Good Grief

My best friend died last November.

Yesterday, I was in a business meeting with a new client at her business. A person from my friend’s old workplace stopped in to call on my new client. When that person left, I told this new client of mine a personal story about my friend that was wholly inappropriate for the situation.

I don’t think my new client cared about what I said, but I’ll find out later today.

In my meditation this morning, this incident popped up in my mind, as these things often do in meditation. And so I “sat with it”. I looked at it, not trying to change it, or to figure it out, or to reject it, or embrace it. I just sat there comfortably and perceived it. I watched it change.

Soon I was filled with all kinds of gakky emotions, sitting there in my chair, just looking at what I thought was a memory of something that happened yesterday. And then I started crying and I realized that I still had a lot of grief over the loss of my best friend. And this was probably why I made that inappropriate comment to my new client.

And so, again, in meditation I sat and I looked at it, and I just let all this play out in my mind and my body, watching the fireworks display.

Then I began to see all of the grief I have, from the loss of my best friend, and my parents, to the loss of old girlfriends and wives, even the loss of “lifestyles” Iused to live. I saw that I even have grief over the loss of my childhood, my teenage years, cars I used to have and old apartments I used to live in. I saw that my life was strewn with grief – big and small – right up to this very moment.

And then I saw that life is simply strewn with grief.

Grief is a much more common thing than I ever realized.

I saw that the “bitter” part of “bittersweet” is just dried-up grief.

I think that the righteous anger and quixotic crusades I’ve launched to “take down” Scientology were often fueled by grief for having lost my religion.

It was a powerful thing to lose.

As I ended my meditation and opened up my eyes and stretched and yawned I saw that life is constantly changing, and there can be loss and its resultant grief for every little change. It’s as if life is a river of impermanence flowing right before my eyes. Every little thing floating by goes away down the stream.

I didn’t start the river, and I will never stop it. It’s just a river flowing by.

And it’s a beautiful scene.


7 thoughts on “Good Grief”

  1. Best thing you have ever written. This will help many people, I know that is one of your goals.
    I remember you saying once that you had left Scientology blogs b/c a friend was sick and that was your priority. When you returned it seemed that h/she had been given a reprieve. I’m sorry that reprieve ended.

  2. Heartfelt and accurate observation. Thanks for sharing. I liked how you encountered it in meditation and just let yourself experience and observe it.

    It seems that grief is an inevitable part of life. It’s part of the price you pay for engaging with someone or something. And the more happy and fulfilling that engagement, the higher the grief price tag when he or she or it are gone.

    But it’s worth it. If you jump into that river, you’re going to get wet. Wet from the tears of grief.

    But if stay on the shore and you don’t jump in, you never get anywhere or get to see what’s downstream.

    To be in Life, to be in that confluence of Everything is why we are here. Why would one learn to swim and then never go swimming?

    Nobody resists or fights or wishes away the experience of Joy, because it feels good to experience it. Grief, not so much.

    But isn’t grief really just the awareness that one has been privileged to experience how friggin awesome someone or something is, and now that privilege has come to an end?

    I’m sorry about your having lost your friend, but I’m happy for you at the same time. You had a best friend.

    Joy and grief. Part of the same experience.


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