Monday, August 29, 2011

How Real is Loss? Or Emptiness?

I have recently been having a conversation with a friend who has lost a large number of friends and family in a fairly short time. This, of course, brings up deep feelings of deprivation and sadness. As we discussed the impact of it all, I realized that even a spurt of deaths like this can serve a positive function: perhaps the soul is propelling us quickly through old ideas of sacrifice into a newer more healthy way of being, where everything and everyone is actually available if we'll just feel it—instead of telling ourselves it's gone, or that the world is empty.

I also realized that part of what's going on is that we're learning to live in a new way, in a spacious way, with MUCH greater freedom to create anything. As we become more transparent, it means giving up fixed ideas about the way we've always assumed the world works, or what death is, or how much we can be in any given lifetime. Without the fixed concepts, we first face a strange void, which can be mistaken for sadness, and our left brain can go into its comfortable cycle of feeling "wrong" or taking on the role of victim, wallowing around in what isn't. If we can embrace the openness and really BE with it, we find that the so-called Void actually starts sourcing us spontaneously, giving to us generously, providing exactly what is needed next. The only hitch is that the left brain can't know about it ahead of time, can't plan and control the flow. Here is what I wrote to my friend:

"I know that flat feeling of the open space that's left when old concepts clear out and actually don't need to be replaced by new beliefs. Getting used to living without organizing structures takes some getting used to. It's a new sort of freedom we never hoped we'd be able to have in our lifetime, and it's shocking to think it's ours. I just want to say that because people you know die, doesn't mean you are any less, or your life is any less rich. But you know this; I'm just saying it anyway. Feeling what isn't there can make you feel that you're not there. Better to feel the "departed" ARE there, and you are too. I'm sure that's what they would say to you, or are saying to you.

"Better not to look back at how you grew into who you are now and who you're becoming, with the critical eye of the left brain. Better to just be with what bubbles now. There are SO many pasts. Just one now moment. You're right that the new understanding is like a new seedling. We're all just beginning to get what it's going to be like, and as it comes clear, it's not new, but a joyful memory finding us again and becoming real. Let yourself be blank for a bit, perhaps. Don't push through. The void is the creator, the teacher, and we must have a loving relationship with it; it is the lover."

3 comments:

Ryan Bennett said...

I just had a friend who lost his Mother and there was incredible grief. Thanks Penny - this article really helped bridge the gap from uncertainty to understanding.

Anonymous said...

I am feeling anxiety about my father's illness and knowing his death is imminent. This REALLY helped me a lot!

You wrote "Void actually starts sourcing us spontaneously, giving to us generously, providing exactly what is needed next." I look forward to and I welcome what I need "next". Thank you for the reminder that this experience can be positive!!

margi sundell said...

The void is the lover? Thank you, ..yes, never thought of it that way at all. It resonates. And I feel loved... Again, my left brain can take a nap with this one. :)