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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thinking of others who are in the bereavement process..


I've been thinking a lot about how death affects people recently. Reading Syd’s blog post about a good friend who passed away recently and his thoughts about what he could do for the person who is either dying or recently deceased. Plus all the poignancy that comes to the surface when a good friend dies. 
I was speaking to somebody else in the programme recently about a sibling who died. Similar to Syd’s in that they knew of the imminency of the death. The person had been ill for a while. I mentioned a passage to both those people about what Ken Wilber did when his wife died. I think it's useful to inspire the disembodied person as they are 'on their way.' I think if I had just died, I would want people to direct clear reminders of my true nature in the period just before I died and a little bit after. It must be like getting used to driving a new car or something. ..must be a very strange experience not having a body initially. If I was more diligent in my meditation practice I would be more prepared for the experience of being disembodied at the point of death. In the Tibetan tradition it's a fairly standard understanding that one of the main points of meditation is to train the mind so that the consciousness can move freely around outside the body. The whole point being that it's in preparation for death. It's like learning how to drive without a body in preparation for the point at which you are disembodied I suppose..
On the one hand I feel that death is a very positive thing because it has this wonderful ? 'shimmering transparency' that it brings to the quality of life that shines in the presence of the dying person. It's as if the veil between this world and the other is incredibly !! thin. Very magical and auspicious. On the other hand it is supposed to be terribly poignant and to involve a loss of one type of life in exchange for another. In other words it's supposed to break your heart in some form or other. The problem isn't the feelings as such, the problem is getting very attached to them or wallowing in them or pushing them away. In other words it's the relationship to the difficult feelings that is the problem not the feelings themselves. A bad workman blames his tools as they say.
I suppose I am saying that I am very conscious that people that I have got to know in a programme on going through this process of grief, and it kind of 'sits' in my awareness constantly that these people I know are having this experience. It's a little bit like walking through treacle because it is like you're operating in a different gear. Like walking in slow motion In a dream. It's a different sort of life having to process grief on top of all the other daily tasks. I also think that if we have developed our spiritual life, we are much more useful to be other people who are grieving and the deceased person. It is as if we are donating pints of blood every day energetically to the family and to the deceased person through our good will.
Anyway I feel for Syd and the other friend who is undergoing grief and the experience of recent bereavement. There is a whole other dimension to your recent bereavement if you have developed sensitivity. There is a much more keen awareness of the deceased person which is a bit strange to say the least. Not quite as dramatic as the little boy in the film who kept saying "I see dead people" but there is a much less dramatic awareness of the presence of the deceased person.
Probably all that has very little to do with recovery, but that's what's on my mind at the moment. I feel like I am with these people on their journey because of the feeling of fellowship that AA has created, so I suppose their experiences feel as though they are part of my experience.
Anyway..I hope you are all well and I will make a point of visiting a few blogs in the near future.. :)

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

One of your long-time readers here, de-lurking to tell you how much I appreciate your insight and the perspective from which you approach all this. It really has been incredibly helpful to me as I deal with family, caregiving and end-of life issues.

I experience that awareness of the deceased and I think it has become more frequent and pronounced as I move through my caregiving journey. Often I experience it even when I have no knowledge of the person's passing. Perhaps it is connected with increased compassion and sensitivity. Or perhaps I am just losing my mind!

I am glad to see your return to blogging.

-invisigal

Mike L. said...

I've been away from blogging for awhile and just today came across this blog of yours on grief. As you'll see from my April blog below, add me to your list of friends who've been experiencing encounters with grief! In April, my youngest daughter Rachel was due to deliver her first born son (and my third grandchild) on the 11th of April. Oliver died unexpectedly the day before his due date as a result of a freak umbilical cord accident. His was born the following day.

At the memorial the following week, we asked those present to complete a memorial card which had the phrase, "Oliver's purpose in life was...". While I never got to fill in my own card, because I was next up to give my talk at the memorial, I did quickly change the title of my talk (which I wrote on my iPhone early that morning --that took two and a half hours) from "Grief" to "Oliver's Purpose in My Life Was to Teach Me About Grief".

Without a doubt, I would not have been able to learn this lesson about grief were it not for everything I've done over the last 10+ years to stay sober.

http://mikelrecovery.blogspot.com/2012/04/lesson-on-grief.html

Take care!

Mike L.

Syd said...

Beautifully written. I felt his spirit around me but know now that he is settled and okay. When my parents died, my father stayed with me the longest, probably because we had so much unfinished business. He too is at rest in his spirit now.