We continue our journey through the levels of consciousness today with grief.

This can be a difficult subject to talk about because grief is most commonly associated with that big taboo… death.

And if you’ve lost a loved one you’ll understand how powerful grief can be, but it’s also likely that you’ll understand how healing it can be to actually process the grief; to take that time to deny the truth, then to get angry and finally to accept what is.

It is also the highest of the ‘victim mentality’ levels of consciousness. Grief is the point where we know the world has taken something from us, and therefore turned us into a victim, but we also have it in our power to handle the situation. This level has a lot more positive energy than shame, guilt or apathy.

The main danger with grief is unprocessed grief. Or unrecognised grief.

Unprocessed grief comes when we lose something but continue to hold on to it. It’s likely we have defined ourselves by our attachment to what it is that we lost. And so when we lose that thing, we lose part of ourselves.

We see it all the time with long-term married couples… if they are sufficiently attached and sufficiently self-defined by the relationship then the death (or leaving) of one often causes the very rapid death (or descent into deep depression) of the other.

It applies to objects too. If we lose our favourite trinket, do we let it go or do we carry that grief with us for the rest of our lives somehow hoping that our resentment will make it come back?

The other form of toxic grief is unrecognised grief. This is when we don’t ever realise we’re grieving. We don’t recognise that we have lost anything at all.

Naturally this occurs more frequently with intangible attachments. If we attach our sense of identity to our youth and good looks, then ageing causes an incredible amount of suffering (the evidence of this is the amount of time, money and pain people will go through to attempt to reverse the inevitable effects of age).

We might also need to grieve for lost opportunities, or a lost childhood. If life has thrown us unfair odds (and who hasn’t been dealt a bad hand at some time in their life?) we may be carrying the burden of those circumstances even though they are way in the past.

If those circumstances and situations are causing us to feel shame, guilt or apathy, it might be time to face them – to acknowledge what was taken from us, and start the grieving process.

It’s uncomfortable. It’s hard. It’s emotional. But it’s where the healing begins.