A Fresh Perspective on Grief

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 1 month ago

In the journey of life, each of us will likely encounter moments perceived with loss. These moments could span the spectrum from the loss of a friend, family member, client, income, or pet to the loss felt when a child ventures off to college. It's during these times of perceived loss and ensuing grief that I'd like to offer a fresh perspective.


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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 1 month ago

I have been fascinated by this topic for many years, since around 1976 when I had just finished a surfing session at La Libertad river mouth point in El Salvador, in Central America. Walking down the main street of La Libertad, I stumbled upon a procession - a lively celebration, it seemed, of around two to three hundred people.

My curiosity got the best of me, so I asked in my broken Spanish, "Qué pasa? What’s happening?” The response that they were celebrating the death of their mayor and the freedom of his spirit came as something of a cultural shock to me, as all I had experienced in my own life at that point were more somber, mournful traditions surrounding death.

This encounter stayed in my thoughts. In fact, it prompted a profound questioning of the various cultural foundations that underly grief and bereavement, particularly surrounding death.

Eventually, I distilled my thoughts into a series of key questions , one of which was is our experience of bereavement or loss and grief largely shaped by our culture, expectations, and perceptions?

So I set out to find the answer to that question – doing what I love to do the most and one of my highest values - research!

Part of my research involved delving into neurochemistry and the science of the brain, as I sought to understand the neurological, psychological and physiological mechanisms behind grief.

It was a fascinating and mind-expanding journey, to say the least – one that led, in part, to the development of a scientific methodology that I later called the Demartini Method. This method was developed and honed over many years, and after helping around five thousand people navigate the feelings of loss and grief over someone’s death that the majority of people experience in the aftermath of loss.

So, how does this methodology work and why has it been so effective in helping so many people dissolve their grief?

Let me give you a brief overview.

One of the first questions I ask when speaking to someone mourning a loss is: "What exactly do you miss about the individual you are grieving?"

The initial response is mostly always, "Everything."

I then dig a little deeper so I can help that individual look at the situation more neutrally and objectively. I’ll usually ask if they miss the arguments, dishes piled up next to the sink, snoring, or their other so-called challenging traits, actions or inactions.


The answer almost always comes back as, “Well, no.”

This is often a pivotal point in the process, when people start to realize that it’s highly unlikely that they miss absolutely everything about the individual they have just lost.

Instead of longing for the entirety of the individual, they are more likely to miss SPECIFIC TRAITS or actions they liked about the individual – perhaps that individual’s sense of humor, wisdom, or zest for life.

In other words, when going through the grieving process, your grief mostly centers around those qualities and traits you subjectively bias as being more positive than negative. Were you to be more neutral and objective, you would be more likely to acknowledge the entirety of the individual as someone who possesses all the traits.

If you dig a little deeper, you may discover that when experiencing the loss of traits you perceived as being positive, you may unconsciously experience a sense of RELIEF at the loss of those traits that you perceived as being negative.

This is a common occurrence with many people, and it may surprise you to hear that there’s a NEUROLOGICAL explanation about what tends to take place in your brain when you experience grief.

The perception of loss of someone or something tends to activate the lower, more primitive, and more reactive rest and digest and fight-or-flight part of your brain - the subcortical amygdala. Your amygdala initiates impulses to try to seek pleasure and instincts to avoid pain, and as such, tries to seek positives (prey) and avoid negatives (predator). This tends to trigger a subjectively-biased selective memory process as a survival mechanism to help you cope with feelings of loss.

Another interesting neurological component of grief occurs when you infatuate with someone, and perceive them to have more positives than negatives. When this occurs, you ignite a complex neurochemical reaction in your body, unleashing oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine, and enkephalins.

These compounds, associated with bonding and pleasure, can lead to a dependency similar to addiction. Then, when loss occurs and you perceive that those admired traits are lost, you can experience withdrawal symptoms similar to those that an addict may experience.

