I could not sleep last night. Grief was compelling me to stay up and investigate. In the darkness, in between breaths, I was able to see grief as the hindrance that it is, an extreme manifestation of aversion to the nature of life itself. Mind wanted to keep on telling stories about my mother and how she used to be, and how I wish she would still be, and how I was not ready to face the final nature of our parting. I noticed how much I was getting lost in those thoughts, and I remembered what to do when faced with a hindrance. You focus on the hindrance itself, not the object. Stepping back one notch, away from thoughts about my mother, I turned my attention to the aversion and I asked myself, what is the thing that keeps it going? Beneath, I found clinging and magical thinking, a deeply seated delusion about life not ending, or only on my own terms. This is where contemplation is such a great companion practice for mindfulness. One needs to meditate over and over again, on the fourth remembrance:
All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.
This, is the antidote to grief.
Later, during dinner with my daughter, I could feel the temptation of grief threatening to take over and spoil those precious moments with her. And I realized the foolishness of indulging such mind state right then. The situation called for no less than appreciating the tenderness between us, and the joy of our good meal together.