Clear Thinking - Dealing with the Loss of a Loved One

From: Janardhan
Sent on: Wednesday, August 4, 2010 11:14 PM

It���s not easy, this dying business!�� But there seems to be ways to make it easier for our self, and then for others, when someone close is about to move on.��

��A ship sails and I stand alone, watching till she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, ���She is gone���.�� Gone where?�� Gone from my side, that is all; she is in me just as large as when I saw her.�� The diminished size, and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my sides says, ���She is gone���, there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up the glad shout. ���There she comes!����� And that is dying.




��

Dealing with the Loss of Loved One

��In response to a question - How can we help someone who is in the process of losing a loved one?

One of the greatest challenges in life that we all may face one day is the loss of a loved one.�� Our response is ���likely��� to range across a spectrum from mild but significant sadness to the feeling of utter devastation and desolation ��� who knows until it actually happens.���� Preparing our self for such an eventuality is not to invoke it, nor is it to indulge in some morbid mental fantasy.�� It is a preparation that can help us to support others as they deal with the loss of a loved one either before or during their grief.�� So the first step, if we are to hold out a consoling and supporting hand for others, is to sense how we ourselves would deal with the loss of a loved one in our own life.

Reality Check

The reality is that the form that we occupy is perishable and each one of us has our destined moment of departure from our mortal coil.�� Prior to such an event we could remind our self that there is nothing more inevitable in life than death. Acceptance of the inevitability of death is not to invite it, nor is it to give up on living, but simply coming to terms with a universal truth.�� Some people even use this truth to ensure that they live fully and waste no ���living time���.�� It���s almost impossible to control our departure date. Mentally struggling against its future inevitability only begets a futility that easily drains any happiness we have in the here and now.��������

Common Illusion

When we say that we have lost, or are about to lose, a loved one, we could also remind our self that our loss is an illusion, that the losing of someone is impossible, as they weren���t ours to ���possess��� in the first place.�� Any sadness/sorrow is always the result of a belief that something has been lost, which in turn is based on the belief that something has been possessed.�� But can we possess another human being?�� Obviously not.�� We even remind ourselves and others that we cannot possess anything when we say, ���Well you can���t take it with you when you go!������� This is why any sadness/sorrow is based on the illusion that you ���had them��� (possessed them) while they were here!

If we enquire further into the cause of our suffering when someone close is going or has ���gone���, we would likely find that we are confusing love with attachment.�� Even when we know the theory of ���love is letting go���, even when we know that all fear prior to loss and all sadness after the moment of loss is the result of our attachment (which we mistake for love), it���s still hard not to suffer when the moment comes.�� So deeply has this illusion, this habit ���to attach���, seeped into our consciousness we even justify our tears by affirming another commonly held belief/illusion that says ���it���s only natural to grieve���, it���s human nature to suffer.�� Our tears will continue to flow until we realise and remember that deeper truth which reminds as that any ���suffering��� is a signal that we have temporarily disconnected from our true nature which is peaceful, powerful and loving. ��The strength offered by our true nature is only accessible when we have ���seen through��� the illusion that attachment is a sign of love, the illusion that our tears signify our caring, that our emotional suffering is natural.�� These are not easy illusions to dispel in a world that celebrates them every day.

Don���t Cry For Me!

In the midst of our sorrow following the departure of our ���loved one��� (or should that now read our ���attached one���!) we could ask, as many do, would ���they��� want us to suffer after they are gone?�� Would they thank us for our self-sustaining unhappiness?�� Highly unlikely!�� In fact they would probably say the opposite, as indeed some do before they go. They would more likely want us to get on with our life, be happy, and be at peace.�� Would we not want those whom we leave behind to do the same?�� Or would we take pleasure in knowing that they are devastated following our exit from the stage of life?

Here They Come!

Then there is the spiritual answer to the death or the ���departure��� of another, which reminds us that they don���t actually die.�� They simply move out of their current physical form and are reborn in a new form.�� There is obviously no scientific evidence for this ancient belief about what happens when we die.�� But there is plenty of anecdotal evidence of ���rebirth��� from young children carrying very clear memories of a previous life and from those who have undergone some form of regressive hypnosis.�� If we can ���intuit��� any truth in the idea that the soul (which is the self) simply leaves the body at the moment we call death, then instead of being tearful we might ���send them off��� with our good wishes and bountiful blessings for the next chapter on their grand adventure. Much like we might wish ���happy holidays��� to friends on their way to their annual vacation.

This idea of the soul���s journey is captured in the words of Victor Hugo from Toilers of the Sea in which he uses the metaphor of the ship sailing over the horizon:

��A ship sails and I stand alone, watching till she fades on the horizon, and someone at my side says, ���She is gone���.�� Gone where?�� Gone from my side, that is all; she is in me just as large as when I saw her.�� The diminished size, and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my sides says, ���She is gone���, there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up the glad shout. ���There she comes!����� And that is dying.

Perhaps this is why in some cultures they do not mourn death but celebrate.�� They have a party to celebrate the life of a good friend and to send them on their way on a wave of love and merriment.

��Dying Alive

Ultimately our fear of death is not a fear of the unknown but a fear of losing what we know and what we believe that we have.�� This is why, for many, the idea of death itself not a major issue; it is the manner of its accomplishment! If there is fear then it is often a fear of the amount of pain that may have to be endured as we slip through ���exit door��� at the end of the ���corridor of life���.�� But while the exact moment of our departure is never known in advance it seems we can choose our own moment of dying, exit the physical body painlessly at the end of ���this chapter��� and go in peace. This possibility is encapsulated by the saying, ���If you die before you die then when you die you don���t die���.�� Otherwise known as ���dying alive���, it simply means there can be a conscious choice to acknowl��edge and let go of everything to which we are attached. Death, in this strand of spiritual wisdom, is painful only when we cling to our attachments while at the same time being wrenched away from them. Toys and children remind us of this grasping at the objects of life and the tears that easily flow when life asks for the toys to be returned.�� If we can learn to let go before we are forced to let go we may be able to re-vision the ���end of the line��� as a gliding return to home ��� a gradual, inevitable, flawless movement, an easy and natural farewell, the soul���s (self���s) ascent to its resting place, regardless of whatever is happening both within our body or around our body at that time.

If we can truly grasp this for our self then we can help others over the threshold by letting them go and letting them know that have we have let them go, while still ���being there��� for them and with them as they make their way.

It���s not easy, this dying business!�� But there seems to be ways to make it easier for our self, and then for others, when someone close is about to move on.�� In the process of exploring and understanding the true nature of our ���final moments��� we also come to appreciate life for what it simply is; an amazing opportunity to live fully and joyfully that will not last forever.�� Besides, if someone offered us the chance to live for five hundred years would we take it?�� In the process of helping someone who is in the process of losing someone close perhaps it���s not about saying any of the above but just sharing with them the quiet strength we ourselves may gain from contemplating the above.�� And if their curiosity is aroused perhaps that���s the signal to explore more explicitly some of these possibly deeper truths about ���the inevitable���.�� The ���end time��� for each and every person is unique and unpredictable requiring a moment-by-moment sensitivity and a sense of appropriateness that cannot be pre-scribed. ��This probably also applies for the one closest to one who is leaving!

In being close to someone who is about to take their leave we are faced with, and some would say privileged to look in, a powerful mirror in which we get to see exactly where we stand in our relationship with death.�� In looking in the mirror of another���s death we get glimpses of how much we value living and to what extent we are giving of our life.

In response to a question - How can we help someone who is in the process of losing a loved one?

C�� Mike George 2010

��Center��|��Retreat��|��MWC

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