Question: My son was killed three years ago, shot by a law-enforcement officer.  I did not receive very much information and had none of my questions answered.  Wisely my daughter and I had him cremated and scattered his ashes in the ocean.

However, I cannot get over my grief at this loss.  I am overwhelmed by sorrow, tears and pain.  If you have a solution, I'll definitely do whatever it takes to move forward.  I know that I'll always be sad at the loss of my son, but I need to get through the day without crying and believing that I would be far happier joining my son than being here…

My Response: It is very natural and right to grieve the untimely loss of your son, the more so because you got none of your questions answered. But now you want to move on. To do that, learn to be more… to be here now, to be in the present, in your wholeness. Be aware when you are identified with a story about your son, and the emotional distress that evokes in your body, the tightness in your heart, the empty or sick feeling in your stomach.

Be aware that the story, while following a familiar theme, is always changing. You can observe that by noticing the intensity of your emotional reactions, how they come and go, shift and change. Now notice this… You, the ultimate observer or witness of your changing thoughts, beliefs, sensations, and emotions, do not change. You, as the one who is aware of everything happening in your life, both internally, within you, and externally, in your physical environment, are just present, now, with all that is.

Becoming familiar with this aspect of yourself, your very beingness, is to make the shift in awareness that has been traditionally called enlightenment, awakening, or self-realization. I prefer to call it inner freedom. The less identified with what you are not—the constantly changing phenomena, including your thoughts, memories, and “stories”—and the more identified with what you are, the timeless presence that is aware of everything that is happening right now, the freer you will be.

Then, when a memory of your son floats into your mind, you will honor it, and even grieve over it, but you will know it for what it is now. You will know it as one of the stories of your past, the past that you and your son once shared, but it is not who you are now. You will know, with increasing certainty, that who and what you are has always been the clear, luminous consciousness that is reading these words right now.