A while ago I wrote an article about channelling sadness into beauty. It's about taking your grief and creating a beautiful expression from it. Now, I've come across this amazing video of a new father singing 'Blackbird' by The Beatles to his new born son.
The sad story is that his wife died in childbirth, and his son died 4 days later. I can't watch this video without crying, its so beautiful in its tragedy. Tragic events like this take us closer to the meeting point of life and death, thus making everything more profound and intense.
Life becomes a thing of fragile beauty, just like the blackbird in the song.
Grief - such a powerful process - it can seem to suck the very life out of us at times, holding us and preventing us from progressing in life or interacting productively with those around us. It is thus very understandable that we may feel badly about grieving, wishing it away. But, is grief something to be resented, or can we learn to accept it as a necessary process?
Grief Comes to us All
So, lets first begin with brief exploration of why we grieve, and then look at how we can deal with the grieving process.
Why does Grief Happen?
Grief is our natural emotional reaction to loosing something that we have identified ourselves with. What does this mean? Well, we all have an inbuilt desire to explore who we are and find purpose. The problem is that we tend to associate ourselves with how we relate to things in the outside. Thus we create identities based on who we are in relation to given objects, people and circumstances.
Why is this a problem? It means that when we lose the object of our identity (as we most certainly will at some point) the part of ourselves that was associated with that object is fragmented and very difficult to recover.
For example when we lose a job, we may have associated it with a sense of purpose, achievement, and community. When we believe that it is the job that made us feel that way, then losing the job will will also rob us of those feelings until we find something new to latch onto that will renew those feelings in ourselves.
So I ask you this question. When we grieve, what are we grieving over?
Here's a perspective...
Identifying with the Feelings
However, with this realisation comes another danger. The danger is that the feelings are simply transferred to another object, person or circumstance. It is vitally important that we realise that these feelings are coming from inside of us and not from the outside. Thus, they are always accessible.
If we come to this realisation then we can see that these objects, people and circumstances are not reponsible for our feelings, but rather outlets for our expression of those feelings. And an outlet is simply that and thus not something to hold onto. Thus if we lose that outlet we don't necessarily lose the feelings. At this point you might be thinking 'Wait a minute, isn't seeing my dearest love as simply an outlet of expressing a little bit impersonal?' Well, it has been my experience that when we are able to take responsibility for our own feelings and not project them onto others, it is only then that we are able to honour that person and really love them unconditionally.
At this point I want to stress that although we may realise this, it doesn't mean that we won't grieve. It may only determine the speed and smoothness of the grieving process itself. There will always be emotions to process. We may experience the 5 stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance, though not necessarily in that order or even sequentially. What is important is that we don't hold onto these feelings as this then creates another identity around them.
Emotions are simply our way of processing loss and recovering ourselves through it. Therefore, its not productive to hold onto them or create identities around them. For example, we may feel guilty about the impact that our grief is having on those around us, or angry about the way that the grief seems to be holding us back from progressing. But, if we realise that our emotions are not us, then they can be given the space to come through us.
And thus, when we can finally, truly, 100% accept the situation as it is there is no sense of resignation but an embracing of the moment and everything that means.
We will all experience some form of loss of identity in our lives, particularly in old age or terminal illness. We may have identified with certain roles for most of our lives, but these roles can all be taken away in a single moment. So how do we come to terms with and recover from this loss? How do we go beyond these identities and find the essence of who we are?
Identifying with Roles
All these things can be the cornerstones of our personal identity, yet they can be taken away in a heartbeat. Injuries and illnesses that leave us bed ridden and unable to go to work, do our hobbies or socialise with friends and family. Or the degeneration of the mind that comes with old age, terminal illness or Alzheimers disease.
Let's first explore where these identities come from before we look at how to work with them.
Why do we become identified?
Let's be clear - we are not born with these identities (although one could argue that there may be a certain amount of predisposition due to genetics or karma). Babies enter this world unable to distinguish themselves from their mothers. Their senses are not separate and there is no sense of identity with anything relativistic (that is when we can say 'this is me in comparison to that').
As we grow, we are able to distinguish ourselves from our environment, getting to know our bodies, emotions and minds, knowing what we like and don't like, and finding our place within our families and the outer world. Neural pathways are formed in the brain, which provide a map of how we see the world. Thus we begin to identify ourselves with these specific and yet very changeable life circumstances.
And that is just the issue. We identify ourselves with things that are ever changing. In a universe of form, change is the only constant. However, if we are able to step away from identifying ourselves with the form, we are able to see that there are certain aspects of ourselves that stay relatively unchanging.
