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Meditation and Mourning?

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This topic contains 22 replies, has 5 voices, and was last updated by  eaglestare 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

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  • #57258

    eaglestare
    Participant

    My husband and I had 2 dogs, a collie Cirrus, and a black German shepherd Rook. We both developed special relationships and strong bonds with them. Their special gift to me, among many, was helping me practice meditation, tai chi, be mindfully aware, and just BE. I did this a lot, always in their presence, with them either watching me, and just being with me, and me focusing on the moment and enjoying their presence, especially among nature. We must have walked millions of miles together in those 11-14 years we had them.

    Last year, Cirrus passed away. About a month ago, Rook passed away. Whenever I try to practice meditation or tai chi, I think of Rook and how he was with me in those special moments, and how when he was sick and had moments of good energy we would still be able to feel each others presence and enjoying just being together celebrating the little miracles.

    I remember particular enlightening moments with him by my side out in the forest or by the lake, or wherever we walked together. I would always make a point to take my time, not be in a hurry and just enjoy being with him and nature. When I feel this connection of him and being in the moment, like walking meditation, I start missing him, and I feel like I can’t do any of this without him to support me. Whenever I wasn’t at work, my life was focused on him and I couldn’t wait to walk with him and practice being. Intense sadness comes over me in this time of mourning, and I think, “How can I ever do this again? How can I mediatate without him?” He was always part of my practice. He helped me snap out of my thoughts and feelings and enjoy peace and happiness.

    This feeling kind of happened while mourning the loss of Cirrus last year, but this feeling of strong connection between Rook and my meditation practice and feeling part of nature seems to be deeper, blocking my ability to be in the moment while out in nature, because I end up missing him, think he should be with me now, and all that stuff that goes with grieving. Sometimes when I’m out at the park, I keep thinking about him instead, and end up talking to him hoping he can somehow sense me and hear me, and I tell him that even if I can’t see him, to follow me and be all around me anyway, and let me sense his presence. I invite Cirrus, too.

    Do any of you have ideas about this? How do I continue practicing without always getting sad? When I was mourning over Cirrus, my tai chi instructor said when I get sad, stop, and just go for a walk. At that time it was easy to do because Rook was there to nudge my hand and bring me back to the moment and give me little breaks from my sadness. Thanks for any insight you can offer me. Otherwise, though, I am doing okay and hanging in there, hoping time will lessen the pain.

    Patricia

    #57263

    @Jasmine-3
    Participant

    Hi Patricia,

    I am so sorry for your loss but it is not all bad Patricia. You must cheer up and do not let your dogs down. The dogs have come into your life to teach you some valuable lessons and when their work was done, they left and started on another journey. We are all on our own journeys. Think of it like taking a train from A to Z. So many people board the train that we are in and leave as soon as their station arrives. Some enter at X and leave at Z while others enter at A and leave at C etc. We may speak with some, we may connect with others, some we may just ignore but we do not get attached to any or take them home with us, do we ? Nor do we get down at an earlier station to accompany those that we have made good friends with. Do you get the drift ?

    Meditation is also like a journey. It is a journey for the soul to reach from A (current state) to Z (purity, infinite dimensions, time less etc). Some come along to help us out in the journey but at the end of the day, it is our journey and we have to do it alone. A little sad but as our consciousness grows, we realise that we are not this body or a human. We are much bigger and infinite than that and we are all one and connected. Your dogs are with you but in a different form, which you may not be able to access as yet. But let your consciousness and awareness grow and I assure you that it wont be so sad anymore and things will become easier and clearer.

    Now wipe those tears and focus on what lies ahead. You are on the right path. Don’t give up now. And just a thought: why don’t you adopt 2 more dogs and teach them meditation too ? Who says that we only get to have rook and cirrus only in our lives ? I have 2 beautiful dogs as well who just bring the most amount of happiness into my life and have helped me become a better person.

    Blessings,

    Jasmine

    #57268

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Patricia,

    The deaths are pretty recent. Dogs are harder to lose than cats (and I’m a cat person!).

    Why don’t you try a new, different form of meditation? You would still be meditating, but in a different way. Like, Mantra Chanting, for example. Or guided meditations in the car or in nature?

    What you could do is put a picture of Rook (the favorite, let’s be honest! lol) in a pendant, so he is with you when you want to meditate in your old way.

    Getting new puppies is a great idea too!

    I know the feeling of “It’s Just Not the Same”. I went to a Quaker meeting house for years and years. When my godmother/mentor/”aunt” who also went there died, I just Could. Not. Go. To. Service. There. Again. Be gentle with yourself. There are a hundred ways to meditate and be in nature if it’s too hard right now.

    #57280

    Matt
    Participant

    Patricia,

    I’m sorry for your losses, and hope your grief passes with time. To me, it seems the feelings are all twisted up, the mind all twisted with different views. Very normal for grief, usual, disorienting. A few things came to heart as I read your words.

