There are many ways in which meditation can help with bereavement and loss.
There is no denying that meditation is a unique cultural and healing force. From ancient Buddhist and Hindu religious and secular methodologies to our current craze for yoga classes and meditation apps, A-type businesspeople and legal eagles looking to focus, and off-kilter hipsters looking to unwind, there are countless meditative approaches.
Diverse as they are, all good meditation courses and approaches are centered on focusing your thoughts, calming your nerves, and freeing yourself from your daily anxieties to a more transcendentally relaxing and rewarding experience.
This can be especially important for grieving widows [READ: Meditation for grief]. The pain and anxiety you face is greater than most of us ever have to bear. That is real, legitimate, and should not be made light of. That said, for those looking to lighten the burden of grief, meditation can help in several ways.
Ways To Use Meditation For Bereavement & Loss
1: Take a Breather Through Focused Breathing
Part of what makes grieving such a heavy emotion is how it seems to fill every second of every day. To begin to recover your life, you have to stop dwelling on death, but in the case of the passing of a loved one, that’s far easier said than done.
This is one place where meditation truly shines. So much of meditation is focused on freeing the mind from having to think constantly, helping you to relax.
On the flip side, mindfulness exercises work the exact opposite way, serving to channel and focus your thoughts in a heightened fashion. This can be useful for working through difficult concepts.
Whether you are looking for a break from the present or to focus your mind on the future, meditation can be a powerful force for momentarily freeing you from the shackles of your past.
2: Compassion and Meditation
One of the most devastating effects of grief and loss is feeling as though you cannot connect to those around you anymore. Meditation can help with this by opening you up to new forms of experience. By achieving a sense of calm and self-mastery over yourself, and by allowing your emotions to flow out in a controlled manner, you can start to put yourself back into a more compassionate, social mindset. The best meditation for this is loving kindness (metta).
Grief can cause you to lose your grip on your daily routine. What’s the point of going about your daily routine when one of the key pillars lifting it up has been lost forever?
Feeling that way is understandable, but it can ultimately lead to an infinite downward spiral. That said, simply going about your life like it’s “business as usual” probably isn’t a possibility, either. Activities such as meditation thus provide a third path forward, allowing you to structure a new routine around accessible and constructive goals while simultaneously promoting a healthier lifestyle.
The Social Component
One of the most important steps toward recovery after losing a loved one is to connect with others once more. Meditation groups, like bereavement support groups, provide another outlet for allowing you to meet people. We are social creatures and need at least some level of socialization to be healthy. Meditation groups can help provide such an outlet in a low-risk atmosphere. You don’t have to talk to anyone that much, but they are there if you wish to do so, allowing you to ease back into society and pursue peace and progress through meditation and community.