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Meditation for parents grieving the loss of a child

A guided meditation for a student who lost their daughter. This meditation is specific to a particular situation and can be revised as needed, depending on one's personal situation.

Meditation for those grieving the loss of a child (download)

Become aware of your breath, just breathing normally and naturally. Don’t force your breath. Just let your breathing be what it is.

And watch your breath. As it enters your body, feel how it fills you up. Feel the exhalation when the breath leaves your body.

Notice how your breath nourishes you, all the oxygen you’re taking in, how that oxygen nourishes your whole body and mind.

And be aware of how your breath connects you with the rest of the universe, to all the other living beings who are breathing. We all share the same air. We all share the process of breathing. So, be aware of that.

And be aware that you’re in a safe place right now. There is safety all around you. Feel that safety and let yourself relax.

Be aware of the gentleness of the breath coming in, the breath leaving, the gentle flow of the in-breath and the out-breath.

And then let’s cultivate our motivation to develop a kind heart, a loving heart towards other living beings. So, remember that everyone wants to be happy, no one wants to suffer and that’s the situation of all living beings—human beings, even animals and insects. Everyone wants happiness. No one wants suffering. And as you think about that, let love arise in your mind wishing all other beings to have happiness and to be free of suffering. You may think of individual people and wish them well, wish them happiness.

And the daughter that you recently lost, wish her happiness. She’s gone off to her next rebirth. Send her off with all your love. Give her your love, your support, as she goes on to her next rebirth. Wish for her, may she have a really happy rebirth, and may she become someone who gives great benefit to other living beings. So, just send her off with that love.

And wherever she is in her next rebirth, she receives your love and she is very peaceful. She’s very joyous.

Send your love to your daughters that are living and playing and eager to learn. Send them your love and your encouragement, too.

And then think of all the other mothers everywhere who have lost children, some when the children were young, some when the children were adults, but those mothers completely understand you and you understand them very well. You have a common experience, painful though it is, but that common experience enables you to connect with all those other mothers and give them your love, give them your compassion.

Then think that as you give those other mothers your love and compassion that their suffering from losing their children subsides, and that now they have peaceful minds, that now they are free from grief and can now give the love they have to everybody else just as you’re doing.

Feel the calmness and the love inside your own heart. And think, “All that love I have in my heart, it’s an unlimited quantity, so I want to share it with all living beings.” You can think of your love as a ball of light, and you radiate that out to the whole universe because you have a lot of love, a lot of kindness, a lot of wisdom, and compassion inside.

You can think of this ball of light as inside your body or in front of you, but it’s your love. And continue sending that out to all the other living beings, no matter who they are. Send them your love, your wish for their happiness because we all have that common quality of wanting happiness and not suffering.

And feel your whole body relax as you send your love out into the world.

And then when you’re ready, you can open your eyes and come out of your meditation.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.