We have all experienced the emotions of grief and loss.
This week, a person I knew died suddenly and unexpectedly. Then another died after a long illness. It can be a very difficult time when these life events occur.
Everyone responds differently to grief.
Our society seems to have expectations on how we ‘should’ respond and for how long. But in reality everyone’s response is individual and there is no correct way to act or grieve. Grief can last for a long time and have many facets or layers.
I come from a culture where grief is openly expressed. When someone dies, family and friends come to the home of the bereaved and allow them to grieve while everything is taken care of for them. This vigil lasts for three days. Close family may choose to wear black for months or even years to signify their loss.
When I was younger these customs confused me, but now I see that allowing oneself time to grieve helps greatly in the healing process.
These days I use my meditation practice to help process my grief.
Below is a short meditation to help process grief. You can choose to stay as long as you like in each stage, as long as you remain comfortable throughout the process. If at any time you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable come back to the present moment by focusing on your breath.
- Find a quiet place where you can lay or sit without being disturbed.
- Get into a comfortable position, allow the eyes to gently close and bring your focus to your breath. Spend some time watching the gentle rise and fall of your chest.
- Take some time to go to your inner sanctuary. This is a place where you feel safe and secure. It might be a place in nature, it may be your favorite place, it may be a sensation or feeling. Whatever it is for you, take the time to experience yourself in this place, all the while feeling comfortable and secure. Now it’s time to leave your inner sanctuary. Remember you can come back here any time you feel uncomfortable or the emotions get too strong.
- Tune into your emotions. Take time to observe your emotions no matter what they are. Notice any sensations. Notice if the emotions change. Stay here, observing for as long as you are comfortable.
- When you are ready, allow a warm glow to fill your heart space. Send that warmth to yourself. You might see your whole body glowing with the warmth of your heart. Be kind and gentle with yourself as you would if you were listening to your very best friend.
- Come back to your breath. Come back into your body. Notice the rise and fall of your chest.
- When you are ready, open your eyes gently and slowly.
If you journal, it would be a good time to journal after the meditation to complete the process.
Find out more on journaling here.