Generally, the words ‘sorrow’ and ‘sadness’ are considered to be synonymous. Again, in general, the synonyms indicate some difference too. We can say sadness is primarily related to the image one has about oneself while sorrow has a touch of the soul. In other words, while both represent an unhappy state of the mind, sorrow seems to strike a deep chord in us. That is why it has the ability to take us beyond the conventional sphere of the mind. It can make us understand how self-centered we are and move us into the region of deep feeling for the beings we come into contact with. It is such a wave of sorrow that moved Gautama Buddha into reflecting on life’s vicissitudes and, eventually, to liberation.
We have heard of poet Shelly’s line “The sweetest songs are those that tell of saddest thought”; also, of Wordsworth’s “The still, sad music of humanity”. All those ring a bell in us because sorrow takes us deep into ourselves. Reflections on this theme can urge us on to delving deeply into our consciousness and bring about a non-verbal understanding of ourselves.
The tendency to be emotionally attached to people, things and concepts is part of the habitual neurology. That attitude creates mental blocks and makes us remain clinging to the objects of attachment. Under those conditions, the mental state due to attachment is mistaken for love. Freeing ourselves from the attachments cannot be done through any effort. That freedom comes from applying ourselves to sorrow as a field for exploration. It can also come from examining several other esoteric pointers, such as the messages from near death experiences.
Some authors have produced nice articles on the theme of sorrow in life. One such is given at the site http://spirituality.yolasite.com/melancholy.php It will touch a deep chord in the reader while going through that passage. The book “In Quest of the Deeper Self” can be a wayside companion in this regard. Further, the blog http://nde-thedeeperself.blogspot.com will be of interest to the reader.