A lot of people entered this programme with heavy hearts and hopefully came out a little lighter than before. There was a great deal of soul-searching throughout the course and at times, the sense of grief was very palpable. We suspect that much processing of this difficult affliction has been unearthed and will continue for some time. It was a challenging course for speakers and participants alike and many old patterns and memories were brought to the surface.
There were six facilitators for this event. Each provided their own unique approach to this perplexing problem. This workshop was attended by 35 participants.
Dr. Alok Pandey: The Knot of Pain
The knot of pain can only be unravelled by a change of consciousness. If we root ourselves in the Eternal, one moves away from transient grief. We have to realise that we are eternal in a human disguise.
When we lose someone, it represents the value we lose with them.
- When we lose a rich husband, it represents the loss of value of money.
- When we lose a loving husband, it represents the loss of value of emotions / love.
All of the people are representations, including companionship, friendship, spouse, child, and even enemies. All these forms & figures are transient unless we ascend towards a spiritual consciousness of One & Oneness.
The way we perceive the loss and grief has changed over time. In earlier days, there was no sense of loss or grief even when people are away from each other for months and with limited means of communication. However, in the current world, people have evolved with their way of communication and with their sense of loss or grief.
The aim is to attain a status which is divine within the relationship. The love is so true and sustaining there need be no grief when one soul passes away. If two can be together beyond the human frame which is ever evolving, then they are divine. They operate beyond the hindrances of ego, expectations, emotional hunger. If two can feel the same, then they can lift the flame upward towards the heavens. However, this is very rare. In most of the case, only one person feels that way and other person doesn’t. In that case, we should learn to transmit love selflessly and keep giving always irrespective of the other person’s personality.
Dr. Yogesh Mohan: Embracing Your Loss and Sublimating Your Grief
Intellectual understanding is only a small part of dealing with grief. The solution to this is to go inside our own being and discover those parts that are still attached to the loss, that are still grieving. This discovery in itself leads to some sense of emancipation and relief.
The next step is to pull these parts and turn them towards the light of consciousness. This can be done only in a deep inwardly turned state of consciousness. A touch of this meditative state of consciousness has the power to transform those parts within us which lie steeped in grief and suffering.
Dr. Yogesh took the participants on an experiential journey through the inner realms to resolve this affliction. The purpose was to invoke the Shakti to dissolve obscurity and free us from grief and loss and takes everyone into a deeper state of peace, love and oneness.
The state of consciousness, in which we live, is of great importance. The experience of the deep silence and joy, which are inherent to us, must be focused upon. The aim has to be to shift our state of consciousness from the outer ego-centred state of being to a deeper state of joy and oneness. Anything that helps us reach this state and remain there is of great value. The focus of today’s session was to invoke that Shakti which alone has the power to dissolve obscurity, free us from grief and take us deeper within ourselves where the natural state of being is of peace, love and oneness.
Pulkit Sharma: Finding Meaning in Loss
We should entangle with the feeling of suffering to understand the pain. In contrast, we suppress the pain or run away from the pain. This is a disastrous way of handling the pain. Both happiness and pain are immemorial in life and with the universe. Whenever there is a loss, we must experience and overcome it. Even if there is a negative emotion, it is for our growth. We should allow ourselves to open up for the experience. When the pain is experienced, it gives a tsunami momentum in the mind, nevertheless, continue observing by staying calm and experiencing peacefulness. Though the pain is intense at the start, it will eventually start subsiding.
If loss happens, it has a reason for growth and has significance. We should find a way to find faith in each loss that somewhere within this darkness there is a ray of hope. When there is a grief, the vital focuses on the current body, current feelings and doesn’t focus on the reason and the significance.
Exercises were shared to facilitate the process of dealing with bereavement.
James Anderson: Offer and Transcend Your Grief
The state of human growth is dependent on the experiences we go through. Grief and loss are experiences that we have to face in life. We learn from such experiences when we overcome them. We grow – we grow in consciousness and we grow in the true Light of the Divine.
When our awareness becomes dynamic, when it becomes infused with the Divine element of our soul, the Psychic Being, it becomes Consciousness. When we observe through the eyes of our Psychic Being, the observation - the awareness becomes Consciousness. Consciousness has the capacity to change and transform our movements.
An exercise was done, where all the memories were replayed by the inner eye, on a cinema screen. The participants were encouraged to watch as disinterestedly as possible, but if they couldn’t detach then follow the process to the end. They had to find a way of vividly experiencing the grief but keep a centred poise at the same time. Everyone was the director of the play that was being performed in front of their eyes. They were in complete control and could fashion whatever ending they liked.
