It takes time to realize the inevitability of death and understand the purpose behind the existence of suffering. Leaving philosophical debates aside, it is beneficial to approach the subject of death, loss, and grief from a practical and unemotional perspective.
The Nature of Human Relationships
Humans are social creatures designed to live in groups and form close bonds. Our attachments are rooted in both love and the instinctual need for survival. When someone we love passes away, it is normal to feel a void in our lives. While they were alive, they fulfilled certain needs, and their absence leaves those needs unfulfilled, leading to pain and grief. Furthermore, our fear of death and the unknown fate of our loved ones' consciousness intensifies our sadness.
The Difficulty of Losing a Loved One
The feelings surrounding the death of someone we love are incredibly challenging. In fact, the only comparable experience is the end of a significant relationship. Recovering from a breakup can be as bad as, if not worse than, recovering from the death of a loved one. However, grieving becomes even more difficult when we have severe emotional blockages or when we believe that our feelings are unnecessary or foolish.
The Importance of Allowing Ourselves to Grieve
If we suppress or deny our grief, the pain can become more intense. It is essential to acknowledge and honor our emotions to facilitate the grieving process. Shedding tears and expressing our sorrow can provide significant relief. Although our defense mechanisms may attempt to shield us from pain, they often exacerbate it.
The Healing Power of Grief
Despite our inclination to avoid emotional pain, leaning into grief can be surprisingly liberating. Allowing ourselves to fully experience and express our emotions is an incredible healing mechanism of the human mind. Although our intelligence seeks to protect us from suffering, we must give ourselves permission to grieve and allocate time to honor our pain.
Individual Approaches to Grief
There is no universally applicable process for grief, as it varies from person to person. One approach that has worked for the author involves attending hot yoga classes, remaining present, and focusing on their breath. By visualizing where the emotional pain would reside in a unobstructed emotional state, they find relief from physical discomfort. Moreover, deep breathing and meditation can help locate emotional pain in the body, often triggering memories or emotions associated with specific areas.
The Body-Mind Connection
The connection between emotional pain and physical sensations is apparent in others as well. Stress can manifest as stomach discomfort, while the feeling of carrying a heavy burden may cause tense shoulders. Deep breathing and conscious awareness of the body can help release tension and facilitate emotional processing.
The Power of Deep Breathing
Taking deep breaths and consciously following the breath is an effective method for accessing and experiencing emotions. Over the years, the author has honed this practice, gradually becoming more attuned to their feelings. Deep inhalations and strong exhalations allow them to witness the impact of shallow breathing on stress levels, thereby emphasizing the importance of deep breaths for relaxation.
Understanding death, loss, and grief from a practical perspective helps us navigate the challenging emotions that accompany these experiences. Allowing ourselves to grieve and making time for the process are crucial steps toward healing. Each individual may have different methods for accessing and processing emotions, but deep breathing and mindfulness can serve as valuable tools in this journey.