Guilt over Grief: Deconstructed

Oct 14, 2022

A number of people have written in and commented on my last blog Grief, Guilt and Acceptance. Some said they faced guilt, some said they faced no guilt upon grief, some said to face the grief and time will heal, and some asked for clarity on a somatic process I referred to in the blog.

If you didn’t experience guilt upon grief, or you faced and overcame the grief, congratulate yourself and be happy that you are in acceptance. I have not documented the evidence, but over the years that I have worked with people on grief, about half suffered from guilt. The process I learnt and worked with is quite simple and needs no support other than one’s own willingness.

The process was part of the chakra energisation experiences I went through. In simple terms, chakra or energy centres, whether one believes in their existence or not, control our emotions, and emotions in turn affect them. The lower two chakras, root and sacral, are related to survival, safety and growth, as in the last two stages of Maslow’s hierarchy. These two energy centres are related to greed and fear and result in guilt, regret, shame and frustration, leading to the next level of anger and stress. One needs no knowledge of energy centres and the energisation process, or belief in them, to practice the process I have used with success over nearly two decades.

I term this Relive and Relieve process. Though I worked as a coach in these processes, they can be done safely on one’s own. It’s very similar to Gestalt and NLP processes of Reframing, for those who are familiar. The process works with all disempowering emotions.

Relive the grief or loss or fear or anger or any seemingly negative emotion that disempowers you. Face the emotion and experience as you stay in that space. Allow body sensations to arise, and they will if your disempowering emotions are real. Generally, emotions that disempower create somatic or body sensations anywhere from the bottom of the spine to the top, from the lower abdomen through the navel region to the thoracic and cervical. In modern neuroscience, this region is covered by the polyvagal autonomic nervous system.

Stay with the sensations. Observe curiously without getting cognitively engaged. The sensation may be a heaviness in the abdomen, burning in the stomach region, or an ache in the thoracic area. As you observe, you will find the sensation morph.You may be able to relate the sensations to colours, shapes, solids, liquids or gases and in some cases to metaphors. You may, if you wish relate them to emotions, and label them. Whatever arises accept.

In one instance, the person felt something solid like a jagged black rock in the lower abdomen, that they identified as an unknown fear, which gradually morphed into a viscous muddy mass near the stomach, and finally ended with a green sprout emerging near the heart region, which resulted in relief and exultation. Another experienced a burning fiery sensation of rage, which gradually cooled even as they watched and morphed into a cool wind. Some merely felt heaviness, with no imagery. Some recollected other disempowering experiences, one of drowning and another being attacked in a battle. Whatever they experienced, with patient disengaged observation, there was relief and healing. Reliving led to Relieving.

At first glance, this may seem fanciful, and for some, frightening. There is really nothing to fear. If you find the experience not tolerable, you can open your eyes and stop the process. In no case will this worsen the negative disempowerment you may be going through. Practice and you will find it works. If there are a sufficient number of interested people who are really suffering, not merely curious or sceptical, I can hold a session.

Ram Ramanathan, MCC
Ram Ramanathan, MCC


Ram is the Founder and a Principal at Coacharya. As the resident Master and mentor coach, Ram oversees and conducts all aspects of coaching and training services offered under the Coacharya banner.

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