Finding our Essence (Source Energy)
Going Deeper - Traits of the Soul
These are certain ways of being that:
Here are some of the traits you may notice with these characteristics:
A Final Thought on Grief
We are of course emotional beings. Even if we are not identified with the emotions that we have, it is still important to let them arise and especially to express them. That way they are not held on to.
Grief is a natural way for us to process all the pent up energy that is caused by identifying with something outside of ourselves. See the follow-up article Understanding Grief to explore further.
The Big Picture
I’m not here to say that there is one big picture perspective that is ‘the truth’. No. The big picture is simply your unique perspective after weighing up as much of the information as possible and, here’s the key, finding a connection between it all. Can you see the underlying pattern behind our global events? What’s really going on?
Of course, seeing the big picture is heavily influenced by our social, cultural and spiritual viewpoints. A white American Atheist is highly likely (but not necessarily) going to see a different big picture perspective to, let’s say a Buddhist monk from India. It’s not important whose perspective is correct. As individual ‘truths’ they hold equal weight. So, what’s your individual big picture perspective? Remember, it is YOUR individual perspective and thus carries equal weight, no more, no less, to others, no matter how misinformed they appear to be.
And never be afraid to stop there. Keep expanding your perspective by asking questions. It is simply your current map of reality, which is affected by your background, experiences and knowledge, and thus should not be clung to – this would likely be an attempt to fix and stabilise our reality. But reality is not like that – it is a fluid entity, ever changing from moment to moment – thus your map of reality can reflect this as much as possible.
The relationship between the Macrocosm and the Microcosm
We see this everywhere: nature, geometry, climate, our bodies, political and economic systems. The macrocosm and the microcosm are reflections of each other. Our actions send ripples into the world around us, which then get reflected back to us. Many people are shocked by the recent election of Donald Trump in America. But, he is a very interesting reflection of two opposing perspectives. Firstly, the consumptive, exploitative, selfishness that has plagued the human race for generations which is finally no longer being swept under the carpet, and secondly the realisation that our current political system just doesn’t work – a desire for change. (For a more detailed explanation of microcosm and macrocosm see this article at New World Encyclopedia.
So, how does this apply to our big and small pictures? Our big picture (macrocosm) is also a reflection of our little picture (microcosm). The question is, how can we work with the microcosm (ourselves) in order to positively influence the macrocosm?
The Little Picture
Do you want to curl up into a ball when you here about all the atrocities happening around the world right now? I know I do. There’s a definite pull to make myself a nice hot mug of Coco and lose myself in a fantasy novel. But, this would be denying my feelings, which want to express themselves. By denying your feelings (the microcosm/small picture) you are simultaneously denying the macrocosm/big picture. You are searching for a way to placate the feelings by reminding yourself of warmer, lighter parts of you. But, this is not how true healing takes place.
Here's a fantastic article on 'spiritual bypassing', which means when we use spirituality to ignore our shadow side, only focusing on 'love and light'. Whether spiritual or not, we have all experienced this at some point.
In order for true healing to take place in these times, one has to confront all the tightness and stress that comes up and move through it. By doing so we attain those coveted feelings of equilibrium, not by pretending that the other feelings are not there, but by finding ourselves within them. This is true alchemy.
So, how might we do this?
Honour the feelings and find the 'real you' within them
It’s of paramount importance that we honour our feelings, no matter how uncomfortable they might be, and that means that we find a way to express them. By doing this we are integrating all parts of ourselves and thus becoming whole. I was blown away by the recent campaign to raise awareness of male suicide in the UK. It can be difficult for men to cry.
Here’s the video.
After we’ve honoured the feelings by expressing them, we can work with ourselves in order to integrate them again into a more equilibrated version of ourselves. Thus, we can ask, what is this event reflecting to me? For example me way witness the apparent rise of racial hatred across the world (finally the outer world is reflecting what was always there in so many individuals – it is just no longer hidden). This can makes us feel angry, resentful and afraid. So, we express those feelings by shouting, crying, writing, singing, curling up into a ball – whatever is right for us as individuals (of course we must take care to do this in a way that doesn’t project on or harm others). But, then we can look at what this is really telling us about ourselves. What it’s telling us is that we care. We have compassion and we want to see the compassion that we feel reflected in the world. Well then, what are we waiting for? The only way this is going to happen is if we express that compassion. Thus we show those who are reacting out of fear that there is another way.
Putting the big picture and the small picture together
To varying degrees we all have the ability to work with the big picture and the small picture within ourselves. Some may see the big picture more clearly than others. Others may be more in tune with and better at expressing their feelings. We can call the ability to see the big picture and thus challenge the small picture as our catalyctic side, and we can see the ability to tune into global and individual feelings and express them as our empathic side. The challenge is first to aware of your overall configuration. Some may be stronger in one then the other. Second, it’s to establish a relationship between the two so that they may work together.
