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A Mindfulness Meditation To Help Cope With Tragedy

Emma Loewe
June 13, 2016
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
By Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director
Emma Loewe is the Senior Sustainability Editor at mindbodygreen and the author of "Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us."
Photo by iStock
June 13, 2016

Early this Sunday morning, a mass shooting in an Orlando nightclub left Florida, America, and the entire world reeling.

A gunman tied to ISIS opened fire on Pulse nightclub, a popular gay bar, around 2 a.m., leaving at least 50 dead and just as many injured. In an age of all-to-frequent senseless violence, this will go down as the worst mass shooting in American history to date.

It's impossible to know how to process the wave of emotion that surfaces during such fiercely dark times, but it's important to acknowledge its presence.

That's why we reached out to mindfulness expert Sharon Salzberg for a guided meditation to help you look within following tragedy. We hope her words bring you a bit of peace through the coming days.

A short guided meditation practice by Sharon Salzberg

In times of upheaval and fear, we find a different kind of refuge in remembering our deepest values, in determination to focus on the power of compassion and not the distraction of hatred. The rigid construct of self and other and us and them can cause so much destruction and despair, as we’ve just seen. We dissolve the rigidity of that construct through lovingkindness meditation, to remember that all life is linked and intertwined.

You can sit comfortably, close your eyes or not, however you feel most comfortable, let your energy settle in your body.

You can gently repeat phrases of lovingkindness, such as, “May all beings, including myself, be safe. May we be happy. May all have good health and enough to eat. May all have ease of heart.”

You don’t have to try to force a special feeling ... the power of the practice is being completely present behind one phrase at a time, and coming back to the phrase once you’ve been distracted.

In connecting to the phrases, we’re opening ourselves to the possibility of including rather than excluding, of connecting, rather than overlooking, of caring, rather than either being indifferent or overcome by fear.

When you feel ready to end the meditation, you can open your eyes, or lift your gaze. See what your body feels like. And see if you can bring some of this sensibility into your day.

Emma Loewe author page.
Emma Loewe
mbg Sustainability + Health Director

Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.

Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.