With all this in mind, and after years of research and work in human behavior,  I developed the Demartini Method that I referred to earlier. This methodology was designed to dissolve any emotional baggage that may be weighing you down, including grief.

I have consistently applied the Demartini Method in my signature 2-day Breakthrough Experience workshops that I present most every week. It has proven to be highly effective, regularly demonstrating that grief, in all its forms and intensities, can indeed be dissolved. In fact, I haven’t yet seen a grief that is not dissolvable.

that is not dissolvable.

Now, some people may question whether it is truly possible to dissolve grief, often stating that they perceive prolonged mourning as an inevitable, natural process.

My response is that prolonged grief can lead to significant health issues, including cardiovascular problems, digestive disorders, and even cancer.

In fact, six years ago, I, some of my certified Demartini Method facilitators and three professors from Keio University conducted a pivotal study in Tokyo involving individuals suffering from prolonged grief syndrome. Our initial evaluations revealed that participants had been grappling with intense grief to the extent that it impaired their ability to function normally, including going to work, for six months to six year or more. By working through the methodology with them, a process that took, on average, two hours and 17 minutes, we were able to dissolve their grief. In the interests of research, we conducted subsequent follow-ups - weekly at first, then monthly, and eventually every quarter - spanning a total of 18 months.

The outcome of the study was that there was a sustained absence of grief among the participants, a breakthrough outcome that had not been observed before in any research they could find.

After using this method for over 40 years, there is a way to help people rebalance their perceptions and dissolve their grief, and that the Demartini Method is an efficient and effective way to do so.

You, like every individual, have control over three things: your perceptions, decisions and actions.

Every trait, action, or inaction that you admire in someone also has its counter balancing downside the you or others may have overlooked.

For example, you may recall being drawn to someone's intelligence, only to later discover that this same intelligence breeds argumentativeness, a need to be right, and a tendency to manipulate or condescend, believing they know best. Similarly, what may initially attract you to someone's physical appearance can later reveal drawbacks, such as vanity or a self-centered focus that overshadows other qualities.

This duality suggests that no trait is inherently positive or negative; your incomplete perception only defined it one sided. When you're infatuated with a trait, you tend to be blind to its negatives. But by asking quality questions (like those in the Demartini Method) that uncover the downsides to perceived upsides and upsides to perceived downsides, you can shift your neurochemistry and, consequently, your emotional response.

In other words, the fear of losing what you're infatuated with, much like the fear of gaining what you resent, is a matter of perception.


The essence of grief is the fear of losing what you're infatuated with, and the fear of gaining what you resent.

Yet, with the right questions and insights, you can unveil the balanced nature of every individual and situation, transforming your perceptions and dissolving your grief. This approach not only alters your immediate emotional responses but also impacts your neurophysiology and even your epigenetics, addressing the root causes of your distress.

Since the development of this effective methodology back in 1984, its efficacy has been proven time and again in all sorts of scenarios – from TV challenges to academic studies, without fail.

This brings up an important question: if it's well-known that holding onto grief for too long can harm our health, why do you keep doing it? Is it just because of cultural habits, or do you think it shows a deeper love and respect for those who've passed away?

When asked, most people say they'd prefer that their loved ones upon their own passing to live inspired and fulfilling lives, rather than be weighed down by grief. So, it becomes clear that truly honoring someone's life and what they've contributed means celebrating them, not getting stuck in sadness for extended periods of time.

By questioning the usual ways we deal with grief, and what we expect from ourselves during these times, you can find a more resourceful, and more balanced way to remember your loved ones, by living your life to its fullest, in a way that reflects your deepest values.

In each Breakthrough Experience session, especially on the second day, we dive deep into what grief is all about. No matter the cause - losing money, a breakup, or the death of a beloved one or even a pet - we carefully work through and dissolve the grief. It's consistently amazing to see how people change during this process, moving from doubt to freedom from grief's hold. This shows just how effective the Demartini Method is, a technique I've been refining for decades to specifically tackle and dissolve grief.