As soon as the play was concluded, they were told to offer. Offer everything to the Divine, to the Mother. Lay it all at her feet. Offer every movement that arose throughout the play. Offer the loss and the grief. Offer the whole being to the Mother, every hope and aspiration all that is noble inside.
Then finally, to integrate and align, by observing everything that arises and surfaces on the body with one’s centred consciousness. Allow the consciousness to dissolve the remaining knots of grief and observe the descending Force descend through the physical frame from top to bottom. Finally to feel and experience the dynamic Peace pour through the being.
The whole objective is to become an integrated being. Very often we have to integrate ourselves through the process of adversity. Grief is one aspect of adversity. Where there is friction there is work.
Dr. Soumitra Basu: Bereavement: Psychological and Occult ramifications
There are two kinds of bereavement, conscious and unconscious. The person is either in a state of awareness or unawareness.
Coping with grief is traditionally handled by rituals. These rituals can have a spiritual value where a yogi is welcomed to take charge. Rituals can also have a cultural value, like taking a dip in the Ganges: many don’t believe in it but others get considerable mental peace and relief from the experience.
To overcome bereavement, we have to conquer our fear of death. We should not be scared of it but practise dying in this lifetime. Dr. Basu gave a very practical exercise to consciously experience death. We should prepare for a beautiful death and a glorious exit. We need to prepare for a long time to make death beautiful.
Elderly people who are facing death should be given pleasant surroundings to pass away in (other than the ICU unit). At home with one’s beloved family is definitely the preferred milieu.
In usual psychiatric training, we are not taught the reality of death. Even the doctor treats death as defeat. We are unable to detach ourselves due to ego and its fear of death.
Dr. Debabrata Sahani: Bypassing grief
In the journey of life, we need to identify our goal. WE can choose Freedom, Light, Bliss, Divine. We choose our path and the usual grief-ridden path appears safe because there appears to be safety in numbers because so many take it. There is a need for a bypass, because the usual road is meandering and slow. We bypass grief and not immerse ourselves in it. The usual road has many stops that give us pleasure. However these bouts of pleasure, which are so arresting, are our own source of grief. If one is keen on experiencing pleasure, one must realise that grief is inseparable from it. If one has had enough of grief and pain, then one needs to look at this attachment to transient pleasures.
One should detect one’s attachment and identify one’s desires. If one wants a life free from grief, one can’t make pleasure or even happiness one’s goal.
Once the pleasure-seeking activities are identified, you should consciously abstain from them. To wean yourself, try instilling a ‘Fasting Day’. Withdraw from pleasure for a day. Try one day a month. Let your mantra for the day be, “I don’t need anyone. I don’t need anything.” Live without all outside support. No books, no mobile phone, very little food. This is not suppressing oneself; it is training.
Also, face death daily. Before sleep, visualise yourself every day dying and leaving your body. See the grief surrounding your passing but see normality return in the long run.
Imagine you most dear loved one dying. Face the pain and face the grief. See him or her dying in front of you and leaving the body. Experience the pain of being without your loved one. If you do this regularly when the real drama happens you will be able to face the experience with equanimity. This exercise is only possible if you have a higher goal in life. IF your goal is to serve the Dive then this state of equanimity is possible.
Let the grief and pain become your strength. Don’t shy away from it. Experience the pain like a warrior with a clear goal.
“James’ experiential session brought me comfort, Dr. Basu’s pragmatic session appealed to my intellect, Pulkit’s words saying it is ok to grieve and don’t place time limits on grieving resonated with my emotional heart and finally Dr. Debu’s practical suggestions, even though they were challenging, gave me a new perspective on approaching my own death. Thank you to all the speakers for the multi-faceted approach to this very difficult topic.”
“Of all the workshops you have organised so far, this one was a tough topic to deal with because I/we are so set in our ways when it comes to grief and loss. It took a lot of reflection and processing (and this continues as I write this) before I could fully absorb the contents of each session. I can see a subtle shift happening in the way I perceive death and dying (both for people/animals around me and my own mortality) and for that I am eternally grateful. I am so glad Dr. Basu brought up bereavement after losing an animal/pet, because In my personal life I am still grieving after letting go of my beloved Golden retriever Sasha 10 months ago, and as a Veterinarian I deal with this every day in my professional life as well. My biggest takeaway is that all one can do is pray to The Mother to keep the souls of the departed loved ones safe and where they should be…”