Have you ever noticed the way people grieve? There seems to be those who grieve from an ego perspective, and those who grieve from an integrative perspective. To some degree, you will notice a little of ego and integrative responses in the process of letting go. We live in a society where being able to become independent is necessary to exist in the world. From the moment we are born, we are observed by the medical society and our parents. We are watched to see how we are developing. It is important that we learn to crawl, to walk, to be potty trained, to learn to speak, and you know the rest.

Each of these developmental stages of growth enables us to live independently in this world. Our ego finds new confidence each step of the way. We begin forget we are brought into this world by a power greater than and selves. And thus, self-centeredness takes such a stronghold within our psyche we are convinced that what we are in more real than anything else. Then, it happens. We experience loss. Something beyond our control reminds us there is a world in us that doesn't match the one outside us. There is more to living in this world than our own needs, wants, and desires. This new identity allows our self-centered ego to relate to a much grandeur world. The movement from the world lives inside us. It is an integrative process.

1. Grieving through the Ego.

This kind of grief is found in these words: "life begins and ends here," "life will never be the same," "my life is over." Although there are elements of truth to these statements, there is a limited worldview attached to them. They are statements people use to express their ego needs no longer being met due to the loss that takes away from them a part of their world.

When I hear the voice of ego grief in a profound way, I realize I am dealing with someone attached to the world of form. The ability to become abstract enough to find hope beyond this world in their relationships is challenged by the death of a loved one. In doing so, the deceased loved one becomes a pathway into the soul of those in ego grief.

2. Grieving through the Integrative process.

You may hear these words in this path to grief: "life is different," "my loved one is in a better place," "I will be O.K." Do you hear how these statements reflect a sense of knowing their loved one's body is gone, but their spirit will remain in their heart? This type of grieving allows a person to have a sense of knowing. It is a knowing that only the body is dead. The relationship with a deceased loved one remains in place. It may even be such a connection in soul that some feel closer to their loved one than when they were alive in physical form.

To be known as we are truly known is not an afterlife experience. To be fully human and fully divine is one of the best kept secrets we all pretend we are not aware of until the afterlife. There is no afterlife. We came from eternity and to eternity we return. When we let go of the notion that eternity begins at death, we are free to utilize eternal resources to help us live in the here and now.

The instant we realize we live in the world AND the world lives inside of us reveals a sense of awe. The world and our part in it have neither beginning nor an end. This integration from individual awareness to collective awareness carries within it hopes. It is the hope in knowing that all belong to an unending stream of consciousness. As humans, we have predictable stages of development indicating where we are in human maturity.

As we age, our psyche or our soul integrates its being from individual awareness to universal awareness. The journey into eternal awareness allows a sense of hope beyond the sense to withstand grief. Eternal Awareness integrates the self into the Universal knowing that the power which leads us into the world knows how to take us home.

Author's Bio: 

Sam Oliver has served the needs of the dying for over 16 years. He has written numerous national and professional articles on grief care. You can reach him for speaking engagements at... www.soulandspirit.org