Widowed at 38 years of age, psychotherapist Megan Devine talks about grief and meditation in her post on OpentoGrief.com
Does the practice of mindfulness apply to grief? I think it does, when it is disentangled from cultural misapplication and confusion. At its core, mindfulness does not try to talk you out of anything, nor does it judge what you feel. The pure practice of mindfulness is to bring your attention to exactly what is – whether that is pain or bliss, peace or torment. Mindfulness is meant to help you acknowledge the truth of the moment you’re in, even, or especially, when that moment hurts. Acknowledgment of the truth is a relief, and it heals.
The true path of mindfulness is to help you stay present to the pain – when pain is what is – and to witness it. This is especially true in grief: the work is not to overcome pain or to remove pain, but to bear it, to be strong and soft enough to be beside it, to find peace alongside it. The question is not “how can you see this as okay?” but what will you do when things are not okay? How will you stay present to yourself? How will you keep your eyes on love inside your pain? There are no answers. No real answers, no one size fits all answers. The only answer for how to live here has to come from you. One way to listen for those answers is through mindful practice: just becoming aware of what is true for you right now is healing, in and of itself.
You do not create your reality; life will be what it will be. What is in your power is how you respond to reality. A practice of mindfulness can help you respond with as much kindness and grace as you can; it can help prepare your heart and mind for living this. You are here. Where you are is not perfect. It may or may not be okay. But here you are.
This is the life you are called to be present for. This is the moment that asks for your awareness. Not because you are improved by what has happened, not because you needed it, not so you can turn it into some kind of gift. You are called to be present to it because it is what is. Because it is here Now, and so are you. Everything is unfolding. Good or bad is not in your command. You come to your practice to sit beside what is – both joy and sorrow, goodness and not. You come to your practice to be here for yourself. That’s what the tool is for – to be in relationship with what is real, right now.
Be here now. Grieve here now.
That is mindfulness, and it does have power.
Click below for free access to our abbreviated Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction meditation. Consider listening for fifteen minutes a day to quiet the roller-coaster of emotion that comes with fresh grief. It’s also a great daily break from the stress of the holidays.