… neither joy nor sadness; everything changes. To stay afloat in this sea of uncertainty requires a concerted effort towards awareness, a leaning into the very thing we’d rather not see and feel — guided by the ancient reminder to see things as they are, not as we would like them to be. Yikes! How many times do I have to tell you?
We all carry with us accumulated grief,” writes Ezra Bayda, not just for people who have died, but for every situation that has ever brought about an intense emotional reaction of loss (p.103).
For me, the task ahead is clear, the path itself obstructed. I know that one thing has ended and the uncertainty makes me feel dizzy. I know that everything’s impermanent; I also know that I must face (yes, imperative!) uncertainty head-on. So I sit on the meditation cushion, watch the next breath come and go; sense tears arising and withdrawing; enjoy freedom and notice fear.
Unattended sorrow, according to Stephen Levine, disturbs sleep and infects our dreams; unable to find our way ‘home’ all night; we feel lost all day. Nightly conflicts wear through our days. … It inhibits intuition. We come to trust ourselves less. We cannot ‘feel’ the world around us as we once did. … We feel ourselves a bit withdrawn, a little dead on our peripheries, a bit numb at the fingertips, our listless tongue lying sideways like a sunken ship on the floor of the mouth.
It’s good to be reminded of what lies on the flip side of awareness: listlessness, fatigue, boredom, isolation, over-eating, depression, even illness. “To open into loss is to open into the heart of experiencing … a point directly in the center of the chest, sometimes called the grief point” (Bayda, p. 205).
sources: Bayda, E. (2003). At home in muddy water. Boston: Shambala. Levine, S. (2005). Unattended sorrow: recovering from loss and reviving the heart. Rodale, p.5.