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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Harrison Williams

Grieving with Tonglen Meditation


Why Does Tonglen Help with the Grieving Process?

Grief can feel overwhelming and isolating, but practices like Tonglen, a Tibetan Buddhist meditation, provide a unique approach to healing. Here's how Tonglen can be particularly beneficial in the grieving process:

Developing Compassion: Tonglen involves taking in the suffering of others and sending out relief and happiness. This practice fosters a profound sense of compassion and empathy. By recognizing the universal nature of suffering and loss, individuals may find their own grief less isolating.

Transforming Pain: In Tonglen, practitioners breathe in suffering and breathe out relief. This encourages individuals to face their pain directly, transforming it into something positive. Such a process helps in accepting and processing grief rather than avoiding or suppressing it.

Perspective Shift: Tonglen shifts the focus from self-centered suffering to a broader perspective that includes the suffering of others. This can reduce feelings of self-pity and help individuals feel more connected and supported by the collective human experience.

Emotional Release: The practice provides a structured way to release emotions. By consciously acknowledging and working through their grief, individuals can experience a sense of relief and emotional balance.

Mindfulness and Presence: Tonglen encourages mindfulness and present-moment awareness. Staying present with emotions, rather than getting lost in past regrets or future anxieties, is crucial for effectively processing grief.


Overall, Tonglen offers a compassionate and mindful approach to dealing with grief, helping individuals transform their pain and find a sense of peace amidst their loss. Through practices like Tonglen and programs such as Embracing Grief Through Writing Therapy, those who are grieving can find pathways to healing and hope.

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