My dear friends…

I made a comment here last week that
everything "bad" that is occurring in our collective and individual
lives—from the earthquake in to the terrible explosion in the
mine in —is part of a Larger Process by which All of Life

I know that it is very difficult to see that "silver
lining" when you are one of the people whose husband or wife or child
died in one of those tragedies…and so I want to talk this week about
the process of grieving, and how that can be affected and facilitated by
moving to higher and higher levels of spiritual awareness.

Grief is one of the Five Natural Emotions. The
others are: Fear, Anger,
Envy, and Love. These emotions were given to us as gifts. They are tools
that, if used well, can help us all to move through this life and
remain physically and mentally healthy. But the trick is, these emotions
must not be withheld.

Grief that is repressed will turn into a
very unnatural emotion: chronic depression. Therefore, when I talk with
anyone about the process of grief, the first thing I tell them is,
"feel it. For heaven sake, feel it. If you are experiencing
grief, allow yourself to express it."

I say this because many
people-perhaps most people-hide their grief, or at the very least, try
very hard to control it, to hold it in, to repress it. This only
guarantees that it will linger all the longer.

So the first
thing to do about grief is to let it out. Cry it out, scream it
out (in a healthy way, not in the form of abuse of another), bang it
out (I have encouraged people to use a baton, or some other instrument
with which they can hit a big pillow. A baseball bat works wonders on an
told tire. A compressor hose can also be powerful, used on some old
telephone books.

Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross used to say that
every hospital should have not just a chapel, where one goes to be
quiet, to pray or just sit in peace, but also a screaming room, where
one could go to scream out one’s grief. But no, she would say, what they
do in hospitals is give the person who is grieving over the death of a
loved one a sedative and send them home.

One of the problems in
our society, Dr. Ross used to say, is that we are taught to sedate all
of our Natural Emotions. Even love. With the result that these emotions
are repressed, leading, as I mentioned above, to very unnatural
emotions. Repressed fear will turn into panic. Simply envy, when
repressed, will turn into jealousy. Repressed anger will turn into rage.
And repressed love will turn into possessiveness.

So, advice
#1 on grief: Let it out. Find a friend, go to your pastor, minister,
rabbi or ulama, check out a grief-and-loss counselor, get to an
emotional support group…find someone with whom to let it out.

Next week—Advice #2: spiritual healing for a wounded heart.

and Hugs,