And what if we lose someone we love? When someone dies we feel sad. We can replace this painful reaction with a clear conscious response - holding their memory, keeping their goodness alive in our life. In this way we are acting directly to alleviate our loss. We are not stepping back and accepting the grief, we are acting positively at its source. The traditional thing to do in a Buddhist culture when somebody dies is to do something good in their memory. In this way we can be doing more even than keeping the memory of the person alive. We can be keeping that person alive in our actions. Say they were a father or mother. As their son or daughter we can be stepping in to their shoes, caring in the way they used to care. This can also mean looking after ourselves like Mum or Dad used to.
This is how, through compassion, we can let go.
If we have the opportunity to plan ahead we can find out from our elders, or any of our loved ones, what they would like us to do after they have gone and we can promise to do our best. Then our elder can go in peace, whenever their time comes.
This is how, through compassion, they can let go.
Then, when we are feeling better, we can take another look at the whole situation with an open mind and question what has really happened. It is clear that the body of the person has died but they were never just their body, were they? They are no longer around in the physical, material world, the realm of the senses, but they can still be very much around in the mind can’t they? Certainly they are still around in the mind and hearts of their loved ones.
If we meditate, withdrawing from the senses, it is possible to find in our hearts a memory or a presence that is stable and clear. Perhaps then we may also want to look for something further beyond the world of the senses, something that is not tied up with the body. We can want to withdraw from the body, knowing now how vulnerable that body really is. We may want to learn to meditate and find out for ourselves what lies within. Many Buddhists believe, or even see, that there is something about this inner space that is beyond death. And if we cannot see in this way we can still have found a refuge in our life beyond the suffering of the body. Perhaps this is what our loved one, having known such suffering, would want for us most of all.
Reading by the Author
I offer this for your reflection