- Nothing is more painful than the loss of a loved one.
The grief that comes from the inevitable deaths of our family, friends,
and romantic partners often leaves us feeling as if the entire Universe
has collapsed. It is an inescapable heartache that cannot be remedied by
"happy thoughts" or affirmations or random "pleasures."
Death is sometimes a mercy for the dying, but for those left behind, it
is a thief to be hated.
- We grieve the dead because we miss their presence in
our lives, and we mourn in empathy for the end of their hopes and dreams.
But also, we grieve out of a sense of obligation and loyalty. To not grieve
would be akin to betrayal, an insult to the dead and a desecration of the
love and good times we've shared. We honor the dead with our tears, a testimony
that they are remembered and will live on in our hearts and souls.
- The physical death of loved ones is not the only cause
of grief. We mourn the loss of anything that gives us a sense of who we
are. We mourn our defeats and setbacks and blows to our self-esteem. We
mourn the death of goals and ambitions that give us direction and purpose.
We mourn the end of friendships and romantic relationships as though a
part of ourselves has died.
- This sense of loss is at the root of all human suffering.
What could be more painful than the feeling that a necessary piece of oneself
is LACKING? To not be whole and complete is our worst nightmare. When we
lose the things that we cherish most, we are left hollowed out like an
empty canoe, adrift with no map or compass.
- Unfortunately, loss is an intrinsic aspect of the human
condition. Nothing on Earth is permanent, not even the earth itself. The
world is in a perpetual state of transient flux. Everything that is born
must die. Therefore, everything we value that is OF the world must eventually
be abdicated. The only thing we can control is how we respond to this.
- The first step is to identify the root cause of all sense
of LACK. If we truly felt whole and complete, we would never want for anything.
Yet desire is the defining characteristic of Homo sapiens. Virtually all
of our behavior stems from the "need" to acquire something outside
of ourselves. But what of the radical possibility that we were made perfect
and complete, and hence, in need of no external acquisitions?
- Many religions and spiritual thought system warn us against
ascribing value to anything impermanent, i.e. everything of the world.
The apostle John said, "Love not the world, neither the things that
are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is
not in him." Buddha taught that the world is an illusion, and that
the root of all suffering is desire. This message of worldly abdication
is profoundly compassionate. It is a wake-up call to those sleeping not
to be enchanted with the happy dream, or tormented by the nightmare.
- Unless God is capable of making mistakes, the world as
we see it cannot be real. Only a cruel or insane God would create a reality
where his sons and daughters are forced into a state of perpetual SEEKING,
always in need of obtaining things outside of themselves. But God is neither
cruel, nor insane, so it can only mean that our perception of a world that
requires external acquisitions is FALSE.
- This fallacious belief is the root cause of self-destructive
and harmful behaviors. It is a tool that the ego uses to ensure its survival,
by convincing its owner that rewards do not exist in the present moment,
but must always be sought in the future. When one lives in the present,
the ego becomes irrelevant, as one realizes that nothing external is needed.
- The solution to this sense of lack is to re-discover
our own completeness. Until this is done, we experience life as a rollercoaster,
and ourselves as helpless victims being tossed about by an indifferent
Universe. Without completeness, our emotional wellness is easily and consistently
upset by circumstances beyond our control. Life's little "victories"
and "conquests" send us into euphoria, while life's inevitable
"tragedies" and "losses" leave us emotional cripples.
Without completeness, our goals and ambitions become a desperate and unattainable
quest for fulfillment through external rewards. Our relationships are poisoned
by possessiveness, and invariably degenerate into games of manipulation
and inflictions of guilt.
- There is only one method to re-discover one's completeness.
And that is to lay down everything of this world (i.e., everything impermanent,
and hence, not real), and live unconditionally in the Divine presence within.
This act may seem difficult or even impossible, but it can be as easy as
breathing. The first thing that one must realize is that nothing REAL is
excluded from God. The notion of a God that demands sacrifice of His children
is the great blunder in the history of man. He is all-inclusive, and bestows
nothing but love and all His sons and daughters.
- This laying down of worldly "things" is less
an act of literal abdication than a disposal of a destructive thought system.
This thought system is a way of seeing the world, our selves, and others.
Fundamentally, it is the idea that happiness can be obtained through things
outside of our selves. When Jesus warned us against the making of "false
idols," he was referring to everything that obscures our spiritual
identity. All false idols are created by the notion of acquisition, which
is a denial of the reality that everything one needs is already present.
At the core of this denial is the false perception of separateness from
God. Through the ages, God has been presented as a transcendent figure
"up there," when in reality, He is inseparable from you, and
you from Him.
- When one recognizes his intrinsic connectedness with
God, his focus shifts from "getting" what is "out there"
to extending what is inside of himself. External rewards are contracted,
limited, and impermanent. But internal rewards are infinite, all encompassing,
and eternal. One does not hesitate to share these rewards with others.
The ego experiences this as loss, because it cannot "win" unless
it keeps its rewards for itself. But any pleasure that is derived from
the "triumphs" of the ego pales in comparison to the joy of radiating
all of one's internal gifts outward.
- True devotion to God makes the experience of loss impossible,
because none of God's gifts can be threatened. He only offers what is real
and lasting and truly satisfying. In the presence of God, we recognize
our completeness as incorruptible and eternal. The nightmare of loss finally
comes to an end, and we awaken to the reality that everything real is with
- Michael Goodspeed (a.k.a. Stuart Andrew Talbott) is a
29 year-old writer and radio personality living in Portland, OR. He has
been a student of A Course in Miracles and many of the books of its devotees
since the age of 15. He may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
, but may NOT be reached through the Thunderbolts website.