The practice of mindfulness can help bereaved people steady their mind, relax their body, and make meaning from their loss. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the present moment with an attitude of equanimity. It cultivates the ability to stay calm even in the midst of pain. Rather than running away from the pain of grief or obsessing over it, the mindfulness practitioner is taught to take refuge in the experience of the present moment using the six senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and awareness.
This steadies the mind, and clears the way for insights that contribute to meaning making, posttraumatic growth and transformation. It has been proven to reverse the harmful effects of stress and even reduce physical pain. Learn how three group members were able to use Buddhist psychology and mindfulness to:
- Change self-defeating physical and mental habits.
- Practice compassion and forgiveness for the self and others.
- Use skillful means to cope with the dual process of grief.
- Gain insight into their natural wisdom and resilience.
- Continue the legacy of their loved one.
- Improve their own physical health and increase self-efficacy.
While the Buddha acknowledged that pain is universal – rooted in attachment and aversion – he also taught that humans do not need to suffer. We just need to remember that we are inherently resilient, and tap into our “Buddha nature.” Although these teachings are ancient, the main tenants of Buddhism have fascinating parallels to contemporary theories of thanatology.
In this presentation, bereavement professionals will learn how Heather structures her 8 week Mindfulness & Grief Groups. Based on her book: Mindfulness & Grief: With Guided Meditations to Calm Your Mind & Restore Your Spirit (CICO Books, March 2014).
This presentation occurred at the Association of Death Education and Counseling 2014 Annual Conference in Baltimore, MD on April 26, 2014. Presented by Heather Stang, MA, thanatologist and author of Mindfulness & Grief.