul has completed life (in whatever way, healthy or ill, young or old) and is now free to move on to an ever more blissful existence. Pain is caused by the stories we tell ourselves and these stories are a lot about us, like “I never can be happy again”, “Life is over for me”, “I can’t live without you”, “I’m left entirely alone”, “I never can love again” etc.
A lot of pain also comes from the should and shouldn’ts, i.e. “I should have taken him to the doctor earlier”, “I should have spent more time with her”, “I should not have drank so much”, “I should have listened”, “I should have said ‘I love you’” etc. These stories leave us in regret and guilt and surely they make our inner lives small and miserable. There is a medicine though! It’s called: forgiveness. Forgiveness is an effect of completing an open wound by the healing power of awareness; the awareness that any human being at any stage and time in their lives can only do and not do what their awareness allows for, without exception. Without exception. You can never do anything other then what you can do. If you think you could have done differently, then you are not seeing the truth. For example, the alcoholic knows he should not drink but he does. Why? Because his awareness level doesn’t allow him to make a different choice. So, just knowing you should or should not doesn’t give you the power to act accordingly. The power to act comes only with awareness. Awareness can be gained through participating in and practicing consciousness work.
A last word to the matter of grief: when you are in grief now, then take the above to heart and allow the grief to have its process. Drop the resistance, take time off, and move with the grief. At the same time stay away from your stories. Then sooner than you think you will come out of grief healed, grown and more than ever able to love.