When loss occurs, many people feel angry with God, and lose the comfort of prayer or a deep, spiritual connection. Often, grievers experience a “dark night of the soul” where they feel alone, arid, disconnected.
A spiritual practice such as mindfulness, centering prayer, or guided imagery can soothe and support the grieving spirit. Spending time in nature can remind us that we are part of something larger than ourselves, and can reconnect us to the sacred.
During our grief work, we may feel stuck in anger and resentment towards the person who died. Or, we may feel stuck in our own guilt for real or imagined transgressions. In either case, it is extraordinarily helpful to work on forgiveness. Forgiveness is something we do for ourselves, not the other person, for it releases us from our prison of anger and resentment. It also allows us to leave the past behind, and frees us to live in the precious present. Writing a letter to the person who died, stating our forgiveness or asking for theirs, can be a very powerful and effective exercise.
A beautiful and soothing balm for the spirit is the Buddhist metta meditation. The meditation is a simple exercise which cultivates compassion and love. The practice traditionally begins by allowing oneself to experience feelings of love and compassion for one’s self, repeating the phrases “May I be happy, may I be healthy, may I be safe”. If you wish, you can repeat the phrases (and feelings) for the person who died,