The Experience of Loss
It’s difficult to see the purpose and gain meaning for disturbing or painful experiences. There has been so much chaos, destruction and disharmony in the world lately – much of it caused by nature and much also caused by humans. Images of despair visit us daily in our homes and have a profound effect on how we feel and on how we view life.
When something difficult to appreciate or accept happens we typically ask: ‘Why did this happen?’ That isn’t always the most appropriate question to ask because we usually cannot understand why things happen. More to the point is trusting that what happens needs to happen for some greater purpose. And the question to ask is: ‘What can I/we learn from what has happened?’
There is a principle in life that states when something negative happens there is something out of alignment, something that needs to change in order to be in harmony with the bigger picture. Therefore when something negative happens there is something we need to learn in order to do our part in bringing about the needed change.
Since we are all part of humanity what occurs to others does in some way also affect us. What is happening on the planet is universal in nature, speaking to all of humanity at this time. So reflecting on the significance of hurricane Katrina and other ‘disasters’ we can gain some soul perspectives that might help us learn from this experience and serve us well for the future.
Death, injury and destruction of property teaches us about loss. We experience loss in order to see more clearly what we value and what is of greatest value.
Loss of family and friends through death is a reminder of our own mortality, and a prompting to realize that death is not the end but a transition to a new life. It can teach us to live life more fully in the present and be grateful for the people and experiences in our life.
Loss through experience of injury is a reminder that pain and limitation is an opportunity to learn lessons, reflect and awaken potentials within ourselves. The soul suffers no injury, and needs to be relied upon at this time. When the body can do everything we want, we often neglect the soul within.
Loss through destruction of property and things owned is a reminder that material things are temporary. It also teaches us to take care of what we have. It can also remind us to discriminate between what we need and what we desire. Often suffering occurs when we have indiscriminately accumulated far more than what we need and have been obsessed or controlled by our possessions.
Loss makes people turn within. This connects us with our fears, our values, our hopes and expectations. But more than anything it connects us with our fragility and vulnerability.
Loss is an experience of being wounded. We experience it in our feeling nature which tells us we need to re-evaluate our relationships – how we feel about and connect with life and other people.
One of the more significant meanings of ‘natural disasters’ is to put us in right relationship to nature. They make us realize that we are not the center of the universe, that we cannot control everything that happens, that we are part of a dynamic, complex life that is much bigger and more powerful than we are. It is also a wake up call letting us know that nature is powerful and if we don’t respect and align with it we can cause more destruction through not taking responsibility for abusing our environment.
When we realize this we must ask ourselves how to live harmoniously within life. We must also ask ourselves what is important in life and what we ought to be spending our time, energy and money doing and supporting.
Experiences of loss can be quite humiliating, which essentially means putting us in our place so that we can relate appropriately. We humans tend to be rather arrogant in our efforts to control.
Loss is always a time of renewal. Renewal must first take place within our thoughts. We must re-think our lives and make decisions that will better serve our purpose than continue to cater to our sense of comfort and control. This is a time to begin creating a new future in line with the new consciousness of sharing that is dawning in the human psyche at this time.
We can do this if our thinking goes in the direction of awakening feelings of responsibility toward the environment, and feelings of equality, acceptance and respect toward our fellow humans.
Loss prompts us to restore right relationships. As long as we think we can control everything it will be proven to us that we cannot. As long as we disregard the fact that we are part of nature, we will suffer the disconnections. As long as we judge ourselves superior to others or be judgmental toward them, that inequality will be challenged and we will experience fear of our brothers and sisters. That fear will motivate us to do some things that are harmful to others and to ourselves.
Our disregard or ignorance of right relationships blocks the soul from expression but at the same time evokes its presence. Let experiences and feelings of loss teach us the needed lessons so that we can touch the soul and have it infuse our minds, hearts and behaviours with empowering, confident, intelligent love.
1. What losses have you experienced that you find difficult to accept?
2. What can you learn from these?
3. What soul qualities do you need to express as a result
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