“Grief is the price we pay for love.”
Because we do grieve much more over those we love, than those we either didn’t know so well, or didn’t know at all.
Our hearts can be touched and we can be affected by the deaths of those in another country, but that is not the same as the grief that is felt when a close family member dies, or a close friend.
However, there are two other kinds of love available.
They made themselves known in my recent talk to people in St Bride’s Church, Liverpool, England (the recording will be posted as soon as it is ready).
The first is intangible. I introduced the audience to The Voice, the one that goes on inside their heads; the one that says ‘What voice? What’s she talking about?’ Or ‘oh yeah, I know that voice, I wish it would shut up, particularly when I try to meditate’).
This Voice always has an opinion about everything.
It argues both sides very skilfully, being right one minute, and then saying something completely different and still being right!
Lots of heads nodded when I mentioned this. It is a constant companion, part of being a human in a body, and entirely normal.
However, this Voice is not who you are.
It seems like it is. It sounds like it is. (It’s no-one else’s voice after all, is it?) But what I discovered as a direct result of my husband dying is that
we are much more than thoughts going around in our head.
I discovered this because when I saw his dead body on the hospital bed, what I saw was an empty bag. He was not in there any longer.
Sometime later, I pondered ‘well, if that was an empty bag, what is this, my own body? It’s a bag too, but it’s filled with something.What is it filled with?’
(That became my major question in the couple of years after he died, by the way, and if you’re intrigued, you can read about that journey in Gifted By Grief).
What I discovered was that there is something much more that is behind The Voice, or beyond it. It’s something that doesn’t feel anything, either ‘good’ or ‘bad’. It doesn’t have thoughts. It just IS.
If I were to put words to describe it they would be words such as peace, stillness, quiet, love. You do need to have a body to know what I’m talking about here, so it’s not like The Voice or a body is bad, and this other thing is ‘good’. It’s just that we limit ourselves if we think we are only a body, with a mind and The Voice, and all the other attributes that make up being human.
And that’s where the love comes in –
even in the most terrible state of grief, this love that is behind and beyond never wavers, never goes away, is not identified with anyone or anything, it just IS.
(Sometimes people call that divine energy, or chi, or God, Allah or the Universe – the name doesn’t matter).
It can most usually only be experienced when you’re quiet (but not always). For instance, I asked the audience to stand up, noting that where they were standing was who they are when they are being a body, with a Voice.
Then I asked them to take a step to one side. This moving of position was emphasising that when we move position, when we change our perspective, we can drop down into this other place – or at least get a taste of it.
And then there’s another kind of love that goes along with grief too,
and it’s a much more practical one. Because even if who we really are IS much deeper than The Voice, we live in a material world (or so it appears, even when we know intellectually that everything is just made up of matter and energy). This means that
when a body dies, there is something left behind that needs to be taken care of.
Just like recycling really. When we crack an egg open for our breakfast and cook it, we’re left with a shell that needs to be got rid of. Ideally, we compost it and it returns to the ground. It’s the same with a body – when it is no longer inhabited, it needs to be taken care of properly.
And that’s where love comes in again
because it is one of the greatest and most unselfish acts of love to take care of your own end of life matters before you need to.
Because when you really need to, it may very well be too late.
So I invite you this week to do two things:
a) stand up. Close your eyes and notice this is who you are – a human being fulfilling a role of some kind (parent, sister, friend, office worker, manager, whatever). Notice your thoughts and feelings about it.
b) now just step to one side, and deliberately inhabit a different place. This place is where, with your eyes closed, you go a little deeper. This place is where you go beneath the thoughts, below the Voice, do a place of peace. Give it a go and see what happens!
Take the short Before I Go quiz here and discover just some of what you may want to take care of before you pop your clogs.
And then post below and let me know what happened, with both these things!