A sad and serious man

Are you struggling with loss? Do you feel trapped in pain and wonder whether there’s a way out?

According to Sadhguru, grief is a gift. In his book Death: An Inside Story, he shares practical advice for people who are still alive but have been impacted by death, explaining how to overcome painful feelings of grief after someone close to you has died.

Continue reading to learn Sadhguru’s view of grief that might cause you to look at death and other losses in a new light.

Sadhguru on Grief

According to Sadhguru, grief’s true nature must become apparent if you hope to overcome it. He contends that grief isn’t just the automatic human response to death. Rather, when you feel the pain of grief, you’re suffering the loss of what that person added to your life. You feel as if a part of you has died; consequently, you believe that you’re fundamentally broken, missing something necessary for life.

However, Sadhguru contends that, to live a perfect life, you don’t need anything or anyone—not even the love of your life. Grief makes this fact more apparent by stripping away the things you used to think you needed. For this reason, grief is a valuable opportunity for spiritual growth.

To Overcome Grief, Give More Love to Others

According to Sadhguru, when someone you love dies, you’ll find that your love for them will grow much more intense. All the little things that annoyed you about this person while they were alive will be gone. Since they can’t upset you anymore, you’ll naturally be filled with overwhelming love for the idealized version of them. Unless you do something, this love will keep you trapped in your grief and pain because you’ll be trying and failing to care for someone who no longer exists.

(Shortform note: Some experts note that idealizing a loved one who has recently passed can keep you trapped in another way: If their negative qualities continue to impact your psyche, but you’re unwilling to acknowledge those qualities out of respect for the dead, it can keep you from full self-awareness. For example, imagine you work as a lawyer because your late father pressured you into following in his footsteps. If you refuse to consider that your father, despite his good qualities, was a controlling person, you may never realize that his memory is the only reason you’re not switching to a better career.)

Sadhguru insists that, to overcome grief, you need to redirect this outpouring of love toward people who are still living. Find people who need your compassion and give generously to them. Filling your life with the joy of service is the best way to move past your hopeless attachment to those who have passed. Additionally, if your loved one’s life and death inspire you to become a better person, your acts of service become a way of honoring their memory.

The End of a Romantic Relationship Can Also Provoke Grief

In an article for those who have recently been broken up with by a significant other, Mark Manson offers advice that’s surprisingly relevant to our conversation about grief. Like Sadhguru, Manson argues that when somebody leaves, you don’t really miss them—you miss what they added to your life. However, Manson gets more specific, asserting that you’re losing the meaning that they brought to your life. After you’ve invested years of effort and love into a relationship with someone, losing it leaves you without a clear idea of what, if anything, is worth living for.

To recover from this loss, you must find new sources of meaning. This is one explanation for why Sadhguru’s recommendation to focus on loving other people is such a potent cure for grief—helping other people makes your life feel meaningful again. Likewise, letting the loss you’re grieving inspire you to help others could help you retain some of the meaning of the relationship you’ve built. You turn your actions into evidence that your relationship wasn’t for nothing.

Whereas Sadhguru argues that grief forces you to confront the fact that you don’t need anything to be happy, Manson contends that we all have three specific emotional needs: status, connection, and security. When you lose someone, you need to find new relationships that help you meet these needs. For instance, you may decide to spend more time with close friends to fulfill your need for connection or start a nonprofit foundation to fulfill your need for status.
Sadhguru: Grief Is a Valuable Opportunity to Grow

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

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