A Peaceful Sadness

One week ago this morning, my grandmother died and I wept.  Tonight was her viewing and, at times, I shook with tears as I held family in my arms.  I was told, “Be joyful, this isn’t a time to be sad.”  Another said, “This isn’t like you.”  Before I go on, I am so thankful to them, they gave me their very best when they saw me with tears streaming down my face.  I could never ask for more.

I do feel joy for my grandmother, she has waited desperately for her life here to come to a close.  She was somewhat put out last July when I told her that my mother-in-law, who was twelve years younger than grandma, had died.  It was almost as if my mother-in-law had cut in line!  My tears tonight were not for grandma, they were for me and knowing that I will not see her for a very long time.  There were a few that held me tight as I cried and for them I am also grateful, an abiding peace filled me beneath the tears because of that acceptance.

Many times we try to cheer up those who are sad.  On the surface, there is heartfelt good intention:  We want people to feel happy.  Digging a bit deeper, we usually discover that we want others to feel happy so their sadness won’t disturb us.  We forget that sometimes to feel happy, we need to feel sadness first.  Short circuiting this and burying the sadness so we can put on a happy face is lying to ourselves and to everyone around us.  As Gurudev would say, the gestalt is not complete.

The reality of it all was that this was very much me.  It was me without the facade, with no pretense of any kind.  Allowing myself to be emotionally naked, to not hide anything, brought me greater peace than any facade I might create.  I have never felt more confident than I do now.  From this I have found that grief, unrestrained grief, is good for the soul.  Is it any wonder that we are commanded to mourn with those who mourn and that we are not commanded to cheer them up?

“Crying is one of the highest devotional songs.  One who knows crying, knows spiritual practice.  If you can cry with a pure heart, nothing else compares to such a prayer.  Crying includes all the principles of Yoga.”

~Swami Kripalvanandji, Bapuji

“Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die”

Jai Bhagwan