It's a common belief, maybe even an old one, that grief is a natural and constant response to loss. But this view misses our incredible ability to change how we think and feel. Our brain's executive center can change our views on grief, offering a new way to understand and transcend it. The Breakthrough Experience opens the door to this new perspective, offering not just a temporary fix but a lasting solution.

This process isn't just about dealing with grief; it's about changing how you see and relate to it entirely. It questions the norms and expectations we have about grieving, encouraging you to imagine a life not just after grief, but free from it altogether. For some, holding onto grief has hidden reasons or seems to offer a way to navigate through tough emotional situations. The Breakthrough Experience program can help you dissolve these issues, bringing clarity and freedom.

If you’d love to experience the actual method of dissolving your grief, then join me at the Breakthrough Experience and I’ll take you step-by-step through the questions to ask to see the new forms of what you perceive you’re missing, the downside of the old forms to your highest values and the upside of the new forms relative to your highest values. When you do, you realize that loss is merely a transformation of form, and that just like all traits, actions or inactions, there are equal benefits and drawbacks to the trait, action, inaction in the old form and equal benefits and drawbacks to the trait, action, inaction in the new form. When you see that you’re able to adapt and wake up a deep gratitude for the circumstances and for the individual who’s passed.

To Sum Up:

Embarking on a journey through grief demands a nuanced understanding and a willingness to challenge and transform our perspectives. Below are key action points to guide this transformative process:

  • Acknowledge the Subjectivity of Grief: Recognize that your grief often springs from an intense infatuation with specific so-called ‘positive’ qualities of the ‘lost’ individual or situation, rather than the entirety of their being or the situation itself.
  • Question Cultural Constructs: Critically evaluate the cultural norms and expectations that shape your understanding of grief, understanding that these perceptions can vary widely across different cultures.
  • Investigate the Science Behind Grief: Delve into the neurochemistry and the brain science that underpins your emotional responses to loss, acknowledging that these physiological reactions can be transformed by balancing the mathematical equation of your perceptions.
  • Recognize and Address Biases: Admit your propensity to idealize certain traits, actions or inactions when someone passes, and strive for a more balanced perspective on the downside of what you perceive you’ve lost and the benefits of the new forms that have emerged since the perceived loss.
  • Employ the Demartini Method: Engage with this systematic approach to alleviate grief, a method that has been meticulously refined and has demonstrated its effectiveness through decades of application and countless transformations.
  • Be Conscious of Grief's Health Implications: Understand the potential illness effects of prolonged grief and the importance of resolving these emotional states for the sake of your overall well-being.
  • Participate in the Breakthrough Experience: Join a workshop designed to offer a fresh perspective on grief, providing practical tools and insights for a life free from feelings of grief.

If grief feels like a heavy burden, or if the thought of facing future losses seems overwhelming, the Breakthrough Experience has tools that can really help. This program is a deep dive into human behavior and life's workings. With five decades of teaching this program and over half a century spent empowering people to take control of their lives, I'm confident that what you learn here will benefit you for years to come.

The stories from people who've moved beyond their grief highlight just how impactful this experience can be. It's not just about getting over a loss; it's about giving you the knowledge and tools to handle life's challenges with dignity and strength.

So, if you're ready for a change, for a new way of looking at grief that could transform how you live, I invite you to join the Breakthrough Experience. See for yourself how the Demartini Method can transform lives, including yours. This isn't just an offer to join a program; it's an opportunity to start a journey that could redefine how you view grief and unlock your life's full potential.


Are you ready for the NEXT STEP?

If you’re seriously committed to your own growth, if you’re ready to make a change now and you’d love some help doing so, then book a FREE Discovery call with a member of the Demartini Team so we can take you through your mini power assessment session.

You’ll come away with a 3-step action plan and the foundation to empower your life.


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