    First, its very normal to feel like “something is amiss”. Part of the tranquility you built involved companions. They were there during practice, during walks, part of the safety of “home”. So, its OK to feel a part missing, it is. This also makes it fertile though. Because you carried them with you into a mindful space, your grief very noticeably collapses that space. But that’s all it is, grief, and over time will settle back into love. Now, a feeling of “something missing”, but as it heals, “wonderful memories”.

    Next, consider that dumbo flew without his magic feather. You don’t need the dogs to be mindful, mindfulness is all within. Don’t be afraid that just because they are gone, you’ll lose all the beautiful practice and effort. They were just a magic feather, in that regard, and your wings have always worked without them. The pulling is part of that grief, the fear that you can’t, the fear that you won’t. Just part of the loss, and with time, you’ll see you never needed them, it was just beautiful to share that space with companions.

    Finally, be patient with yourself, trust yourself. You’re going through a process, and will emerge with radiance on the other side of it. Don’t let the minor or major disorientations that spring forward during grieving cause you to question deep aspects of yourself. Just breathe, make space, let it flow in and out. The wisdom grows naturally, easily when we let it. We don’t have to relentlessly seek it. That’s just pain, making us agitated. Breathe in those moments, they’ll pass.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #57295

    eaglestare
    Participant

    Thank you Jasmine, Inky, and Matt, for your understanding, support, and words of wisdom. Each one of you provided insight into my specific “dilema”, and helped me to gain the right perspective. The analogies of the train as the journey, and of Dumbo’s magic feather and wings turned on the “light bulb” (blink blink blink!) in me immediately. Thank you! Thank you for the reminders that we are more than this body, and that we are all one and connected.

    I had never thought about using different ways of meditation. That might help me disassociate Rook with the ability to practice. When I read about that, I first thought of Thich Nhat Hanh’s approach while breathing in and out, like “I am here”, and so forth. I also thought of some visualization techniques I learned from Shakti Gawain. There are different kinds of Taoist meditation as well. Being in nature brings on the deepest (or most painful) emotions of grieving because that is where Rook and I connected the most. He (and Cirrus) were a connection to nature. But I am making a point to get out there anyway and rollerski (!) even though I am now alone. My husband is grieving in a different, but also in a deep way, and walking together is too painful for him right now.

    I do have a pawprint on clay, made by the vet, that I could hold, but I don’t know if that will cause more or less emotion, help or hinder the process of meditating, but of course, whatever happens, I simply observe that, right?

    Inky, did you eventually go back to that church?

    …and as you say, I will be patient, breathe, make space, let it flow in and out. If I get stuck in a rut, I will definitely go back and reread your messages for support. Any other comments would be greatly appreciated.

    Patricia

    #57298

    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Patricia,

    Yes, I did go back as my kids were in the Quaker School. But, like the train analogy, there were other stations. We moved to the north of our town, so we naturally went more to a closer church. Then when I went back, all I could do was remember godmother/mentor/aunt. To make it worse, they spread her ashes at the Meeting House! So it’s more like visiting a gravesite to me ~ to remember her, not worship. It also represented a phase of my life, my 20’s and early 30’s. So I totally get the feeling!!

    The tenants of Quakerism we carry inside us, anyway. My mom also was brought up by the Friends. Grandpapa was an Elder. Family history ~ after moving from PA, they found this Meeting House wasn’t Gwynedd (what is?) so Mom worshipped in her own way.

    I recommend A Quaker Book of Wisdom if you can get a copy.

    OK, Big SNIFF!! (I miss that woman!) Yes, and cry too, that helps!!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  Inky.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 9 months ago by  Inky.
    #57790

    BenzRabbit
    Participant

    Hi Patricia,

    Pets are our Angels on earth !

    I understand how difficult it is for you since I have a cat that is my ‘baby’ !

    Please know pets are like human souls who cross over but still watch over us in spirit – that is why you can still feel them around !

    I pray your heart heals soon.

    GOD bless !

    #57976

    eaglestare
    Participant

    Thank you for understanding and your insightful words and prayers. Sometimes it does feel like they are around, or at least should be around. Everything that is natural and beautiful reminds me of Rook right now. Like now I’m thinking (uh-oh), “This is the same sky, the sun, the moon, the clouds, the forest, the lake (etc.) I gazed at in awe with you, and now you are part of that.” Even so, it doesn’t stop me from missing him and wishing he were here to meditate and walk with me in nature. It’s like I’m resisting enjoying nature because I have to do it without him next to me. Or it’s because I don’t want to enjoy nature without him. I can’t, or I don’t want to, or maybe it’s all just part of the grieving process. I think, it took me a long time for the grieving to lessen for our other dog who died over a year ago, and it will be less painful or less frequent tears over time, but it sure is hard when I’m in the sadness.

    Last night I was sleeping in my husband’s arms, and when I moved slightly, he suddenly woke up and thought I was Rook, that Rook was laying on his arm. That’s when it started all over again, even though it was kind of nice that it seemed so real to him and it felt warm and comforting to him. He and Rook had an especially strong deep bond. I am sure there was a deep sense of yearning or disappointment that it wasn’t real, that he couldn’t really hold him.

