Zen and Grief

Some mindfulness masters teach, that you cannot fully begin to meditate until you have wept deeply. I once read a story of a Zen teacher who flirted with meditation for years before he decided to commit. He recalled how he wept openly and often for two years and after he had grieved for many things in his life, only then was he able to sit in silence.

I was sitting outside this morning, feeling the pull of profound grief and sadness for the life I had uncovered. For the loss, for the pain, for the torture for the years that I clung to survival as my only way of life. Sad for the years of having no hope, no dreams, no promises made…thinking that whoever came into my life would go. Not by virtue of old age, sickness or played out friendships. But would just turn around and go.

I began to recall the lesson about weeping. I thought about the many times during guided meditation that I would begin to shed tears. Not weeping, but feeling the unmistakable wetness on my cheek from tears. It was always at that time, I stopped and pulled myself back to reality. The reality of kids, shopping lists or work. Never understanding that perhaps those tears marked the beginning of my spirit wanting to open up, cleanse myself from grief and help guide me on my path.

Before I came in to write this, I grabbed a cottonwood floaty made a wish, blew it away and came in to write.

I wished I could go away deep in the woods without the sounds of the world and cry. I thought about a story I once read of the girl in the silver boat who had gone through the woods and came out on a beautiful shore. I thought about my intense pull to grieve.

Maybe someday I will get the chance to be like the girl in the silver boat, but then again, I realize that is just a story. A book, a metaphor. Perhaps the person who said they wept for years is also a story, a metaphor.

It seems I long for the same endings that people get in stories, movies, and books. It seems that sometimes I don’t have faith in my ability to heal completely because I feel like its just words I am supposed to feel, not feelings I am supposed to feel.

I’m having a hard time feeling the words. My body, my mind wants to feel the feelings. I yearn to be like those who have the ability to go find solace in quiet places. I’m not ready to dwell in those places. I know that its the way it is right now.  I accept it and respect the reality and the process of healing. Someday, perhaps I hope to grieve that too.

I am not a Zen teacher. I don’t necessarily want to be able to sit for hours. I do, however, intend to stay the path.  I set my intention every morning, I try to evolve but know deep down inside that without shedding the tears, feeling the words, I will never heal the way I want to heal. Without grieving over the life that was, I will just scab over and create a new gnarly scar. 


6 thoughts on “Zen and Grief

  1. I absolutely can relate to that. And I agree it must need to come out..it can be so painful though. That grief can feel never ending sometimes. I try to remember it time limited. Sometimes that works better then other times.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for writing this. It seems all I’m doing us crying lately. I can’t stop it so I figure it’s got to come out. So much loss, grief, anger, hurt, pain. It’s almost too much to bear. Jx


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