We all know sorrow, sometimes continually, sometimes episodically.

Sorrow is a healthy response to the perception of loss. We can lose a desire, lose a friend, lose a dream, lose a game, lose a dimension of life we cherish.

Starting Meditation out of Grief

Many people start meditation when they have been in a stage of sorrow – a divorce, or someone dies, or loss of a life goal. This is healthy because meditation is a good way to be with the grieving process. There is a lot of "sorrow talk" in the meditation literature – a kind of sour grapes approach to life: "Don't really enjoy anything, and try to keep your emotions kind of flat, because we are all going to die anyway." It is dangerous to read this stuff – particularly Buddhism. Because you can get stuck in grief and loss.

Emerging from Grief

Often when we begin meditating, the mood we are in – sorrow, for example – lasts three to six month. Then it changes. One day you get up in the morning to meditate and the grief is not there anymore. In its place is something you do not even recognize – your new self. This self and body may not want to meditate in the way that you know how to meditate. This self may be joyous and adventurous, and you will have to let it teach you an entirely new way of meditating. You may not feel like sitting still at all – you may feel sizzling, energetic, like you want to jump up and go do things. You can still meditate – just savor the impulses to jump up, welcome them, and stay with them for twenty minutes or so, letting your motors rev.

There is no need to give up meditating just because your emotional tone changes. But this kind of shift is a major reason people stop meditating. They think they have failed at it, because their body is healed and no longer feels the same way.