To do this we simply need to get to know ourselves. Fell what wants to come through in any given moment. Do you feel to express a bigger picture perspective or do you feel that the smaller picture wants to come through. Don’t deny either if it wants to come. You will hopefully have a sense that it is the right expression in that moment.
What will you do the next time you hear or read about something that shakes you to your core? Or, more to the point, how will you feel to be?
Tina Malia's song 'Shores of Avalon' has captured the hearts of many in the spiritual community. Not only is it a lovely song, beautifully sung, but the lyrics can bring deep feelings up to the surface to be processed. Even when that doesn't happen it invokes states of peace.
I'm going to get a little esoteric on you guys now - bare with me. Where do these feelings come from? They can seem almost like a memory of a state of being once embraced. Many people find themselves yearning for the place describe in this song. What the song evokes (from my perspective) is distant memories, like whispers in my consciousness, so subtle yet so powerful. They are both memories of death experience - what happens in the dying process and afterwards, and also a yearning for the '5th Density'. It makes me feel melancholic remembering a state of being that once was, and now seems in some ways far away. It is not a particularly sad melancholy though as I am able to touch this place inside and can access it in daily life, if not all the time.
Before we explore the song in more depth, let me just give a brief overview of what I mean by the 5th density. We all inhabit each of the 11 densities of existence simultaneously, although we will have our centre of consciousness in one of these densities (for those interested in scientific parallels see M-Theory). The first 5 are physical, emotional, lower mind, karmic, and higher mind (5th). The 5th density is a place of co-creation in harmony with all sentient life. When we die, we are often held in the 4th density (karma) until the law of attraction causes us to reincarnate, or if we have processed enough of our karma and spending a longer period between lifetimes, we may 'hang out' in the 5th density. If we are to move through the 4th density and centre ourselves in the 5th, we need to process all of our karma. For more on the 5th density and how we can experience it in everyday life, please see Openhand's article: Path between Worlds: Ascending into the Fifth Density
Shores of Avalon: what does it mean?
So, lets look at the lyrics so that I can explain what I mean - perhaps the song will activate something in you too!
So, I have given you my interpretation. The song has done wonders for me, and she has a wonderful voice which carries you through all the feelings that might come up.
Here's the song. I wonder what your experiences are from this song. Try not to analyse, at least not to straight away. It's best to let the feelings come through first to be processed. And if no deep feelings come up right now then that's fine too. You can simply bask in the peace that comes from listening.
I'd love to hear from you - your thoughts/feelings about the song, anything that comes up for you, or your own interpretation.
From my heart to yours,
Letting go – it seems to be one of those phrases that gets used a lot, especially in spiritual/meditation circles. But it seems to have so many different meanings; people shout “let it go!” in an attempt to end an uncomfortable confrontation; ‘letting go of negative energy’ in meditation; ‘letting go’ of possessions; and of course many of us know about the ‘Frozen’ movie in which ‘letting go’ is used to describe pent-up expression.
I was asked recently, “What do you carry in your rucksack?” What a great question. It really got me thinking about all the ‘stuff’ I carry with me as I go about my daily business; family relationships, money, career aspirations, all featured to varying degrees. But what does 'letting go' have to do with this?
Letting go is not the same as denial
So, with the realisation that ‘letting go’ means something unique to each individual in each unique situation, let me give my perspective. This is what it means to me.
Letting go is not the same as 'release'
Letting go is a natural process
So, finally, what is ‘letting go’? Or more to the point, when might ‘letting go’ happen? You see ‘letting go’ is not simply something that you do! It’s not something you can do. ‘Letting go’ happens naturally when a person realises that the particular behaviour/object/person/attachment no longer serves their highest good. This realisation occurs naturally through awareness and inquiry.
The process may go something like this:
'Frozen' - movie example
Yes, as much as it pains me (my daughter subjected me to hours of this movie) Disney's 'Frozen' is a great example to illustrate my point.
The film progresses and Elsa realises that her strong fear of hurting people with her powers has a root in the feeling of love. She realises that this is her higher truth. She naturally and effortlessly lets go of her fear and is able to live in the world once more through expressing her gifts in an aligned way.
So, letting go, to me, is really not a ‘doing’ so much as something that just happens naturally through allowing the feelings to be there until they no longer serve a purpose for you.
With love - Richard
If you would like help with processing energy and/or letting go then please book a session.
My name is Richard. I love to write, and here you can find my general musings, observations and articles. Enjoy!
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