A group of Chinese women recently made headlines after being photographed while lying in shallow graves on the outskirts of Chongqing City. It was revealed that they were taking part in a bizarre ritual called “graveyard meditation” which allegedly helps them cope with divorce.
Graveyard meditation is the brainchild of Liu Taijie, a 30-year-old divorcee who now helps other women get over romantic breakups. After getting married at the age of 19, and having a baby at 21, Liu went through a hard divorce in 2015, after also failing to launch her own business. It was a tough time, but she managed to pull through, and she now wants to help other women understand that life goes on and they have to put the past behind them, where it belongs.
“I know how a woman felt when she was feeling abandoned. I had the thought of committing suicide when I got divorced,” Ms. Liu said. When a person is desperate, he or she could almost feel they’re near death. By lying in the grave, my students could try to experience death. This will remind them that they have not done many things in their life and that they need to forget about the past and start a new life.”
Photos taken at Liu Taijie’s recent graveyard meditation class, show women lying down in shallow holes dug in the ground and lined with plastic foil, with their eyes closed and their hands in a prayer position, or on their chest. It’s not clear how long they have to stay like this, but the idea behind the ritual is to simulate death, to make it easier for them to get over their pain and begin a new life.
Liu said that it took her a year to recover from her divorce and start fresh, and in order to help other female divorcees get back on their feet faster, she will be holding free graveyard meditation classes every few months. All they have to do is reach out to her by calling the number on the big red banner shown in the photos.
“Failure is not scary. I want all the divorced women to live their own lives and to achieve their own goals,” Taijie said.
This sort of death simulation has actually become quite common in China and other Asian countries in the last few years. Whether to help depressed people get over their problems and appreciate life more, or just as a creepy theme park attraction, the practice has become pretty popular.