Dealing with sorrow and grief in our lives.

Sorrow and grief are normal reactions to tragic circumstances that can happen in our lives. It is also helpful not to place a time frame on how long it takes to recover. However, if you feel that it has been too long, and you are finding it hard to move on and get back to as normal a life as possible then this story may be helpful. I remember reading this story many years ago and its principles have stayed with me all these years. Sometimes I practice them well and other times not so well, but one thing is certain, at least from my own experience, it works, it really does.

“There is an old Chinese tale about a woman whose only son died. In her grief, she went to the holy man and asked, “What prayers, what magical incantations do you have to bring my son back to life?”Instead of sending her away or reasoning with her, he said to her, “Fetch me a mustard seed from a home that has never known sorrow. We will use it to drive the sorrow out of your life.” The woman went off at once in search of that magical mustard seed.

She came first to a splendid mansion, knocked at the door, and said, “I am looking for a home that has never known sorrow. Is this such a place? It is very important to me.”They told her, “You’ve certainly come to the wrong place,” and began to describe all the tragic things that recently had befallen them.

The woman said to herself, “Who is better able to help these poor, unfortunate people than I, who have had misfortune of my own?”She stayed to comfort them, then went on in search of a home that had never known sorrow. But wherever she turned, in hotels and in other places, she found one tale after another of sadness and misfortune.

The woman became so involved in helping others cope with their sorrows that she eventually let go of her own. She would later come to understand that it was the quest to find the magical mustard seed that drove away her suffering.”

While it may not be advisable to knock on stranger’s doors asking if they need help or support, it is feasible to maybe pick up the phone and speak to a friend or neighbour who is struggling. If emotional support is not your strength, then possibly provide some practical help like helping a friend or neighbour with something around their home. It is amazing how therapeutic it can be to help another especially when we are in pain. Life is a great leveler and just knowing what other people have been through can help to ease our own pain. You might even find some helpful tips on how to move beyond your own grief from those who have travelled a similar path. Negative emotions are a bit like stray cats, if you don’t feed them they won’t stay.

Wishing you all the best in your journey

Phil Miranda

Mindfulness and Grief: With guided meditations to calm the mind and restore the spirit

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