As I browsed through the countless grief forums to find comfort in a sense of community, I discovered a common pattern that is hidden behind the surface mirage of alphabets we have strung together to express our grievances. Behind every re-telling of the stories of tremendous loss, there is a common unspoken false belief that is keeping us from releasing our suffering.
THE UNDERLYING FALSE BELIEF BEHIND GRIEF
Overcoming grief doesn’t mean you stop loving your deceased loved one. In fact, if you willingly answer to the call to dive into the tender embrace of your sorrow, a truer love from this abyss will blossom.
Love never dies.
Overcoming grief is a shedding of the cocoon that you have outgrown, a wiping away of the layers of dirt and debris that is covering up the perpetual flow of love from within.
Now, before you get angry with me and start throwing fireballs of fury at this blog, hear me out.
Yes, it is true that grief also never dies.
I’m not trying to undermine your reality of grief, sadness, and mourning. The loss is real. The pain is real. The heart-wrenching emptiness is real. The overwhelming sense of despair is real. The untimely and sudden urge to burst into tears is real. The acute depression is also real. It’s all real.
Although I can say for the most part that I’ve “arrived on the other side” of grief, there really is no “other side.” This is just an expression for the ease of our conceptual understanding.
The sudden overwhelming urge to cry still comes back to say “hi” occasionally. Very occasionally. But I can confidently say that I can go about daily life without the general fatigue, loneliness, and depression.
THE NEW BELIEF THAT FREED ME FROM GRIEF
As many would say: grief ebbs and flows like waves in the ocean, we just have to learn to swim. Or grief is not a destination, but a life-long journey. I’m not trying to dismiss these beliefs. But what if I told you there is another way to view grief?
What if this new perspective on grief could shorten your grieving time, and free you from guilt? Help you get back on your feet quicker? Bring you 10 steps closer to joy, peace, and liberation? And maybe even help you find your true, authentic self, your long-lost identity, as an individual woman or man, before your label as a Wife/Husband, Mother/Father, Grandmother/Grandfather was assigned to you?
The new belief that has helped me achieve all of the above in less than one year is:
Death is an illusion.
I will not elaborate on this premise in this article, because this post is about the “false belief.” But this premise will be the underlying foundation upon which every article is built on this blog.
THE ULTIMATE FALSE BELIEF TO LET GO OF
And with adopting a new belief, I also let a false belief go.
The ultimate false belief that keeps us from feeling joyful and finding peace is: that if, and when, we stop grieving and stop feeling miserable about the death of our loved one is the moment we stop loving them.
We are deeply afraid to let go of our grief because we mistakenly believe that in letting go of the grief, we would also let go of our love for them, and that we would erase the last relic that reminds us of their prior existence.
But nothing can be further from the truth.
In other words, we have somehow inextricably linked our suffering with our love for them. Know that it doesn’t have to be that way. The love can stay, but the grief goes.
But at the same time, recognize the importance to honor and embrace the mourning of losing your loved one because your grief could not exist without your love for them.
IMPORTANCE OF NON-ATTACHMENT DURING GRIEF
The key is in not getting attached to the disintegration of your loved one’s form. The non-attachment and making of space in surrendering and letting go will allow for the Divine presence and infinite love from the depths of your core to emerge.
Our body is just a vessel that our eternal, undying Spirit, chose to occupy while on Earth.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Regardless of how handsome, or beautiful, or unattractive our forms are, anything created is subject to decay. Just like any other life forms in nature are subjected to the cycle of birth and death. Therefore, it’s important to not let ourselves get too attached to the form that our loved one once held.
It was only their vessel, their form, that has disintegrated. Not their true self. Certainly not their Spirit.
One of the greatest spiritual teachers of our time, Eckhart Tolle speaks about loss.
Once you have accepted and integrated this perspective into your reality, you will be able to practice non-attachment more easily, even in the midst of chaos and turmoil.
THE BIRTHING OF TRUE LOVE
Then, you will birth a different kind of love – this love is non-selective, it does not limit your love to just one particular person, it loves and embraces all of life unconditionally.
Which means you have transcended the romantic limitation of love. Which also means you would love your enemy with equanimity as you would love your spouse. You would love an insect with equanimity as you would love your pet.
Some of us, however, may still be too attached to the egoic form of love, which restricts it to merely a romantic expression of love towards just one person.
This unrealistic idealization of the dreamy, heart-wrenching “one life, one love” concept has pulled rosy blinds across our eyes that colored the way we see our partner, and our relationship. It has also unfortunately been perpetuated and reinforced by the media since we were children, think the princess series from Disney movies, and Nicholas Spark’s infamous love story in The Notebook, or James Cameron’s Titanic. These are examples of untrue, conditional love, existing only in our self-created illusions which are programmed by societal forces.
Read: 4 Reasons Why I Will Stay a Widow (And Maybe You Should Too)
Our hearts are big enough to love a new partner while holding the deep love you had for your deceased spouse. Or you may even discover a broader form of love that breaks its earthly limitation of the romantic nature, and expands itself into a purer form of love.
WHAT IS TRUE LOVE?
True love is all-encompassing, unconditional, and free of desire. When true love arises, you can feel the same love you have for a person as you’d have for an animal, or a tree. Just as the sun doesn’t discriminate which area to shine upon, and the tree doesn’t deny a “bad” person from seeking shade.
As the classical writer, Charles Dickens once said,
“And can it be that in a world so full and busy the loss of one creature makes a void so wide and deep that nothing but the width and depth of eternity can fill it up.”
And so the light of eternity spilled into this void that my fiancé left me. The hollow space in my heart has allowed a glimpse of Grace to illuminate the darkness within.
This pigeon hole of light stirs the dormant parts of us that we have long forgotten, and invites us to step into a greater realm of love. It is a doorway. An invitation from God/Spirit. You just have to be still enough to recognize it.
True love is a blossoming of reverence for all of life within your heart space.
It also accepts and embraces the “ugly” parts of you, all the “shameful” thoughts and feelings you’ve locked inside of yourself, and all the “bad” experiences in your life (like this one), with unconditional love.
When you are ready and willing to release the unrelenting grip of grief has on you, to break out of this chrysalis and take flight as the butterfly that you were meant to become, you will discover that it is impossible to stop loving your deceased loved one as love is all there ever was.
Therefore, overcoming grief isn’t a sign of the cessation of your love for them. It’s in fact quite the opposite.
Overcoming grief sheds aspects of yourself that no longer serve you so it enables an opening of space to recognize a deeper form of love, to recognize your own Divinity, and to learn to further flourish into the person you were born to be in this next chapter of your life.