Coping with loss

Try meditation coach Graham Doke’s five tips on dealing with bereavement


Coping with loss

1. Loss is inevitable

Everything changes, everything ends, but sometimes the loss is so painful, it is difficult to remember that fundamental truth. We want to believe everything will continue, and when it does not, the loss can overwhelm us and can hide the truth from us. But we can turn that loss around and use it to allow ourselves to reassess. We can examine the loss and the hurt and ourselves and our thinking, and slowly arrive at a new way of thinking that allows us to recognise our loss, accept it, and move on with a new perspective.

2. Recognise the one you lost in yourself

We all learn and absorb from people around us. Sometimes they teach us directly, others encourage us or enable us to see ourselves in a new light and wake us up to aspects of ourselves we never really saw. Look at yourself, realise how things you do are because that person influenced you in your life – whether that be a parent, a child, a partner or a dear friend. It could even be down small influences such as how you speak or what you wear. See how the one you have lost lives on in your life, an inseparable part of your life.

3. Realise your interdependence

As you recognise how that person has influenced you, recognise how your life is made up of the influences of people around you, from your parents to your teachers, to the person who employed you; those who make your lunchtime sandwiches, manage the grocery store, build the roads and the pavements and the building in which you live. The device on which you are reading this. See the rich, complex pattern of people all around you, all influencing you, as you influence them: recognise how you are dependent on them, and they are dependent on you.

4. Understand the constantly moving pattern of this interdependence

Life moves from this moment to the next: people walk from place to place, think from thought to thought, do this and then do that. Every action is a movement from this moment to the next: one moment ends, the next moment arrives. With every ending, there is a beginning. Take time every day, every hour, to pause and recognise this movement and the interdependence, this rich tapestry of life. Of ending, and beginning. Just as everything will end, so the new will begin.

5. Work out how you move in this pattern

As stuck as you feel in your loss, recognise how inevitably you are part of this constant movement. How you are moving on, inevitably. Your loss is real, the pain of your emotion is real – and it is deeply personal, no-one can ever tell you how you should feel. But as you are part of this movement, the emotion will move. You will go on in the rich tapestry of your life, the person you have lost an inextricable part of you, living on in your own life. Live on, celebrating how that person is in your life from day to day.

'Accepting Loss’ is one of the brand new self-development modules available on the Anamaya app available on the iTunes store now. With more than 350 meditations and 14 new therapy-based self-development modules, Anamaya offers help with specific day-to-day issues to help users develop their mind for ‘a better way of being’. 

Photograph: Istock