As I woke this morning, I re-realized that I passed my self-designated date to post on Perspective on Trauma. Like many other months I had a specific post in mind and spent time gathering supportive resources for my monthly article. But, like some other months, there is something that matters more. I find writing about the previously identified subject, won’t come.
Over the last week my husband experienced a profound loss. A loss that touches his life, and both of us deeply. Unexpected, painful, and currently impossible to understand we find ourselves navigating our days the best that we can. Checking in with each other, offering hugs, allowing tears, and listening as we wade forward.
Neither of us are strangers to loss, as will be true for many of you. Whether that is loss on a personal level or the losses we have all endured and been exposed to within the context of our current health crisis, social, and political climate. Loss to death is painful, impactful, and life altering. As, I think, is appropriate and normal.
I hold deep beliefs regarding spiritual life and simultaneously recognize the importance (in grief) of sharing these only if asked, and only when the other is ready to hear them. Grief is a personal journey, and while there are identified roadmaps, I find, we each need to approach this journey in our own way and in our own time. I am fortunate in the respect that L (my husband) and I hold similar beliefs. This, which is also normative, is not true for all others involved in this loss. I respect their believes very much, and hold ours near, as we make our way through this.
I have been thinking, this week, of the concept of resting in awareness and its application to grief and loss. A practiced meditation (Inner Peace Meditation) narrated and guided by Deepak Chopra speaks beautifully of the soul (also known as our true self) and the concept of resting in awareness. He says, “The true self is that -which is never born and is not subject to death. The true self is that which many spiritual traditions call the soul. He further notes, “In Eastern Wisdom Traditions when we speak of the true-self we also know that it is ancient. It is unborn. That fire cannot burn it. That wind cannot dry it. Weapons cannot shatter it. It is not in space nor in time but is our eternal home. He then directs the listener to, “rest in being, rest in awareness, rest in the self beyond all descriptions, and all the roles you play as a human being”. He reminds, “You are not the roles you play. You are the alert witness. Awareness is consciousness in which those roles come and go as part of the scenery. Resting in awareness is also called waking up. Waking up from the projections we call mind, body, and the world”.
This brings me great comfort as I navigate the world in general and loss in particular. It is not a comfortable journey but one we will all make, often many times over, in our lifetime. I have read in spiritual literature that our greatest lessons in life are wrapped in the way we show up to love one another. I find death is the greatest reminder of how we did or possibly did not show up. If we are paying attention, we will take much from this experience.
Death changes the living and, as the teachings offer, this is as it is meant to be.
David Kessler, in his book, Finding Meaning ~The Sixth Stage of Grief” eloquently discusses the loss of his son and his journey to find meaning after his heart wrenching loss. I believe this is the way loss is. It is a painful journey that can (if we attend to our emotions) unfold into a greater awareness of connectedness to our loved ones, others, and consciousness.
I believe the soul lives on in conscious awareness unshackled by the trappings of the roles we play and possibly the illusion this life is. As I write this I am reminded of the poem “Death is Nothing at All” by Henry Scott -Holland.
Death is nothing at all.
It does not count.
I have only slipped away into the next room.
Nothing has happened.
Everything remains exactly as it was.
I am I, and you are you,
and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged.
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by the old familiar name.
Speak of me in the easy way which you always used.
Put no difference into your tone.
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow.
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was.
Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was.
There is absolute and unbroken continuity.
What is this death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am but waiting for you, for an interval,
somewhere very near,
just round the corner.
All is well.
Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost.
One brief moment and all will be as it was before.
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
It is this knowing that aides me in navigating the many rocky places this life holds and that reassures me that our loved ones live on, resting in conscious awareness, as we continue to learn.
It is my hope, as always, that you found something that resonates with you here. I welcome your thoughts and experiences.
(Please note the meditation Inner Peace Meditation is listed in the resources section of this article, as is David Kessler’s meaningful book).
Deepest care to each of you,
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Chopra, Deepak. Inner Peace Meditation. You Tube
Kessler, David. Finding Meaning. The Sixth Stage of Grief.