Anyone alive on the planet today is in a state of grief. Unless we fully allow ourselves to inhabit the grief we carry, to drop our armor and stand naked in the midst of it, we cannot and will never be the embodiment of holiness that we are meant to be. We will never fully experience life and our own trans-formative power if we are constantly running from our grief. If we refuse that which wells up within us by forcing a stopper on the fount from which it rises, then we have no true freedom and exist in slavery to the necessary numbness this denial demands of us.
Anyone alive on the planet today is in a state of grief. Some are aware of this grief and seek to deny it through various means such as drugs or alcohol, some are aware and seek to medicate it ‘legitimately’ through pharmaceuticals, some are aware of it and lose themselves in its despair. Still others are ignorant of their grief and spend their days in a false state of happiness, fully dependent on materialism, relationships, social structure and definition. Others immerse themselves in a ‘spirituality’ that embraces the light like a drowning man embraces the buoy, acutely aware that he cannot survive the depths he is in and that letting go of that to which he clutches means death. There are those whose grief has turned to anger and who find this a more comfortable state of being with its illusion of power and fierce protection. These ones are no more powerful than a kitten – fierce though it may seem to the fly, it is after all still a kitten.
Anyone alive on the planet today is in a state of grief. All those from whom the most evil deeds flow, all those from whom the kindest and most generous of deeds flow, all those who sit in stupefied silence share this state of grief. It is inescapable. The leaders of the world share it as do the reality stars, the addicts, the rapper, the teacher and the old sage. This grief resides and prevails; it paralyzes us, drives us, and defines us – we can know this truth or not know it. Either way, it persists.
For we are born into a system that is founded on the absolute need for the oppression of our spirits, our bodies and our minds. We are born into a species that survives based upon the destruction and supplication of life and love and that demands that we surrender our humanity in payment for our comforts. We know that our survival is at a tremendous cost to life elsewhere and that the price is too great and that we are no more worthy then those who suffer for our benefit. And we know that we all benefit. This secret knowledge is what feeds our despair and what forges the tools we need to manage it.
No one that sees the suffering and the carnage that is the result of our desperate desire for comfort and security, for material wealth and power, for immediate gratification can ever un-see it – be it innocent faces of starving and dying children, bodies tangled in the wreckage of corporate sweat shops or the acquiescent eyes of the caged and tethered pig awaiting slaughter. These images sink into our bodies like a weight in a lake and may be forgotten on the surface but are ever present in our depths.
All life has always depended on the death of something other than itself. This is a natural law and in the miracle of creation and the cycle of life, a beautiful thing. For life to thrive there must be sacrifice. The life of plants are required for our sustenance and for our shelter. The life of one person is required to end so that there be space for the birth of another. These are desirable states of sacrifice that are in order and in keeping with a natural law in perfect balance and harmony. And although all death elicits some measure of sorrow – from the infinitesimal to the profound, our minds, hearts and spirits can make peace eventually with these necessary loses.
However, no human soul can make peace with the state of this world in our time, so bound up in capitalism, patriarchy and consumerism. Even the Corporate CEO knows that his exorbitant salary depends on the suffering of other sentient beings. He may, on the surface, appear and behave not to care and he may even believe that this is a good and productive system he oversees. Yet his soul is intimately tied with all of life, is in desperate need of love; to be both received and expressed, and is crying out for humanity to rise and stop the lunacy that we all create, uphold and call “progress”.
And he grieves; he grieves for the loss of life, of beauty and of promise. He grieves at the unnecessary destruction and war that his greed requires and demands so that it be momentarily satiated. At the bottom of the lake of his soul sits the weight of all he has seen and knows and denies, drowning in the tears he has not shed.
This is true for all of us. Some of us are so consumed by this grief that we cannot see our way out of it. We are rendered paralyzed by it; our paralysis allowing for its perpetuation. Some rally against this unjust system…protest in a thousand ways as we fight for justice. We congratulate ourselves for the baby steps we take when the system permits a small opening, then scream in anger as it closes once again and pushes us out or traps us inside.
So dismal this landscape we live on yet so unyielding our desire for change. We have no time or inclination to embrace our grief, to lean into and come to know it, come to love that part of us that responds to evil not with rage but with grief, recognizing that evil is the absence of something tremendous…love.
Evil takes up the space that love is barred from when it is unknown and unexpressed. It strangles out all else that might grow from the ground on which love is planted. The rise of mental illness; depression and anxiety is equal to the rate at which we destroy this planet and all of creation, the inescapable truth of which is imparted to us through technological wizardry meant to feed an insatiable hunger. And we just can’t hide from it. The more we destroy, the more we destroy ourselves. The more we grieve, the more we engage in excessive and self-indulgent behaviours meant to deny grief.
We cover our grief in one of two ways; through rage or false happiness. We see this through increased warfare, politically and personally. We see this through the rise of corporate religion that promises happiness by boxing up overwhelmingly deep and sacred questions and hand feeding answers to the masses. We see this in the glorification of the soldier and the shiny faced pastor, scowling and grinning at us from our TV and computer screens.
We could heal ourselves, each other and our planet if we were to only acknowledge the profound grief we carry; acknowledge it, express it and make room for it in our hearts and minds. Our grief could be channeled authentically into action that reaches out, one to one, for our grief could make us strong, could make us whole, could make us rise.
What causes us to resist sinking into that tender space where sorrow awaits? Are we fearful of the power of our grief and the beauty that could be revealed to us if we were peel back the layers of armor we have donned? Our grief is evidence of our love and our deep and burning desire to connect. Grief is a testimony to pure love – agape love – that which we are meant to achieve, to receive and to impart.
The anguish we experience but refuse to acknowledge is confirmation of our innate wisdom that informs us of our connection to the whole of life, the web of creation, to all our relations. If we were to sink into this we might well be rendered incapable of taking another step into the madness of our world. Rather, we might fall to our knees, weak with despondency, overcome with emotion that we can no longer deny or ignore or medicate but must feel. What hope we could find there! We could find each other there.
If I allow for my grief to move I awaken to the reality of love. I awaken to the beauty of tenderness and vulnerability – my own and yours. With this awakening comes the sweet understanding that I can no longer hurt you or be hurt by you. I needn’t rush to ‘closure’ for such a concept is an affront to my love and limits my capacity for love. I instead walk with my grief, fueled with the energy of compassion, aware of my place in the web, with my hand outstretched – asking and fulfilling.
Anyone alive on the planet today is in a state of grief. May your grief remind you of your compassion and your compassion remind you of your humanity. May the remembrance of your humanity be the impetus from which you evolve and transform; reaching out your hand to all of God’s Creation. And may your grief lead you to the depths of tenderness from which you will rise.