Cultivating detachment to lead a calm and purposeful life

Live with loss is about peaceful living. It is about taking the loss of a loved one as an opportunity to see the world around us for what it is – temporary, momentary, fleeting.

It is about cultivating detachment from impermanent objects and relationships so we can enhance peace and focus during the inevitable periods of death and loss in our lives.

It is about shifting perspective on life. To see the beauty and wonder of each day. To embrace the opportunity that each moment brings for attaining freedom from suffering. To tread the path towards that state of true everlasting happiness.

Live with loss provides insights for our own contemplation of the momentary nature of life, and resources for talking with friends, partners, parents and children about death, loss, bereavement and grief.

My name is Suraj Shah, I live with my wife in London, England, and am a trained bereavement support visitor, writer and speaker.

I work in customer relationship management, focusing on service transformation through personalisation. It means I get to interact with and learn about various personalities at many levels within the organisation. One thing I see every day is that at the heart of it, everyone is the same — everyone wants to be loved, everyone fears something, everyone deserves compassion.

I am of Gujarati descent: although I was born in the UK and parents are from Kenya in East Africa, my grandparents and lineage upwards are from the state of Gujarat in India.

My written and spoken words are inspired by the greatness of the enlightened.

Why talk about death and loss?

Birth, ageing and death are natural stages of life for each and every one of us, and it affects us, our partners, our parents, our children, our closest and distant relatives, our friends, our colleagues, our pets, and members of the global community at large. Anybody who has taken birth, any single living being, will inevitably face death.

If death is such a natural occurance, how comes we are shocked, saddened, moved and stunned when death occurs to those around us?

Since a young age, I have lost a tutor to cancer, a penpal to a brain tumour, a grandfather to heart attack, both grandmothers to old age, my best friend from school to a road accident, and my mum to a rare medical condition. Mum herself lost her own father at a very young age, and my parents lost their first-born to a road accident when he (who would have been my elder brother) was just a baby.

Within a year of this accident I was born and soon after my younger brother was born, and I sometimes question whether mum’s medical condition arose from guilt that she may have held onto from the death of my elder brother, which she had kept suppressed so she could focus on raising us. Perhaps if she had allowed herself to open up, then she may not have suffered for so many years.

Maintaining stability and focus when mum died

Mum passed away when I was 25. For over a year prior to that, I had been studying the “baar bhavana”, twelve powerful reflections from the timeless Jain tradition that cultivate detachment. One reflection that has made a huge impact on my life is “Anitya bhavna”, contemplation on the impermanent versus the permanent, that which changes versus that which is changeless.

I consider this one reflection, anitya bhavna, the single most important factor that helped me to remain relatively stable and centred when mum passed away. Following the time that mum passed away, I have continued to study, explore and apply detachment, to have greater peace and balance within myself during the turbulent situations that life presents me with. I am also very fortunate to have an incredibly supportive group of friends that regularly meet to explore this topic.

At Live with loss, I write to explore how detachment from impermanent objects and relationships brings about peace at a time of death and loss so that we can all lead a calm and purposeful life.

Getting in touch

As you take a look around Live with loss and immerse yourself in the articles and resources, you will likely have many thoughts to do with life, ageing and death of your loved ones, as well as questions and thoughts about your own mortality.

I certainly welcome your feedback, comments, suggestions and recommendations.

If you’re a Google+ user, you can add me to a circle via my Google+ profile.