Thursday, October 10, 2013

From the Archives: Acknowledging Grief

[First posted April 2011]

The physical medium, Alexander Stewart, shares in his autobiography about his almost unbearable grief at the sudden death of his sister. He bravely acknowledges that, in spite of his many decades of direct experience of materialized Risen and their voices, their touch, their teaching, his sense of loss and bereavement was not lessened in any way, and there is an almost desperate, unconscious plea beneath his words of hope that all his knowledge that we survive will somehow come to his aide . . . . and it hasn't, yet . . . he is still waiting to feel grief transformed.

This morning, I saw on television that the journalist Tim Hetherington was killed by shelling in Libya - Chris Hondros, a NYC photographer, was with him and was also transitioned -  truly a terrible tragedy for their families and colleagues. Although I don't know these people, just seeing Mr. Hetherington's photo and hearing the name "Tim" made me cry quite heavily, and I offered the prayer I always send for the newly transitioned, "May the souls of Tim and Chris rest in peace, and may everlasting life shine upon them."  But why was I crying?

Simply, it was hearing the word "Tim" and seeing the photo of someone who resembled Tim in many ways. Even with all my experience that has erased all doubts that we survive the event called "death", with all my physical contacts with Tim, and all my near-constant mental contact with him - my physical, material, terrestrial body has its own feelings, reactions and responses. The body has its own memories. This demonstrates that grief is a process on many levels.  In the Risen, we say:
"There are those on the earth who contend that human fear and pain are “illusions” of some sort. This might make sense as certain truths on greater spiritual planes. Yet how many among us have grown to such advanced levels of being while having to move and breathe in our daily lives on earth? It is appropriate to say that for most of us, an inseparable part of the human experience is the pain that emerges from having human bodies. For most people, bodily discomfort and emotional worry often result in more complex and persistent forms of pain and fear, causing us to feel helpless, hopeless, and demoralized, which together comprise the experience of earthly suffering. Perhaps while we’re still on the earth we may eventually be able to learn and comprehend enough about the continuous flow of universal grace, which, as all religions have said, will undo our suffering. Let us accept that we are good enough as the human beings we are right now, honestly and courageously acknowledging our pain, as well as our beliefs in hopelessness and hopefulness, which are two sides of the same coin of fear.

"The Risen orchestrators of this book acknowledge the tragic feelings of those who are temporarily but still so tangibly left behind on the earth. Not one of us who lives on earth can escape the experience of loss and grief. Human reality is within those still embodied as humans on the earth. Loss and grief are part and parcel of human reality and yet are very divine and inexplicable gifts—to not be able to experience these things would not be human. Yet we can learn and grow to experience that even while the bodies of our loved ones are gone, their reality is still here—not in the past or in the future, but in the present. They have not gone away—they merely seem less accessible for a little while. The human reality that was within them is still within them but in a new and exciting way. They are waiting for us while we are still in our reality, to join them in their realities at any time.

"Tim, one of the many Risen co-authors of this book, has shared on several occasions that he’s noticed that many embodied people will try to comfort someone in their bereavement by saying something like, “They’re still in your heart.” They might even bring their hand up to hold over their own body’s heart, as if to indicate that the loved one is in an actual physical place. Tim asks us to consider that in making this kind of physical gesture, we are intuitively demonstrating that we are aware on a very deep level of the actual reality of what we are saying. Just as we are in a physical body and in a physical place, so, too, are our loved ones.

"Feelings of suffering and grief begin with and are fed by thoughts, which are a function and result of something this book will refer to as the ego-mind. The thoughts may be so deep, so subtle, or even wordless that they are hidden from our conscious awareness. The combined presences of the earth-embodied and the Risen can become timeless, and thus powerful enough to dissolve thoughts and thereby release feelings of suffering, which is healing. There is much assistance awaiting us from the Risen, who have ways to help us find this place of timeless power. They can show us that consciously becoming aware of our sense of internal presence is a way out of suffering, and they can help us stop expending energy trying to flee to the past or to the future. With Risen assistance we can become enabled to discover firsthand that the idea of being alone with nobody to help us is but a slight misunderstanding."

My astounding, seemingly miraculous experiences have not made me less sensitive in ways that I can now easily "tolerate" the absence of my loved ones . . . they have made me highly more sensitive on spiritual and physical levels. I feel on those levels more strongly, and increasingly so. This allows me an ever-increasing experience of expansion. The Universe is infinite, and so am I, but apparently there are growing pains. Even Tim has experienced this, and offers his insights into his own process:
"My present body doesn’t seem to have any place to hold a memory of physical pain. Mental pain, yes, I have that still, and emotional pain—oh boy, even more intense here than on earth! Mental and emotional memories, endless and vast, are still there for me to revisit and relive, even change . . . that’s not quite right. Reassemble . . . still not right. They’re there for me to look at, to play with, and to continue to gain understanding about them until I somehow understand that their usefulness is over. They’re echoes of particular simulate selves that were strongly established in life but fortunately not crystallized."
Grief must be acknowledged; it must be opened up to let light in, and the light is often painful at first. But there are seeds awaiting in the darkness for this light, so they can grow, and help us become even more beautiful and angelic in our natures. Speaking the grief, allowing the watery process that will bring it up from the great silence into the air and light, into the world, will help to dissipate much of the trapped energy that needs to be released.