    I also had a dream that I was cooking scrambled eggs and asked Rook if he wanted some eggs, and then I saw him and said is that you, want some eggs (one of his favorite), and as he sat there looking at me, I called to him “come”, but he didn’t come, and I called and motioned for him to “come” again, but he disappeared and I woke up, I think. I don’t know if it was imagination or a “visit”, but I was initially disturbed and disappointed that it was not real and I couldn’t hold him. In a way, though, it kind of makes me smile, because he sure liked scrambled eggs!

    So, it is still hard, it sometimes feels like the waves are getting worse instead of less. Then when it’s less painful, I feel afraid that I’m going to forget the wonderful feeling of being in his presence. Then I think I make myself bring the sad wave on again. Hard to explain, but if any of you have ever grieved deeply before, I wonder if you know what I mean.

    Patricia

    P.S. I just read and reread the messages from all who have replied above, and it does help me gain a better perspective. Thanks!

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by  eaglestare.
    • This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by  eaglestare.
    #58134

    @Jasmine-3
    Participant

    Hey Hey Patricia

    You are doing really well in your circumstances. Hope the good days will come become more frequent than bad days. Can you try to listen to some peppy or up beat music everytime emotions try to take you over in the wrong direction ?

    Blessings,

    J

    #58191

    eaglestare
    Participant

    Yes, I have on occasion purposely switched to more upbeat music. I am a professional musician with sensitive ears, and sometimes certain type of music makes me miss him in a sad way. Even when I am performing, sometimes I will get tears. So, yes, changing the type of music I listen to can change the listener’s energy or state-of-mind. Thanks for the reminder, and your support!

    Patricia

    #58194

    @Jasmine-3
    Participant

    Hey Patricia

    This one does it for me when I am scared to start the night shift. See if you can do a wiggle on this one 🙂

    Love,

    J

    #58213

    eaglestare
    Participant

    Jasmine, that is definitely a FEEL GOOD song! Thanks! Tonight I went to a chi gung class (relaxing exercises like tai chi), and then walked along the lake with my sister-in-law and her dogs. It was nice because I was able to feel the peace and tranquility of my surroundings and just take my time walking like I used to. So, I guess there is hope that I can still enjoy the present moment and smile!

    Patricia

    #58214

    @Jasmine-3
    Participant

    Hey Patricia

    A big hug for the good news :). I am so glad you had a wonderful tonight. Hoooooooraaaay for tomo and every other day. You are so worth it and can you try and put a smile on hubbys face as well.

    J

    #62440

    eaglestare
    Participant

    Here’s an update about where I am in the grieving process…I did make a difficult decision to adopt a dog from the Humane Society where I’ve been volunteering at since our German sherpherd dog Rook died. It was hard because we are still mourning, and it is still very painful sometimes, and moreso for my husband. Even so, it seemed unbearable without the presence of a dog, I had an opportunity to rescue a dog I had particular interest in, and I wanted to use the skills I had acquired over the years as pack leader to our two dogs Rook and Cirrus (collie) to help another.

    Rook is almost always on my mind and in my heart as we go for walks, especially because where we go, like in certain spots at the park, I remember being there sharing special moments with him. I sometimes whisper to him, and Cirrus, explaining to them we are not replacing them with this new dog, to please show her how to be, and welcome her to the pack. I ask them to let us feel the presence of their spiritual essences all around us and in us, and comfort us when we feel the pain of missing them. Even if they cannot hear me, it does help me somehow.

    The good news is that recently I made myself finally walk alone in a special forested park by the water that I used to walk Rook and shared special moments together, carrying a coat he used to wear that still had some of his hair on it. I let myself feel what I felt, let the tears flow when they did, and talked to him when I wanted to say something to him. I stopped at a special beautiful spot and once the pain subsided and tears stopped, I let myself take in the surroundings with my senses, and once again I could feel the warmth of the sun, the summer breeze, hear the rustling of the leaves from the canopy of trees, see the light of sunset on the trees, and hear the gentle waves crashing below. And just as this has happened before while being out with Rook, everything around me appeared bigger and clearer, and I could really feel the moment.

    I know that I can meditate without his form being next to me. I now know it is possible. It does not stop me from missing him, but I was glad that I found it in myself again. Perhaps his presence will always be in me. I tell him, you are peace and joy.

    Patricia

    • This reply was modified 5 years, 6 months ago by  eaglestare.
    #62476

    @Jasmine-3
    Participant

    @eaglestare

    Hi Patricia

    Thanks for updating us. I was thinking about you a few days ago so your update was a pleasant surprise. I am so pleased to hear that you are finding yourself again and moving forward. And and and and how lucky is this new doggie ? He must be getting ooooodles of love and cuddles 🙂 What have you named him ? Is he into meditation much ?

    My younger one is going through a phase currently whereby he is not interested in meditation anymore so he has been sitting outside watching out for the neighbours cat and birds lol

    Best wishes and may you continue to feel more and more bliss in life and thank you so much for getting another doggie friend. Rook and Cirrus must have a big smile on their faces now 🙂

    Jasmine

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