It is an inevitable fact of life that we all must go sometime. But when we lose a loved one, it can be a very challenging time. From the Ayurvedic perspective, this time of grief also holds the potential for great personal and spiritual growth.
There is an old saying in Ayurveda: “The pain and the fear is directly across from the bliss.”
Ayurveda believes the reason for the pain and the fear is to get your attention! This is so you can go through the pain and through the fear and access the truth of you – ultimately bringing you closer to your true self.
The pain and grief associated with losing a loved one can be the pain and the fear needed to take real steps to spiritual growth and personal freedom.
Join me as I guide you through a journey of coping with death, and how amazing it really can be.
When my Dad died a few years back, he was in hospice care. One day the nurse made his bed with sheets and blankets designed with bald eagles. She had no idea that my dad was deeply connected to eagles and had had many close encounters with eagles throughout his life. That night, wrapped in eagle-printed blankets, my dad died.
The following week, I returned to my home in Colorado. On my way to work, I saw two bald eagles perched in a tree right next to the road I drove to work every day. I had never seen a bald eagle before in my life, and now, just days after my dad passed, two eagles perched there every morning and night for more than a month. Then one day they were gone and I have never seen them again.
I tell this story to affirm the stories that many of you have experienced in your own lives after losing a loved one. Can they be chalked up to coincidences? Maybe we cannot prove these stories to others, but when it happens to you, it is your truth.
Passed Away, but Not Gone
According to Ayurveda, when a loved one passes, they are not gone. It is not over. It is a transformational journey for all of those affected, including the spirit of the one who passed.
Another old saying goes: “To the extent that something affects you, is to the extent that it is your karma.”
Karma literally translates into action. What this saying is driving home is that, to the extent that a life event affects you is the extent to which this event is an opportunity for you to take a transformational action step.
Through Pain to Truth
When we lose a loved one it feels like they have been torn from our hearts. It is as if they bore a painful hole through us, giving us access to a deeper part of ourselves that we may have never experienced before.
It is through the pain of the loss that we can experience the truth. Once through the pain, the experience of our true self is revealed. In the same way, the death process is an event that offers deep spiritual and transformational growth for the one who passed.
An Opportunity for Growth for the One Who Passes
There is no doubt that, throughout our lives, all of us carry protective emotional patterns. These patterns make it difficult to experience the truth of love at the core of the many relationships we have on this planet. Some of us become controlling, manipulative, bitter, grumpy or distant as we age. These are all the results of old protective emotional patterns having been projected on the screen of our psyche for a lifetime.
When we pass on, it is believed that most of our protective emotional patterns are dropped, leaving us with the experience of our true self, the experience of true love.The old emotions, anger, and resentments are gone and what’s left is love.
After Death – Taking an Action Step
Our loved ones that have passed may have been unable to express their love and care for us during their lifetime. But at the time of passing, with the shedding of protective emotional patterns, the unconditional truth of their endless love and care for us is revealed.
The passing is a powerful karma-burning opportunity for them to realize their true nature. Now that they know that their true nature is love, they must act on it. But this is tricky, because they cannot really communicate with us.
Or can they? Are we really listening?
For us, the action step is to move through the pain, through the grief. To the extent we loved them and to the extent they loved us is to the extent that the loss gives us access to a deeper part of ourselves.
It is as if, when our loved one passed, they threw a hook in our hearts and they keep tugging on it for months to get our attention. They want us to experience the truth, the unconditional love that they now feel. They want us to experience that love and freedom for ourselves, so they yank on that heart hook until we find a way to go through the pain and grief.
Communication Beyond the Physical
Once we find a way to move through the pain and let ourselves move through the emotional grief, we can then experience a version of ourselves that is now carrying less fear and much more love. That love spawns a deeper awareness of this game of life, as I like to call it, and a knowingness of who we really are.
In many African and other traditional tribal cultures, when an elder passes, it is thought that they become a member of the ancestral elders who guide the tribe. Such cultures are very accustomed to communication without words or touch. They have been known to communicate telepathically over many miles without a spoken word. Even when together, they often speak very little, as a more direct means of communication is beyond words. It is a heart to heart, a direct means of communication that is practiced through a whole life.
So when an elder dies, there is no loss. The communication that they have enjoyed for a lifetime is still available with the now ancestor, who will continue to guide the tribe from the higher realms.
Knowing this, is it so impossible to think that even when a loved one passes an intimate relationship with them is possible?
What is Grief?
The grief is the act of closing off the heart so as not to feel the pain of the loss. This is a very natural and necessary survival response. But in time, as the pain softens, the ability to use this pain as a guide to establish a relationship with that loved one once again is very possible. The relationship this time is based on true love. You are moving through the pain and experiencing the nature of your inner self loving your loved one fully. They are now free of all their protective emotional baggage, free to express their love to you fully. Without words or touch, this communication is complete, direct and eternal.
What is True Love?
When two hearts open and express the truth of their inner nature as pure love with no concern or need for love in return – it is called true love. True love is the act of loving love. It is the act of expressing and loving the love that is inside of you, the love that is who you are. This love is eternal and has no boundaries, not even the so-called separation of death.
How to Move Through Grief
To move through the grief, you must take action. This action step must not be just in your mind. It is a transformational action step that you must take to lay down new and improved neural pathways in your brain and nervous system. For example, create a place for you to communicate with them. An alter, your favorite hike. Once there, you must express the truth, the love you have for them. It can be a note, a text to their old number, or just speaking from your heart, but it cannot just be good thoughts. It must be a physical action in this plane to activate new neural patterns.
Sometimes the relationship that you had with your loved one was rocky and although you know you love them, it is still difficult to express that love. For this, we use what are called the three aspects of love. It’s a way of working up to the fullness of pure love through gradual stages.
The first aspect of love is compassion. Imagine the loved one who passed as a 5-year-old growing up. All they wanted was to be loved and appreciated by their parents, but it was not available. So they used the raw innate material they had and created a personality that they thought would make them safer, more loved or more worthy of love.
Years of building personality traits around this desperate need to be loved and approved of created the personality that you knew them to have in life, and now you understand through the window of compassion that they were just trying to be loved. After many years, an innocent attempt to be loved can become seemingly impenetrable walls of protection, acts of control and years of manipulation.
Once you can see them through this window of compassion and understanding, you can experience the next aspect of love called gratitude. This is gratitude for the ability to understand rather than judge the personality traits they carried that rubbed you so wrong. You become grateful because now you have uncovered the truth – the love that had always been there.
From this deep experience of gratitude, you can enter into the final aspect of love, which is joy. Joy is an expression of your true nature. By using compassion and gratitude to move through all the reasons why you were not able to experience your love for them, you can now experience the truth. All that time, underneath all the pain was love, and now you are feeling free to be loving and joyful for no reason. This pure experience of joy is not because something good happened. It is not dependent on anything. It is you!
After Grief: Freedom
Now you can rest in knowing that your loved one has been freed through the transformational process of death to shine their light like the sun gives light to the earth. Feeling warm in their sunlight, having moved through the grief, you have now also been freed – freed to fully open your heart, experience the truth and enjoy a relationship with them from heart to heart, which can never be taken away.
This journey, if you choose to take it, promises to change your life.