What do you feel when a loved one dies?
What do you feel when you experience a broken heart?
What would you experience if you are told that you only have a month to live?
Most of us will perceive those experiences as a hardship, something that shouldn’t happen to us, but yet it does.
Psychologists have come up with stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
Observe in yourself how grief transforms into anger and how that in turn will transform into sadness, depression and finally into acceptance.
Nevertheless, for most that final stage of acceptance is not “true” acceptance. It is more accurate to call it to be submissive.
The angry tiger becomes a docile kitty cat.
We could fight, struggle with anyone except with Life itself.
Observe how the experience of opposite emotions will be going through the experience of the “cycle” of grief: I could deny, just to accept. I could feel anger, just to be submissive. I could bargain with the higher powers to be, rationalizing the incident; just to be depressed.
Acceptance is not submissiveness.
Acceptance is openness to the experience.
When you are a “Life walker,” a seeker; you may find out that those 5 stages of grief are not accurate in your case.
There is one important stage, which will return a true smile in our faces.
That final stage is called GRATITUDE.
Gratitude is not say “Thank you” as many think. Gratitude means to be able to be fulfilled in yourself. Nothing is lacking. You are at ease and able to live with you.
“You” are Life itself, complete. Nevertheless, most “normal” people cannot experience that yet. For them gratitude is just another “spiritual keyword,” a nice way to say “thank you,” with the mind.
If a loved one passes away, your stage of grief will be fully transformed through “spiritual alchemy,” when there is a sense of gratitude in you. A loved one is gone into another journey. You are not lacking. That sense of grief was shown to you through that event. You are grief. Nothing wrong with that. However, you can transform it, that is; use the same energy to come up with something else: Acceptance, Gratitude.
When we are not aware of transformation of energies, we will only repress them to try to act tough, quasi-spiritual, disconnected, disinterested, etc.
Many individuals will experience grief, express it and keep it for as long as they can. They thrive in getting pity from others. It is a way for them to feel important as people may finally notice them. Others, may reject grief as they have been conditioned to believe that they have to show a happy face all the time.
Very few will transform it, and yet even fewer; will feel GRATITUDE out of that experience. Ultimately, there is FREEDOM in GRATITUDE.
A trauma or fear of Life comes when we have not reached a state of true acceptance, when we are continuously struggling with Life.
Our conditioning that we should fight for everything may work in the “office world,” but it will never work with Life.
The mind is our inner TV. It has so many images. Most times we believe in those images as “real” and add our own expectations, our own story of how life should be for “me.” When a setback is felt and grief comes in the horizon, that TV show will be the same repeat which in turn will bring more suffering to the ego, the “I.”
Why is that suffering?
Because my expectation of what Life should be for “me” does not fit reality. Ego cannot accept that. The repetition of the images is there so we don’t forget. It is a nagging reminder.
Anger, denial, etc. are expressions of the fighting ego.
EGO cannot have GRATITUDE, for ego always wants something else. Ego is in a state of lacking fulfillment.
That is why it is said that “time heals.” For the ego will look for something else in time to cover the previous trauma.
Self-observation is an invaluable tool for self-knowledge. For that to happen, we need to allow ourselves to feel the full range of an emotional experience. Life is always teaching us, showing us, who we truly are.
Until December 1st! Enjoy Life. 🙂
Tammy had a beautiful daughter, Brandy who was completing her second year of college. Tammy made all sorts of efforts to give Brandy the opportunity to go to college.
Brandy was a happy-go-lucky person. She had many friends due to her prompt smile, beauty and friendly attitude. Her future was bright. For Thanksgiving, Brandy traveled with her boyfriend, Fred to visit his relatives in Canada. They were driving at night through the mountains near a lake. It was freezing cold.
Another car driver hit the couple, and their car effortlessly slipped through the icy mountain into the frozen water. Brandy and Fred met their death there. No one knows what happened with the hit and run car.
When Tammy knew about this, she was devastated. Tammy was angry. She had so much anger towards that person who hit her daughter’s car, but she couldn’t make a picture in her mind of that person; so her anger went towards God, towards life and towards every hit and run driver who was caught.
Psychologists could describe Tammy’s experience as being “normal,” under the circumstances. As a matter of fact; there is a “5 stage mourning process” which is usually described as: 1. Denial and isolation, 2. Anger, 2. Bargaining, 4. Depression and 5. Acceptance.
Tammy started the process in anger and hopefully, she will be able to reach acceptance at one point in her life.
In spirituality, acceptance is the first and only step. Acceptance is something to be aware of and thus, practice every day at every moment.
I could share many beliefs as to why we need to accept things as they are; but a belief will not help if we face a life experience similar to Tammy’s.
Whether we believe in predestination or in bad luck or karma or in the “will of God,” all of those things will not change the most important item in this experience; that is how much this is affecting me.
Life is a gift. Acceptance of situations means to accept the gift. Any rejection means to reject life and thus, to slowly die.
The strength to accept a moment of grief is not gained after living a “normal” life of wanting and getting things “my way.” A life of “fight” to get things done. It is a slow process of acceptance, to let things be, to allow things to happen and to continue smiling for the gift of life is not something to possess, but something to enjoy and share.
The flower blossoms and then dies. Timing among flowers will be different. That is life. If I am appreciating that gift of life, there is no space for attachment to a particular flower. If I am attached, then there cannot be appreciation.
The butterfly is meant to fly. It comes and it goes. It has the freedom of life. If I close my hand to keep that butterfly with me; its freedom will not be acknowledged.
The 5 stages of loss and grief are nothing else but to learn to open that silly grip towards life, to learn to open our clenched fingers little by little: first is denial then anger, then depression, etc. until the open hand is seen and truly enjoyed. That is acceptance. The hand is now ready to feel and to let go. Ready to appreciate the gift of life.