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Grief

Glossary of Spiritual Wisdom

Quotes about Grief

A Heartfelt, Immediate Realization of a Fundamental Truth of the Individual Soul

The understanding of detachment, and recognition of the things I am attached to, are deepening into the realization that I have to let go of even subtler and more basic things. The understanding is making it imperative for me to let go of things I have never thought one can let go of. The letting go has to be total. I need to let go of practically everything: a state, a station, fruit of work, contribution, position, recognition, everything. With this realization I begin to be aware of a deep, deep sadness and grief. The depth of the sadness feels infinite, an endless dark ocean of tears. This letting go allows me to see that I must let go of everything because none of it is mine. I, as the individual consciousness, own nothing, have nothing, am nothing. I feel so empty, so impoverished, so lacking that I cannot claim to possess anything, not even existence. This is not a state of ego deficiency or self-devaluation, and there is no sense of self-pity in it. It is a heartfelt, immediate realization of a fundamental truth of the individual soul. It is the recognition of the objective situation: the individual self owes everything to Being, for Being is the true source of everything. It is Being that possesses existence, reality, intelligence, qualities, capacities, and so on. I, the individual self, have these available to me only when I am open to Being. On my own, I am absolutely indigent, totally helpless, completely hopeless, thoroughly inadequate. I am nothing but a limp, empty bag. The sadness deepens, and the tears feel like a dark, cleansing, torrential rain. I am not sad because I must let go of everything that has been dear to me. I am not grieving because I recognize all this does not belong to me, that I am ultimately poor. No, I am sad now about recognizing I have lived a lie, that I have usurped what does not belong to me. The sadness is for the hurt of recognizing that by believing such a lie I have cut myself off from Being, my source and nature. I have estranged myself, throughout most of my life, from the source of all meaning and nourishment, with the ego-pride that I have, that I possess, that I do, that I accomplish, that I exist. What a lie, and what a shame! I am sad, but also willing to accept the truth of my situation. I embrace my total emptiness. I welcome my complete, fundamental poverty. I have nothing. I do nothing. I am nothing. 

Allowing Loss and the Attendant Feelings of Grief and Longing We Might Discover and Reconnect to the Quality of Being that the Emotion was Cloaking

As you have experienced in opening to this teaching, strength and aliveness arise within anger; tenderness and gentleness are awakened through sadness, and so on. Being in a field of spiritual inquiry, you can open to new levels of experience with only a small amount of encouragement and guidance. Approaching your experience in a different way than usual—by suspending your ideas and beliefs—opens up new potentials. And through understanding what the emotional charge was about and staying with it, you can see how it deepens your experience and releases the energy that was held inside the emotions. Ideas, history, associations, and beliefs will all arise, but if we stay present and allow ourselves to continue to question and discriminate what is happening in the moment, then the content of what we are hurt by, feeling angry about, or disappointed in becomes clarified. Through understanding, we distill consciousness, in a sense, and are left with a purity, presence, energy. Sometimes we may recognize the loss of our connection to our nature, which can arise as a feeling of emptiness or of something lacking. In allowing this loss and the attendant feelings of grief and longing, we might discover and reconnect to the quality of Being that the emotion was cloaking, along with the liberated energetic dynamism of our aliveness. The charge in our emotional experience is part of that thread of aliveness. Distortion of our true aliveness becomes emotional energy. If you clarify that emotion and you feel the energy of it, it becomes an energetic propulsion that drives you deeper into the real. This is the tantric way—don’t express, don’t suppress, just be with it. We are saying neither yes nor no to it; we are simply interested in understanding our experience: What is it? What does it mean? We want to discern the meaning and penetrate to the very last detail. As we discern and understand, the unshackled energy allows the process to unfold and take new forms.  

Aloneness that Brings Very Deep Grief and Sadness

To be completely you means being alone. When this is experienced, it will bring very deep grief and sadness. You have to learn to say good-bye to everything you have loved—not just your Mommy and Daddy, your boyfriend and your cat, but to your feelings, your mind, your ideas. You are in love with all of these. Letting go of them will feel like a great loss, even a death. It is not you who dies. What dies is everyone else. In the experience of ego death, you don’t feel you are dying; you feel everybody else is dead. You feel you’re all alone, totally alone. You have lost a boundary which was constructed from past experiences. But this boundary never really existed! It was just a belief. When you experience reality as it is, there is no sense of boundaries or of being separate, of inside or outside. These are concepts you learned at a very early age in order to protect yourself. As a six-month old baby, when you felt some negativity, or discomfort, you pushed the bad feelings outside so that you wouldn’t feel overwhelmed. That was the original need for the separateness. When there is no mind, you are not thinking, not conceptualizing, not remembering. When you are in the now, there is no feeling of a you separate from something else. There is no sense in the first place that there is a me. There is One. 

