Grief is the Doorway to Empowerment
I have stated this theme many times in the past, but it is worth repeating again because the culture gives such a different message. Negative emotions, even though they feel negative, are actually only doorways to higher levels of positive energy. The culture wages war against negative emotions so that they will go away. It is why so much prescription medication is given when a negative emotion appears. If you feel down, reach for a pill, feel up again, repeat endlessly. I am sure I could get into some kind of trouble about going against prescription medication. It has its place, but it isn’t the be all and end all. Trying to make negative emotions the enemy and then get rid of them in anyway possible is the root of the drug crisis. What I have learned over many years of dealing with negative emotions in myself and others is that if they can just be seen as communication, as messengers that something needs to change inside, then they do not have to be seen as an enemy, but can be viewed in a more friendly manner. Mind you, when you are scared out of your tree from a nightmare, or have runaway anxiety, or are really depressed, they really do seem like the enemy. They are not. They are there to tell you that something needs to change, something new needs to develop inside of you. It is a lot easier to take this view of negative emotions as friends if you believe that growth is an eternal process that we continue our whole lives and beyond. Negative emotions just tell you where you are stuck, what needs changing.
One of the most difficult messengers to deal with is the negative emotion of grief primarily because it takes your energy levels really down into depressed states. What is the purpose of grief? Grief tells you that you have suffered is some kind of loss which is often quite obvious like the death of a loved one, the loss of physical capacity, being fired from your employment, or failing an important exam. Grief holds the memory of the loss partly because you have to realize that the game is over. If you don’t accept that the current situation is over, then you cannot move onto to a more empowered state. It can last for a long, long time. The first time I got fired from a job,I was left me in such a down state. I held the memory of the loss so closely. It was very shocking to me what happened. What I have learned over the years in dealing with grief, especially after having been fired on three different continents, is that when you are in the grief state, your ego mind does not want to remember the positive abilities that you have. It wants to hold the loss by making it intensely felt so that you will not get back into the game again in another position somewhere else. It keeps the memory of the loss alive in your mind so that you will not doing anything “stupid” like finding another job where you might get fired again.
The first step in becoming empowered after loss is to realize that the message of the loss is that you have some incredible abilities that have already been developed whose memory you need to reactivate. When you can remember your abilities in an enhanced manner, then it gives you a lot of empowerment to do what you do best already. The struggle is to let go of memory of the loss, which is your ego protecting you from bad happening again. There is actually no such a thing as an assured protection from loss. There is no internal insurance policy that you can get to keep it from happening again. It is going to happen to all of us. You cannot prevent it, especially is you live a life on the cutting edge where people are entrenched in old ways. Letting go of the idea that you can protect against loss allows you to understand that empowerment is the virtue you need, to keep getting back up, and keep getting back in the game. It is easy to give in and then take an antidepressant. Remembering what you are good at already and then doing it all over again in a new place or situation is the message of grief. This is what it is trying to do.
But it also has another trick of its sleeve, which most people do not know. When you hold the memory of the loss strongly so that you don’t have to get back in the game, then it also imagines some kind of false hope so that you do not have to deal with being more empowered. The false hope really is an attachment to a possibility that is never going to happen. In the third world, for instance, the people that fire you are often corruptly in “bed” with the people you can appeal to. You can hope that something bad is going to happen to the people who wrongfully dismissed you, but is going to go nowhere. There is no outward recourse. There is an inner recourse which changes everything. The inner recourse is to let go of the imagination, remember your positive strengths and then to feel really up or joyful about them. When you are up about what you already have, the empowerment gets fully energized like rocket fuel so that you can get to new heights.
Rather than go on and on about this which is a vast subject, I am going to write some simple steps in dealing with grief.
- Recognize that when you are depressed it is usually about some kind of loss that you have suffered. Name the loss and when it occurred.
- Say to yourself that the grief is holding the memory so that I can get to an empowered state, but first I have to let go of the protection from having losses again.
- Make a list of your positive abilities and think of times when you used them positively.
- Ask yourself what false hope you have about the loss that is hindering you from feeling up. Let go of the false imagination.
- When you get to an empowered state, new opportunities will open.
Be patient with big losses like the loss of a close family member or friend. They take longer.
Thanks for this great reminder Richard to focus on our positive qualities!
Love the analogy of rockets firing when our energy goes up!!