Advertisement

Mindfulness Matters

Mindfulness Matters

Grief is the Admission Price to the Present Moment

AA023316I am back from teaching Mindfulness A-Z: Liberating Regret, Stuckness, and Perfectionism at the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health. One insight that arose during the week was that “grief is the admission price to the present moment.” We are often stuck because we are not ready to move through the strong emotion of grief. We procrastinate, distract, and delay all, perhaps, in an effort to avoid the pain of loss.

Life is a series of losses or what Mark Epstein calls the “trauma of everyday life” in his recent New York Times article and his forthcoming book. He says:

Advertisement

Trauma is not just the result of major disasters. It does not happen to only some people. An undercurrent of trauma runs through ordinary life, shot through as it is with the poignancy of impermanence. I like to say that if we are not suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, we are suffering from pre-traumatic stress disorder. There is no way to be alive without being conscious of the potential for disaster. One way or another, death (and its cousins: old age, illness, accidents, separation and loss) hangs over all of us. Nobody is immune. Our world is unstable and unpredictable, and operates, to a great degree and despite incredible scientific advancement, outside our ability to control it.

Trauma is ubiquitous. We experience it every day throughout the day. Each trauma represents a little (or big) loss. If we don’t grieve each loss, they accumulate in our emotional psyche taking up space and obstructing the flow of energy. To grieve is to accept. To accept is to pay attention with openness. We need to know what has happened before we can process it. Acceptance requires a letting go; a revision of our previous agenda. The more tightly we cling to that old agenda the more we will suffer and the more we will defer the experience of grief. It is only through grief that we can reclaim the present moment.

Advertisement

But grief is a messy affair. There are tears, sharp emotions, feelings of deprivation. All of these must be navigated for us to be whole once again. The losses we reckon with grief do not have to diminish us even though they may take significant parts of us away (the loss does that, not the grief). Our losses make us imperfect yet wholeness remains an option (because wholeness does not have to be about what we have or don’t have).

Considered in this way, grief is a liberating factor. It helps us to move through the experiences of our lives to find ourselves living brilliantly in the moment.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment maureen

    I needed to read this right now. I just had a dear friend die unexpectantly. Well said!

Previous Posts

Handling Rejection
I was recently interviewed by Brianna Steinhilber of EverUp for a piece on dealing with rejection. You can read her very thoughtful story ...

posted 6:03:05pm Feb. 09, 2016 | read full post »

Accessibility and the Precious
I had an interesting dream image last night. I was observing a fantastic display of the aurora borealis--Northern lights (or it might have ...

posted 9:14:31am Jan. 31, 2016 | read full post »

2016 Well Underway: Resolutions, Intentions, and Projects
We are well into 2016 and I've been taking something of a hiatus from social media and this blog. I've been reflecting a lot on my life and resolutions, intentions, and projects for 2016 and beyond. I'm not a big fan of resolutions. Like ...

posted 2:33:29pm Jan. 24, 2016 | read full post »

2015: The Year in Review
Greetings everyone! It's been a busy 2015 and I'd like to share with you some of the highlights and give you links to the some of the contents I produced over this year. There is lot's more to come in 2016 and I appreciate everyone's support. I ...

posted 7:53:24am Dec. 21, 2015 | read full post »

Bodhi Day 2015
In honor of Bodhi Day, I wrote a reflection on the Seven Factors of Awakening, which are based on the Four Foundations of Mindfulness. You can read about these on the main Beliefnet site. I hope this contemplation on awakening helps to move you ...

posted 9:41:04am Dec. 09, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.