Barriers that Stand in the Way of Contacting and Realizing Who We Really Are

This points to the reason why our own inquiry encounters many personal resistances: It is when we want to explore ourselves in an intimate and meaningful way that we are confronted with the whole range of personal resistances—fear, pain, grief, resentment, hatred, hopelessness, deficiency, as well as long-held beliefs, attitudes, and positions—that stand in the way of contacting and realizing who we truly are. These are the barriers that we believe are integral to who we are, and therefore they keep us stuck in familiar and limited experiences of self. But they are integral only to our personality, our historical self. To be truly personal is to be open and available to contacting our immediate experience as it is now and not according to past beliefs. To work through any one of these resistances affects us more personally than reading a thousand books on genetic engineering or fishing, because it will affect our ability to contact our life. We investigate our hearts, our minds, and our souls in the journey of inquiry in order to understand ourselves and the reality we live in. So we’re not just learning inquiry, we are learning personal inquiry, even though some of the principles also apply to inquiry in general. For inquiry to invite the Diamond Guidance in the way we have been discussing, that inquiry has to be into our own personal experience. 

Emptiness that Becomes a Vast Black Ocean of Tears

This is the beginning of tasting the absolute depth of her Being, although the encounter is still limited. She still needs to understand and let go of the subtle vestiges of representations. This transpires in many ways. One of the most significant ways is to follow the narcissistic emptiness related to the approaching depth of Being. The student feels empty and impoverished. If she manages not to reject, judge, or react to this emptiness, she begins to realize how impoverished she actually is. She feels devoid of significance or value, of Essence or substance; she feels that she has only attachments. She begins to feel that she has to let go of everything because she does not possess anything. She has to let go of her attachment to relationships, pleasure, comfort, security, knowledge, Essence, realization, enlightenment, ego, self, suffering, and so on. Holding on to any of these attachments simply means resisting awareness of the poverty of the denuded shell of the self. She realizes she needs to let go of having—or let go of the belief that she has—a position, a place, recognition, fruit of work, accomplishment, contribution, knowledge, even state or development. She needs to let go of everything if she is not going to spend the rest of her life fighting the emptiness of her shell. This activates deep grief, very deep sadness and tears. The emptiness becomes a vast black ocean of tears. The student realizes that in identifying with the ego-self she truly has nothing, for everything comes from Being. As the ego-self, she is fundamentally poor, totally indigent, devoid of all possessions and qualities. This state is very profound; by this point, too, the student is coming to the insight that this is the intrinsic condition of the ego-self, and is not particular only to her personal situation.  The state has a sense of having nothing, feeling nothing, being nothing, and perceiving nothing.  

Grief About the Self’s Loss of Contact with the Depths of Its Being

At this level the shell tends to dissolve by turning into hot tears, initially because of the depth of grief of losing the self and its possessions; but ultimately the grief is about the self’s loss of contact with the depths of its Being. The dissolution into tears typically manifests as a disappearing, sometimes with intensity and passion. The passion is a deep love for the state of cessation, which turns out to be for the absolute depth of Being. The passionate intensity is sometimes due to the dissolving action of this depth of Being. The dissolution might be experienced as a passionate annihilation of the self by the powerful love of Being, as self and Being connect in a passionate love towards each other. More accurately, we frequently experience the closing of distance and the dissolution of duality between self and Being as the gravitational pull of a passionate, ecstatic love, that annihilates the self into the depth of Being, evoking the analogy of lover and beloved. 

