Being present: experiential connections between Zen Buddhist practices and the grieving process

Author: Edwards M
Conference/Journal: Disabil Rehabil
Date published: 1997
Other: Volume ID: 19 , Issue ID: 10 , Pages: 442-51 , Word Count: 145

The Zen Buddhist contemplative tradition involves several meditation and instructional techniques that have strong phenomenological and theoretical connections with the experience of loss and the process of grief. From experiences which occurred during personal encounters with individuals (three of whom had a disability) in a grief counselling setting, several points of connection were identified. These included a heightened awareness of the embodied nature of experience, the importance of dialogue and relationship for both healing and transformation, the focus on process as opposed to outcome, the importance of the process of life review, a confrontation with the nature of absence and emptiness, and being present to what is experienced rather than focusing on the need for change. These findings are discussed in terms of Ken Wilber's full-spectrum model of human development, as well as their implications for professional and non-professional support persons of people experiencing grief.