There’s a period that I’ve seen often when people are sick and dying, when one has a tendency to contract around their experience, whether it’s the experience of loss, dependency, physical pain, or fear. During this period there’s a hunger to cling to whatever is familiar, even if it’s their suffering.
Often as caregivers we actually exacerbate that clinging. One of the ways that we do that is by focusing on the problem. When we focus on the problem, we cause ourselves or others to feel small, and to become identified with the problem. It becomes something to be solved. It can happen in meditation as well. Imagine if we saw the people we served as a mystery to be discovered. Imagine if we saw ourselves that way.
I was with a woman in my retreat a couple of weeks ago, a cancer survivor. She said that when she went to the doctors they were always talking about curing, and never about healing. If only she had turned to her doctor and said “you know, curing stops the process, curing is what we do to pickles”. Could we just be open to the dynamic intrinsic of healing?