Hurt that Reveals an Emotional Wound of Staggering Depth and Profundity

The process of working through narcissism reveals the vulnerability of the student’s identity. As she consciously or unconsciously realizes her vulnerability, she tries to resort to the mirror transference in the attempt to preserve the cohesion and integrity of her familiar sense of self. In this phase, any disturbance of the mirror transference, or any indication of the loss of narcissistic supplies in any part of her life, will disturb the narcissistic equilibrium. The shell will be exposed and its very integrity will be threatened. The awareness that the integrity of her sense of self is threatened may appear first as a vague feeling of dread. She may feel a general inexplicable anxiety. She may find herself preoccupied with catastrophic fantasies of being injured or harmed, even of fatal accidents. There is usually no rationale in her daily life for such feelings and thoughts, so she tends to dismiss them. She may become concerned about falling ill, and her fantasy might carry her to imagine extremes of illness and destruction with no apparent physical cause. She may start having nightmares about injury, illness, and death. Only an in-depth inquiry into these manifestations can reveal the underlying reasons for this existential dread. Then she can connect it to her work on narcissism; the loss of narcissistic supplies is threatening her in a much deeper and more fundamental way than she believed possible. Some students never clearly discriminate this feeling of dread because it is so vague and apparently unwarranted. In all cases, the consequences of the loss of narcissistic supplies are revealed more in specific object relations. When the student feels not seen or appreciated, not admired or treated in a special way by a particular important person in her life, she will experience the effect of the loss of mirroring on her sense of self. The first feeling is usually a sense of hurt, insult, betrayal, or loss. She is very sensitive at this point. The slightest indication of not being seen will evoke deep pain, intolerable anguish, endless tears about a bottomless grief. When investigated, rather than reacted to, this hurt reveals an emotional wound of staggering depth and profundity. It is difficult to tolerate at first, and she will tend to fight it off, to react to it and out of it. However, the presence of empathy and understanding, and especially the presence of kindness and compassion, make it possible for her to tolerate the hurt and thus feel it more directly and fully. 

Presence Can be Sensed at Times of Intense and Deep Emotion

Presence also can be sensed at times of intense and deep emotion, when a person is fully feeling an emotional state, not controlling or inhibiting it, when he is involved wholeheartedly in the feeling, totally immersed in it in a free and spontaneous way without judgment or holding back. This usually happens only when the person feels totally justified in feeling the emotions. For example, an individual might experience a great loss, like the death of a loved one, and so feels justified in feeling the grief and the sadness. He might get so involved in the sadness, so immersed in it, that the feeling deepens as if it were miles deep, going to greater depths and profundity. This state might become so deep and profound that it feels thicker and denser as he gets more deeply immersed in it, so deep and profound that he experiences himself permeated by a kind of presence. It is as if the profundity and the depth are an actual presence, palpable and quite clearly there. 

Sadness and Grief in Coming to Terms with Death

I have been thinking about death for years now, aware of its presence and contemplating its truth. I have wondered, with an innocent mind, what death means, what it might feel like, and how I feel about it. This contemplation and inquiry have intensified recently because of some health problems that have made me more aware of the vulnerability of the physical body. The sadness, in conjunction with the intimate depth of the absolute, makes it clear now that there is something about death I have not come to terms with. It is not fear,not pain, not fear of the unknown. It is not a concern about the death of the self, or about the cessation of consciousness. I have experienced these forms of death, but these experiences have not completely fulfilled my contemplation of death. A question still remains, along with a deep, teary sadness. The black nous glimmers now with a radiant pearly sheen, as it throbs at the location of the forehead. The realization arises that the sadness is about a certain kind of aloneness, different from the sorts of aloneness I have known. There is a concern, almost a fear, but this fear is not about being totally alone. It is not exactly the state of aloneness that I feel sad about. It is rather the recognition that physical death will mean leaving my life, leaving all that I cherish in this life. Understanding fills the consciousness: Death is the loss of personal life. This loss has implications I have never fully come to terms with. Death is no longer living this particular present life. It is my particular, present life that I will leave, and not only life in general. This is not a philosophical question; it is a completely personal concern. The sadness is the grief about recognizing that I cannot remain with what I love. When physical death arrives, I will lose contact with all that I have come to love in this world. Death will be the end of contact with family, friends, students, places, things, activities, work; everything and everyone I love and cherish. I will no longer experience the everyday simple things of life; sleeping, eating, showering, making love, conversation, the sky, the mountains, the grass, the birds, colors and flavors, and so on. 

The More We Drop Our Attachments and Abandon Our Inner Idols, the More We are Filled with Grief and Loss

The more we drop our attachments and abandon our inner idols, the more we are filled with grief and loss and sadness. The whole universe will turn into an ocean of tears. As our heart empties itself of its idols, it sacrifices too its yearning and its longing, and even its love. You don’t feel you long anymore. You don’t even feel that you love anymore. There remains only the direct condition of being consumed by an ocean of hot tears. This is some taste of nearness of the Guest, but we experience it for a long time as the grief over the loss of all the things we are shedding and sacrificing. We willingly sacrifice everything, but we cannot help but feel such deep sadness and tears. However, this again is another story the mind tells us, trying to explain something it does not and cannot comprehend. The mind cannot see that it is the Secret drawing nearer and beginning to melt us, to dissolve us. We can say that it is the heart passionately longing for and loving the Secret. But we can also say it is the Secret touching you, completely and passionately burning you up. For a long time you do your work from the outside, by seeing the distractions and letting them go. As that happens, it is as if the Secret, as if the Guest, is coming closer. The nearness of the Secret is not like the closeness of any other lover you’ve ever experienced. The Secret will burn you up from within, will incinerate you. It will boil you to total evaporation through passionate heat. This Secret, the ultimate Beloved, is not like any other lover. It will not appear in the heart, it will not come to its abode, as long as there is anyone else there. As long as you have another lover, it won’t arrive. The true Beloved is the most jealous of all lovers; it is absolutely possessive. It either has you completely or it will not even bother to show up. 

