By Pranada Comtois
Rising through layers of consciousness, I become aware of uncontrollable weeping and notice tears have wet my pillow. My pitiful cries, an all-consuming emotion of loss, pick up vigor and sound like an in-coming train. The roar wakes me and I give the tears full permission as I roll over in bed to grab tissues.
Today, evidently, is for the inner work of saying a final goodbye to my dear confident and partner of thirty years.
Losses and tears used to be my enemies. When I lost something/someone I coveted or couldn’t gain that which I very much desired, I would squirm and connive how to claim what I wanted.
I’d imagine my head nestled against a beloved’s chest or hear the laughter of a longed-for child. I spun in the visceral loop of hankering and lamenting, and tumbled about as wishes became strangling demands. Demands that would not, could not, be realized as mine.
Now, the number of revolutions it takes before I accept what is, has decreased. My daily mantra meditation has gradually cleared a new approach, one that has removed many desires. And the mantra has given me patience and trust. Though anguish still brings physical and mental discomfort, heartbreak is no longer life threatening: Grief always subsides. In other words, my mantra meditation has given me perspective, a new look on life and the natural processes and events we all face.
Agonizing emotional releases no longer frighten or appall me. Grieving loss with tears – the physical release of pain – is required as much as sleeping, eating, or bathing.
But grief is more than a bodily function; it performs a deeper, subtler, long-lasting work. Much like my mantra, grief extracts my soul from the ephemeral lifeworld conjured in my mind and forces me to examine me and my relationship with others and the world.
My mantra and grief hold me in an altered perspective where discoveries are made. Before wisdom unfolds, though, there is a prior step I must take: letting go.
When I allow emotion without judgment, when I become a witness and don’t fixate my mind on the feelings and desires. When I don’t try to frantically extinguish or avoid that which gives me pain, when I don’t insist on owning what I want. In other words, when I become neutral, not drawing in or pushing away, I come to rest. I come to a place of calm release. Acceptance. Complete peace. Then I’m ready to see my way past insecurity, desire, anger, loss, and heartache to a path of freedom.
What was once terrifying is now inviting.
I’ll say that again because the shift from terror to embrace is not only astounding and trust building, but a reliable event when I let down and let go.
What was once terrifying becomes inviting. All I have to do is to completely and genuinely let go. All that is required is the humility needed to let go and surrender.
This new walkway welcomes me to step with confidence and begin to stroll. I can move again, leaving behind frozen resistance. Fewer storms threaten my journey, because the sun of trials cannot extract the water of attachment from my ground of being.
As I stand at this passage, I am free. I am free to conceive anew my offering to the world.
Loss is freedom. That’s it.
Loss is freedom. Loss frees me from the misconception that anything is mine. I am eternal; everything in this world is temporary. Because this is so, the loss I experience is especially foreign and difficult. The grief of loss shows me the nature of reality so that I might live more honestly.
At freedom’s edge a lush landscape unfolds on the horizon. My mantra invites me to move through loss and grief into truth and illumination. This is not ordinary knowing, not commonplace intuition. I’ve found wholesome, palatable edibles for my soul on this journey through my mantra meditation.
Enduring life’s many losses is a meager price to pay to allow me to taste the feast of freedom and the peace truth grants. Grief has brought me here, no doubt, but it is my sacred mantra that has given me endurance and insight greater than my small self.