I dedicate this post to a friend on twitter who is dealing with overwhelming anguish from the loss of not one loved one but both her mom and dad… May energy, love and light always burn bright in their memory…
Famous philosopher, Joseph Campbell once said, “We must be willing to let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the life that is waiting for us”. This statement rings wisdom on many levels. We as humans like to be in control of our destinies. Being that suffering is intrinsic to life; the habit of trying to control our surroundings can in itself cause suffering. North Americans especially have this need or urge to be in control. Here in the west, there is a need for immediate gratification and convenience as well the need to manipulate and manage our surrounding environment. You see it with the pressure to be financially successful and even with the United States government and its sometimes misguided foreign entanglements. Of course not all aspects of control are considered a bad thing, but it does cause problems when life rears unpredictable results like loss. We also attach ourselves to such adornments of love, companionship and communion. Losing something or someone dear to us is exacerbated by attachment and loss of control. Love and friendship connect us in ways that create immense grief when this love and friendship is taken away. We can’t be at fault for loving someone or something – it is human nature. Still, there is a need to let go of the attachments that cause us suffering. Grief is one of those attachments. Being that loss is inherent to life, it is also something we can’t control. When we can’t control something as intricate and amazing as the life of a loved one; there can be this feeling of helplessness that envelops us. Our lives can fill with anxiety and we tend to question the Universe. Much like earlier blogs in regard to the concept of space as it relates to our mind and the Universe; we need to make space for loss. We need to be mindful of our thoughts and try not to cling to transient affections when all that is left is memories. Cherish the great memories but let go of the guilt, anger and grief. Letting go does not mean we do not care. Letting go simply means we stop trying to control outcomes that are completely unavoidable. It means to stop doing the impossible by trying to control destiny. Instead, we should focus on what we can control which is ourselves. This is done with love: Love for ourselves and how it relates to our True Nature and love for those here in the now and hereafter.
Personally, recovering from loss caused me to question everything I knew about life, and particularly it caused me to question my faith in God and religion. I could not reconcile how something so beautiful and amazing could be gone. I blamed God. I questioned myself. I questioned God. But on one autumn day when the skies seemed to finally clear and the fog in my mind lifted, I realized that the chaos I felt in my heart was so complex and so visceral because matters of life and death are never simple. Recall the Big Bang theory – the origin of the Cosmos – An unknown phenomenon sparked the imbalance that allowed for the possibility of life on earth. For years, this mystery has spun scientific and philosophical debates on the ultimate paradox of life – from nothing came everything. The fallacy in my thinking was in attempting to find an explanation for why I lost a loved one. Recovering from grief has shown me that there is no real truth in paradox. Sure, our lives seem governed by them – life and death, night and day, and good and evil – but the real truth of paradoxes is not that they lie at polar opposites, but that they rotate in a seemingly endless cycle of rebirth, seasons and cause and effect – A Mandala…. The truth of life and death for me was that I hurt so badly because I lost a love, but love was the very thing that was going to heal me. Love could make me suffer and soar all in a cycle of loss and gain and immense sadness and joy.
In all this confusion, one thing is certain – circular patterns, not paradoxes, describe and govern our Universe. Love is one of life’s ultimate circular bonds because we are born to love and we return to love when we die. Love can cause us life’s greatest joy and also life’s greatest sorrow. It is our blue skies and also our heart’s most tumultuous storm. Most importantly, love is what will ultimately heal us as we process loss. We will find comfort in our memories of love and of the love we lost. We will find support in the love of those we reach out to. We will find inspiration in the love we have for those still with us. We will honor lost love by loving ourselves and our life enough to let go of attachments that cloud our vision with pain and suffering.
Find love in your memories –not pain.
Celebrate your lost love by celebrating the family you still have – hug them and love them!
Remember that anxiety is only a cloud obscuring the sun which is your True Nature…
Be steadfast, strong and love what you still have. Have faith that love will conquer and fill your heart with energy, light and bliss again – it has to – it is a unwritten law of the Universe!
John C. Bader