The Wound of the Separation from Oneness

As you consider this perception of oneness, you will see that in a very deep place in you, in the deepest part of your heart, there is a very deep grief, the deepest wound, the wound of the separation from oneness. And there is longing in our hearts, the deepest longing, the deepest yearning. The most powerful desire we have, in the deepest part of our hearts, is the longing to cease as a separate individual; to be united, to see that there is really only one because it is our ultimate nature. If it is cut off from our perception, there has to be a sense of loss, a deep, gaping wound that does not heal, and there inevitably arises an immense longing a very deep ache, so that no matter what you experience or feel, there is dissatisfaction and discontent. Your heart does not allow itself to be completely happy because this oneness is what your heart ultimately wants, and everything else it wants is just a little reflection of this. You might think your heart wants this and that, and it is all true, but these all are superficial wants. What will make your heart dance in happiness is this perception of oneness, your direct knowledge of the unity of yourself and everything in one nature. 

When Moving to the Simplicity of Pure Being Means to the Soul that She is Leaving the World

The transition also seems to mean the loss of heart, the loss of the soul’s capacity to love and to feel loved, the capacity to feel and respond. This can make her feel that she is losing her humanity, that she will end up being an unemotional thing that she associates with deadness, the lack of fun, and the absence of the warmth of human relationship. These expectations may bring fear and trepidation as well as guilt and self-recrimination. The soul feels that she is now heartless, uncaring and unloving, lacking human warmth and compassion. Her essential development has brought her to the realization of the full and beautiful qualities of essence, culminating in the boundless richness of divine love. Pure being is a higher dimension, but she may sense only that it is the loss of essence and divine love. She views transcendence as loss, and responds with many reactions and conflicts. At a deeper level of significance, moving to the simplicity of pure being means to her that she is leaving the world, for the world is a universe of colors and qualities, differentiations and discriminated forms. She feels she is leaving the manifest world, which means both a loss and an abandonment. So she may feel grief and wounding, and/or guilt and self-recrimination. Psychodynamically, leaving the world is equivalent to leaving her mother, for mother is the original object, the original world. Many childhood issues tend to arise in this context, especially issues of separation, rapprochement, inadequacy, and loss of merging. 

Whenever the Dynamism of Being Unfolds her Experience to Another Dimension of Being, the Soul Always Feels that She is Going to Lose Whatever She Has Realized

The soul feels any sense of movement away from total intimacy with the absolute mystery to be an intolerable loss. However, regardless of her resistance and protest, it finally dawns on her that she cannot stay where she is, and that it is not up to her personal choice. At some point she recognizes that her unfoldment is taking her to a place different than the transcendent absolute ipseity. She might feel the arising of a great sadness, tremendous grief. It may take her a long time before she realizes that there is no loss of the total intimacy with the absolute, that she does not have to actually leave her home to go on to these further stations. As she surrenders to the dynamism of Being, and ceases to hold on to her realization of the absolute ipseity, she recognizes and surrenders her attachment to the absolute realization. In this process she discovers that while it is true that she is on a journey of descent from the heights of transcendence, this journey is not a separation from the absolute. The descent is a descent into limitation, but it is the descent not of her individual sense of herself, but the descent of the ipseity itself. In other words, she descends into the limitations of the world not as a soul entity, but as the absolute mystery itself. Nevertheless, this process feels like separation and loss; it is more than the soul has wanted, and a journeying further when she wants to journey no more. However, she recognizes these manifestations of a sense of loss, separation, resistance, and grief, which became familiar phenomena in her journey of ascent to the absolute. Whenever the dynamism of Being unfolds her experience to another dimension of Being, the soul always feels that she is going to lose whatever she has realized. Every time her unfoldment takes her to a further dimension, she cannot but feel it as a separation from, a leaving of, and a loss of, the station at which she has stabilized. As the soul begins the journey of descent, the station she feels she has to leave is that of union with her ultimate Beloved and home, which she clearly knows as the deepest of all truths. She finally learns to surrender to the flow, mostly out of love for the absolute ipseity, for she recognizes that it is the source of all unfoldment.

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