Grief and karma

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Knotty Veneer
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Grief and karma

Post by Knotty Veneer »

My wife died a year ago this weekend, and I'd like to share something that has helped me deal with the grief of losing her in case it might also be of use to others in a similar situation. If it offends your own understanding of karma and rebirth, or if you find it of no help to you, please feel free to ignore.

Our physical presence is only a small part of who we are, our karma, the causes we create have effects in this world, and endure long after our physical presence ceases. It outlives us and continues to manifest in the world after we are gone.

I can continue to mourn what I have lost - my wife's physical presence - or I can choose to see and enjoy the effects of the causes she created that are still a living presence in the world.

I see her in the art she created, in the slightly kooky way she decorated our home, in the people I would not have known if we had never met, in the cat she got that I didn't want, that I'm stuck with, and of whom I'm now very fond. I see her in my siblings who loved her like a biological sister, in all the lives she touched and the people who loved her. She was - and is still - everywhere in my life.

For a while after she died, I thought that the vibrant being she was was now just dust and memories. But I was wrong. She is so much more than that, she lives on. And, true, I would love to enjoy her physical presence once again but that is no longer possible. However, there is still so much of her here that lives on to touch and take pleasure in.

Knowing this helps me, and, although it maybe makes sense only to me, I hope this, personal and no doubt limited understanding of one aspect of cause and effect, might help someone else too.
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack, a crack in everything.
That's how the light gets in.


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Ayu
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Re: Grief and karma

Post by Ayu »

:namaste:
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Kim O'Hara
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Re: Grief and karma

Post by Kim O'Hara »

:namaste:
Knotty Veneer wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 11:58 am ...Our physical presence is only a small part of who we are, our karma, the causes we create have effects in this world, and endure long after our physical presence ceases. It outlives us and continues to manifest in the world after we are gone. ...
This idea was articulated by Douglas Hofstedter (sp??) of Godel Escher Bach fame some years ago, but without the Buddhist terminology, and made perfect sense to me at the time. It still does.
As Buddhists we should know that the self does not exist in the way most people think that it does. Seeing it as a web of thoughts, intentions, histories, influences, physical objects, etc, is closer to the truth; and it makes it easier to see what we have and haven't lost with the passing of anyone close to us.

:meditate:
Kim
Giovanni
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Re: Grief and karma

Post by Giovanni »

Thank you for sharing with us Knotty Veneer. I am moved by your words and by our shared humanity. It is in the relative truth of our lives that we can glimpse something beyond that. May you know peace. :namaste:
Natan
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Re: Grief and karma

Post by Natan »

Knotty Veneer wrote: Sun Jul 31, 2022 11:58 am My wife died a year ago this weekend, and I'd like to share something that has helped me deal with the grief of losing her in case it might also be of use to others in a similar situation. If it offends your own understanding of karma and rebirth, or if you find it of no help to you, please feel free to ignore.

Our physical presence is only a small part of who we are, our karma, the causes we create have effects in this world, and endure long after our physical presence ceases. It outlives us and continues to manifest in the world after we are gone.

I can continue to mourn what I have lost - my wife's physical presence - or I can choose to see and enjoy the effects of the causes she created that are still a living presence in the world.

I see her in the art she created, in the slightly kooky way she decorated our home, in the people I would not have known if we had never met, in the cat she got that I didn't want, that I'm stuck with, and of whom I'm now very fond. I see her in my siblings who loved her like a biological sister, in all the lives she touched and the people who loved her. She was - and is still - everywhere in my life.

For a while after she died, I thought that the vibrant being she was was now just dust and memories. But I was wrong. She is so much more than that, she lives on. And, true, I would love to enjoy her physical presence once again but that is no longer possible. However, there is still so much of her here that lives on to touch and take pleasure in.

Knowing this helps me, and, although it maybe makes sense only to me, I hope this, personal and no doubt limited understanding of one aspect of cause and effect, might help someone else too.
That's beautiful. She lives on through your hearts. I lost a lot of people close to me. Almost all. Growing up when I would hear how someone can live in in our hearts and memories. I used to think that was stupid. But it's true. I hear their voices advising me as if they are present. And they come to me in dreams and when I wake it's like we just visited. That didn't happen when they were alive. The ancient traditions talk about this part of life a lot and we've chosen to ignore it. But it's essential. You're really strong to be able to remain positive and let the love come out instead of being depressed.
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Agent Smith
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Re: Grief and karma

Post by Agent Smith »

Some really powerful insights offered by the OP. Muchas gracias, I'm in yer debt.

Grief is a terrible feeling and why is evident from its nature. We suffer when a loved one departs from our world and there's truth in that pain which perhaps is our farewell gift to the dying and the dead.

I've come across monks who claim that these are auspicious, blessed, good, perfect, times to be born - the dharma is so easy to access these days (this forum itself was just 3 - 4 mouse clicks away from news sites awash with bad news).

Requiescat in pace 💀🥀
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