The groundless openness of sorrow

My family is no stranger to grief or trauma.  If someone were to ask me about my spiritual background, I would say that I had seen, felt and understood a sense of loss long before it happened to me. 

I have made many new friends along my grief journey who tend to my broken heart.  The other week, a friend sent me these words by Tara Branch, from her book ‘True Refuge: Finding Peace and Freedom In Your Own Awakened Heart’:

In the Lakota/Sioux tradition, a person who is grieving is considered most wakan, most holy. There’s a sense that when someone is struck by the sudden lightning of loss, he or she stands on the threshold of the spirit world. The prayers of those who grieve are considered especially strong, and it is proper to ask them for their help. You might recall what it’s like to be with someone who has grieved deeply. The person has no layer of protection, nothing left to defend. The mystery is looking out through that person’s eyes.  For the time being, he or she has accepted the reality of loss and has stopped clinging to the past or grasping at the future. In the groundless openness of sorrow, there is a wholeness of presence and a deep natural wisdom.

That same week I asked my Mum to tell me about grief and life.  These are her words:

Grief and life is so complicated that it can only be explained by your heart.  Only your heart knows how it feels on different days, in different weather and in different moments. You can try to accept your loss but on any given moment you also need to let go, to find peace. Because otherwise you cannot go on.  And you cannot hate the world.  You have to love the world in order to go on.

People don’t understand grief unless they have gone into that deep valley, or the desert which is barren and hot. Until you find your way out of it, you are going to blame everyone around you when it’s not their fault. You cannot change life.  We have to accept life as it comes.  We are only given this one life.  Our body is not ours and we have to try to look after it.

No one can feel your pain - it’s not like when you are asked what degree is your physical pain or how much does it hurt.  No one knows, even if you tell them.  They cannot feel your pain. You can only heal a heart that is broken by yourself.

In my Mum’s groundless openness of sorrow, she has a wholeness of presence and a deep natural wisdom.  Anyone who knows her, knows this.  This has also been part of my spiritual background. And it is something I will carry with me forever.