Saying For Today: If I am to be of help to another in her need, I need to go to that space where nothing needs to be done. Then, possibly, I can be of help.
*Thich Nhat Nanh... Plum Village. The Great Bell Chant. The End of Suffering.
If I am to be of help to another in her need, I need to go to that space where nothing needs to be done. Then, possibly, I can be of help.
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She is in pain, her body dying of cancer. I, her chaplain, promise to sit beside her for a while. She does not feel like talking, needs restful sleep. I sit quietly.
What am I doing? Rather than analyze, I prefer to relax with the joy of this being-with her. I pray silently. This prayer... for grace to let go of any idea of doing something. This entering into a sense of helplessness opens me to a more loving, graceful being-with than following a felt-need to act in some apparently more helpful way. I find a way of helping more needed now than being a doer.
This prayerful posture welcomes a sense of groundlessness, releasing control of process and outcome. Freedom appears, freeing me from time as a progression from something to something.
This quietly being-with, respecting her need to rest in the sacredness of her solitude, allows our solitudes to meet. Person, the sense of self, drops into the background. Presence, our presence, moves into the foreground and spontaneously acts.
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In choiceless living the situation is given freedom to unfold.
*Jean Klein. I Am.
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Out of this being-with arises helpful action... but when asked for. So, what happens? Adjusting pillows, assisting with cushioning an aching body, and returning to her with a bottle of water to moisten her dry mouth and throat.
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What did I get from this? What does it matter? Or, one could say, "He was blessed in being a blessing?" Yet, the purity of this compassion of being-with and the resultant action - which is only a continuation of being-with - is to be kept free from any thought of receiving a blessing by being a blessing. Then, one discovers the blessing from giving is the same blessing as the blessing of giving. Today, she was blessed in the union, so I was blessed - these two are one.
Can you simply sit with someone, trusting what needs to happen can arise, noticing and letting go of the urge to act? Can you trust the tenderness of your heart enough to feel the risk of this being-with? Can you respect the need of the other to her solitude, so entering your solitude with her? Can you let go of being a helper, so you can be more prepared wisely, compassionately to help?
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*(C) Brian K. Wilcox, 2021
*Brian's book, An Ache for Union: Poems on Oneness with God through Love, can be ordered through major online booksellers or the publisher AuthorHouse. The book is a collection of poems based on wisdom traditions, predominantly Christian, Buddhist, and Sufi, with extensive notes on the poetry's teachings and imagery.