The human mind wants to make sense of things. So we often look for reasons for the things that happen in our lives – especially the things that feel out of our control.
The experience of losing someone or something extremely important to us can feel very out of control! (As always, I’m using the term “loss” to include your loss of a direct connection with someone when they die, and the loss of your connection with all that you know as a human when you die.)
Finding an answer to the existential question “Why did this happen to me?” can make an unbearable experience easier to bear. Identifying that answer may not be straightforward, and you may never come up with a fully satisfactory reason, but the search itself can enrich your life.
There are many ways to look at the question. Someone with a rational outlook might look for a cause-and-affect connection in the sciences: medicine, physics, or psychology. A person who sees the world as created or cared for by a deity or deities might look to holy books or other lore for answers. Someone whose worldview is based on letting go of attachments or lessening their egoic identification might not search for a reason, but may see the purpose of the question as an opportunity to practice detachment from needing an answer.
A colleague of mine has created a blog that focuses on looking beyond loss itself in the search for the meaning it might hold. (Something I love to do with my clients when they’re ready.) She asked me to write about a loss I had experienced. I wrote about a loss wasn’t a death. Well, it was in a way, but not of a animate being.
Was there a lesson for me in this loss? Is there a greater plan that tore me from what I enjoyed and shifted my entire life? Was the purpose of the loss my discovery of what I didn’t know about myself? Was it simply grist for my personal development?
In some ways, the answer is a combination of all those. Here’s the post, titled A Forced Reinvention.
As I said above, we each have different ways of “meaning making” or finding a purpose. There is not just one right answer and there are no wrong answers. The search, though, can be quite insightful.
I hope you find the essay useful as you consider what may lay beyond the pain of your loss and grief.
P.S. Check out the rest of Jaya’s blog and be sure to sign up there for email alerts when new posts are posted!