Monk In The World

To be a monk is to have time to practice for your transformation and healing. And after that to help with the transformation and healing of other people.

Thich Nhat Hanh

Monday, August 3, 2009

Equanimity and Grief

...when we look at healing as creating space for the stranger, it is clear that we
should be willing and able to offer this so much needed form of
Therefore, healing means, first of all, the creation of an empty
but friendly space where those who suffer can tell their story to someone who
can listen with real attention.
Our most important question as healers is
not, "What to say or to do?" but, "How to develop enough inner space where
the story can be received?"
Healing is the humble but also very demanding
task of creating and offering a friendly empty space where the stranger can
reflect on their pain and suffering without fear; and find the confidence that
makes them look for new ways right in the center of their confusion.

Excerpted from Henri J.M. Nouwen, Reaching Out: Three Movements of the Spiritual Life, pp. 65-68.

It's time for our semi-annual memorial service. I always do two short reflections on grief during the program, trying to awaken people to where they are in the process. Sometimes I speak to those who are trying to comfort the grieving. This time I am going to talk a little about the connection between equanimity and the grieving.

All this to say that the quote above by Nouwen speaks to equanimity, when he talks about providing an empty space for those who need healing, for those who need to just tell their story.

Nothing to fix, nothing to change, nothing to resist, nothing to attach to. Just being there, there in the middle of the pain.

Be Intimate with Life,


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