This Guided Self-Inquiry Meditation for Grief accompanies the “Tending the Garden of Grief” article written by Heather Stang for the Fall 2016 edition of the TAPS Magazine. TAPS is a wonderful, supportive organization for U.S. military survivors. It is in their honor that I offer this guided meditation as both an audio and as a meditation script.
The Practice: Guided Self-Inquiry Meditation for Grief
Set aside 10 to 20 minutes where you won’t be disturbed and your environment is relatively quiet. Read through these instructions a few times before you practice, or download the guided meditation at http://mindfulnessandgrief.com/self-inquiry-meditation/
Close your eyes or softly gaze on a point in front of you.
Reflect on your personal intention for your meditation practice today. What do you hope to receive from this practice? Is it to become more peaceful? Cultivate self-compassion? Reset your anxious mind?
Locate the place in your body where you feel your breath rising and falling, or where you feel it moving in and out.
Exaggerate the next five rounds of breath so that it is bigger and more expansive.
Notice the places where your breath moves with ease as well as the places where it feels stuck or tight. Just notice sensation–no need to change a thing.
Return your breath to a natural rhythm, focusing on your attention on your exhales for the next 5 to 15 minutes. Each time you get distracted, or realize you haven’t been paying attention to your breath, choose to refocus your attention on your next exhale. It is the practice of refocusing that cultivates a calm and steady mind.
Notice any impulse you have to change your experience, and consider the possibility of simply letting things be just as they are for now.
Spend the last 5 minutes of this practice responding to the following self-inquiry questions in your journal:
- What did you learn about yourself during your meditation practice?
- How does it relate to your grief experience? To the rest of your life?
- Now that you know what you know, is there anything you want to change? To nurture? To be more aware of?
Spend the rest of the day being kind to yourself.