We are weak

Weakness is at the heart of each one of us. Weakness becomes a place of chaos and confusion, if in our weakness we are not wanted; it becomes a place of peace and joy, if we are accepted, listened to, appreciated and loved.

Some people are infuriated by weakness. Weakness awakens hardness and anger in them.  But to deny weakness as part of life is to deny death, because weakness speaks to us of the ultimate powerlessness, of death itself.  To be small, to be sick, to be dying, are stages of powerless, they appear to us to be anti-life and so we deny them.

 If we deny our weakness and the reality of death, if we want to be powerful and strong always, we deny part of our being, we live an illusion. To be human is to accept who we are, this mixture of strength and weakness

Jean Vanier,  Becoming Human

Healing our wounds

Looking down into my father’s
dead face
for the last time
my mother said without
tears, without smiles
without regrets
but with civility
“Good night, Willie Lee, I’ll see you
in the morning.”

And it was then I knew that the healing
of all our wounds
is forgiveness
that permits a promise
of our return
at the end.

Alice Walker, Collected Poems

 

Your first thought

Imagine whenever you meet anybody, your habitual, instinctive first thought is, I wish for this person to be happy.

Having such habits changes everything at work, because this sincere goodwill is picked up unconsciously by others, and you create the type of trust that leads to highly productive collaborations. Such habits can be volitionally trained.

 C-M Tan, Search inside yourself. The unexpected path to achieving success, happiness (and world peace). 

When we are drowning

There is a story told in the Middle East about how to help someone who’s drowning.

A man had fallen into a river. He was not much of a swimmer and was in real danger of drowning. A crowd of concerned people wanted to rescue him. They were standing at the edge of the water, each of them urgently shouting out to him: “Give me your hand, give me your hand!”

The man was battling the waves and ignored their urgent plea. He kept going under and was clearly struggling to take another breath. 

A saintly man walked up to the scene. He too cared about the drowning man. But his approach was different. Calmly he walked up to the water, waded in up to his knees, glanced lovingly at the drowning man, and said: “Take my hand.”

Much to everyone’s surprise, the drowning man reached out and grabbed the saint’s hand. The two came out of the dangerous water. The drowning man sat up at the edge of the water, breathing heavily, looking relieved, exhausted, and grateful.

The crowd turned towards the saint and asked: “How were you able to reach him when he didn’t heed our plea?” The saint calmly said: “You all asked him for something, his hand. I offered him something, my hand. A drowning man is in no position to give you anything.”

Let us remember not to ask anything of someone who is drowning.

So if you are that saintly soul, if you want to reach out to someone who is struggling to stay above water, go to them. But don’t ask them to give you their hand. Instead, offer them your hand. Don’t ask for their heart, offer them your heart. Offer them your ear, your love, your shoulder. Release your friends, your family, from the shame of their brokenness. Let them know that you love them through the brokenness, because of the brokenness, and God-willing, after the brokenness.

Free your loved ones of the energy they spend to hide their brokenness from you. Free them of the shame of coming to you as they are. Let them spend that energy on surviving, on healing, on thriving. Let us love one another as we are, so that we may become all we are meant to be.

Omid Safi, How to Reach out to Someone who is Suffering

In the body

 

 Can we stop judging our whole life just because of a disturbing feeling in the body?

All of our reactions to people, to situations, to thoughts in our mind

– are actually reactions to the kind of sensations that are arising in our body.

Tara Brach