Among emotions, grief is one of the most complex and unpredictable. Because grief is fundamentally love that has suddenly been injured and unilaterally redefined, grief is almost completely unpredictable when viewed by others. In the next few posts I will present my explanatory model for how we collect, process and share love, a model of our invisible metaphysical organ, the human soul.
No one loves grief, because grief suddenly steals some of, much of, or all of the love we carry in our soul from us. This emptiness makes us feel hollow and fearful that we might never be able to replace that love we have lost from someone dying. I will try to model and explain how the love from that person remains among us, and that that love becomes a shared responsibility for those who loved that person.
I am a technician by nature, so it is natural that I try to build a model of what I am trying to understand. Models are simply simulations where we can functionally test inputs and reactions without complete understanding of the systems that we might not yet understand, or perhaps we will never understand how they work but want to know how they respond and function. To be functional, models need some fidelity with real life reactions. Humans are the most complex organic machines in the universe. We are highly evolved mobile chemical super computers and motion systems powered by self contained chemical plants that refine the food we eat into energy and waste. We will never completely understand how we function, perhaps we are not meant to, but we can observe how we react and how we learn, how we are drawn to some things and repelled by others
As a technical male, I was probably much less spiritual and understanding of what we call our soul and of love, than the average person. Certainly, men are generally challenged by talking about what we don’t fully grasp, and that includes both love and grief.
Grief was a great awakening in my life, right into the middle of a parent’s worst nightmare. The very public grief of our son’s death stripped me of all of my layers of protective armour and thrust my naked soul in front of TV cameras and a caring community that we had raised our family in. I became an open book, and I began to see things differently in myself that I had never let myself see, or perhaps lacked the vision to see.
In my journeys of grief, I felt a need for a simpler but somehow deeper and more universal understanding of love. Life and religions tell us to love, but what exactly does that mean? People speak of souls, but the existence of a soul is impossible to prove in the physical world, we can’t see or touch a soul to understand if it is wounded, we have only evidence of the primal pain that grief brings to us.
Grief is not a specifically religious experience, but grief is a universal part of all religions who try to explain loss or give life some purpose. For some, faith sufficiently answers the unanswerable questions and is a suitable guide through grief. Me. the technician, needed a model more than I needed a parable, but my model does not conflict with the religious concepts of a soul, it coexists with them.
It took a long journey through my grief to find happiness again, but that now happy journey continues and has made me more appreciative of love, more open in love, and more urgent about sharing love. While the journey has likely made me less religious in the sense of organized religions, it has made me far more spiritual than I would have ever imagined.
One of the great things about love is flexibility and creativity. We each define what love means to us, what language our love will speak with each person we share love with, and how we will collect, process and share love with others. The challenge is often that love happens so naturally, we believe that love is simple and requires little of no input or guidance from our conscious life and so we rarely come to more fully understand it. I now see love as a conscious choice that we allow and enable, in each and every part of our lives, with significant subconscious management that we probably have little control over.
Much of the complexity of grief is that there are so many intertwined and often tangled forms of love in the relationship we had, and so many inputs and outputs and other people’s love connected to our love for a person, our love for life, and our love for ourselves. Humans cease to emulate mechanical or logical systems whenever we deal with emotions. Emotions have far too many dimensions for a human to grasp, and emotions when destabilized are too complex to allow us to predict how any one person will process and react to the real world inputs that are part of daily life.
Grief involves more than one person, grief is a community event shared by all of the people who have loved that one who has died. This renders grief impossible to predict, and hard to fit into a single path of healing. Grief is as individual as your fingerprint, yours is unique while being similar to all those who will grieve this loss.
My model centers on visualizing our invisible soul, where I believe we process, store and share the love we connect to in life. Our soul is the only place where we process love, and the only nourishment a soul needs is love. My model will then define love as a life force energy that we need to maintain our soul and live a good and happy life that we love living.
I created this visualized model to help me understand my feelings through grief, and it may provide a basis which will help you find methods to distill the spirit of your loved one, and to discard or ignore those parts of grief that cause ongoing pain or unwanted distraction. This will simplify and concentrate your memories of a lost loved one, and you will be able to speak and teach from that love, not without emotion, but the goal is easily accessible memories for a lifetime without pain that keeps you away from accessing and sharing those memories.
Because the human soul cannot be seen, or imaged using technology, we can safely say that the soul does not exist in our physical world. That said, we have solid evidence of both the human soul and of love, in the feelings of both love and loss of a loved one.
If I use them word metaphysical to explain the soul, many will misinterpret what I trying to say as mysticism. I explain that I believe that human soul is real, and that it is physically dimensionless. From my perspective, the entire purpose of the human soul is love. Our souls survive and grow on only love. Your soul collects and shares love, and also selectively accepts love that is shared with you.
We are each born with an empty soul. In the early days of our lives, parents and family provide the immediate love that fills our new soul to a level of comfort and happiness. We learn to seek love, to feel love, and to give love. Our soul has no limits on its expansion or its contraction.
As we grow up, we begin to find our own passions and expand our sources to find love and to share love. Our souls grow and shrink, much like a heartbeat. Love of learning, love of activities, love of community and friends, and love of self create many opportunities to form connections which enable the flows of love to and from our souls.
As we become adults, we begin to share love between two people. When we love someone, we extend a connection of love to their soul, and they do the same to our soul. We each chose how much love to share. If the relationship grows in purpose, the sharing of love grows, if either side stops sharing love, the connections slowly wither and die, because love needs flows of energy in both directions. As love deepens we begin to build a shared soul that will become our family’s soul. When we have children, we attach their souls to our own soul, as well as to our families soul, and the very private connections between two lovers continue to flow love as well.
Our souls are reservoirs of the love that we have gathered in our lives. From that reservoir, we gift love to other humans that we choose to share our love with. Some of those gifts of our love are lasting connections where love flows in both directions, constantly or intermittently depending on the relationship. The pathways of this exchange of love are what grief damages and disrupts. The emotions we feel in grief will be directly connected to the intensity and severity, the breadth and depth of the love that we have shared with that person we have loved.
Next up, I will do my best to define love in a way that makes grief more understandable. See: https://distillinggrief.com/2023/04/25/what-is-love/
Until then, spend some time pondering your soul and looking for cracks and leaks that are caused by everyday life and by singular damaging events. Those leaks can pile up and make it impossible to love your life at this point in time. Repairing that damage is our goal.
Be well and peaceful, build love in your life and the lies around you daily. Love is life.