“You can practice deep listening in order to relieve the suffering in us, and in the other person. That kind of listening is described as compassionate listening. You listen only for the purpose of relieving suffering in the other person.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh
I am seriously trying to do this. It is so hard. I am a Christian but so much of what Buddhists say make so much sense to me. Understanding takes so much listening. Not the normal listening, the ya ya I get what you’re saying, but….kind of listening. We need the kind of listening that sincerely ends with, “I am sorry your experience is so different than mine, but I believe you. I stand with you to make it better.”
I have been trying and failing but I keep trying. There is a lot of anger and pain right now. I am feeling so much of it. This can be hard for us who take those feelings into our limbs. My fibromyalgia is flaring hard right now. I am probably not the only one. I am sure there are so many out there who are feeling so angry and hurt and it is affecting their bodies.
I am dealing with it by being good to my body. I know people are doing lists on how to get involved in social justice, but I want those who have fibromyalgia or some other body malady to know that you should take care of your body so you can be more effective in the future. Actually, anyone who needs to take a time out, I understand. You can’t even help yourself if your health suffers, so please, take some time to listen to your body as well.
Some things that are helping me are:
- Walking- getting out of the house and watching all the lovely people on my street in Philadelphia. Yesterday I was walking and heard at least three different conversations in different languages. I also watched those people be kind to others, and people be kind to them. There is so much goodness around us. It gets drowned out by all the crud, but the good is still there if you go looking for it. People stop and say excuse me. People say hi and talk to me. Not only do I see the goodness in other people. I try to see the good in me. I tell people how nice they look when I notice they do. I try to brighten people’s day. I’ll even admit that the exercise helps.
- Pray or meditate – quiet reflection of how I can help is what I really need right now. Sometimes all you can do is all you can do. The only way to help with change is to know what your reserves are, and that takes quiet reflection. Also, I take comfort in a God of love.
- Spend time with loved ones- especially the ones I disagree with. I don’t have to talk politics or anything. I just like to remember they are more than their beliefs. It makes me feel love for them, which helps me to try and understand. We have to remember we love each other. We have to remember that there is a reason humans make different decisions and it is usually pain and hurt. We love each other, and I believe the highest form of love remains in understanding. Understanding and love is the key to all that troubles us. I know that sounds cheesy but it is true.
- Heed the self-care you know you should. Pace yourself. Take the time to take care of yourself. Take time out from your social justice rants, protesting, and volunteering to fill up your reserves. Eat right, exercise, take long baths with Epson salt, go to your doctor’s appointments, and do whatever she tells you to do. You know what you’re supposed to do to take care of yourself, don’t slack on that.
- Talk- spread love and understanding the best way you know how. ,
This is my plan. I am going to keep doing this. This is the plan to keep my body moving, my hopes up, and my mind on the good stuff. There is hope, there is always hope. This country has overcome so much hate, we just have to keep going. Slow and steady people, don’t burn out now.