Let the soul banish all that disturbs.
Let the body that envelopes it be still
And all the fretting of the body,
And all that surrounds it.
Let Earth and sea and air be still
And Heaven itself.
And then let the body think of the spirit as streaming,
pouring, rushing and shining into it from
all sides as it stands quiet.
-Plotinus 205 AD
Healing: not an easy concept when you are deeply hurt. Some thoughts about healing came to me at my yoga class today.
A couple of weeks ago someone very close to me was treated unfairly. That is an understatement; he was wronged by someone with what I believe was a selfish, self-fulfilling motive. The incident demoralized him and has changed the course of his future. Wanting to help, I tried telling him all of the things I profess to be true; something good will come from this; when one door closes another one opens… As the days passed our anger and pain over this situation mounted. My great words of wisdom were not comforting. As a loved one, and not the victim, I felt I had to keep offering positive comments and support but in my heart I was feeling more anger and pain. This leads to my first realization:
Sometimes, when we love someone deeply and they are in pain it is best to be silent and feel the pain with them. There is a quiet, comfort in having someone share your sadness. When people are emotionally connected it is understandable that they will feel each other’s pain. I’m learning through this experience that it is the greatest support you can offer initially and perhaps the most honest. . Once your empathy is expressed you will find the right time to offer words of encouragement.
My loved one asked me, “How will I ever heal from this?” My only answer was; with time. I wanted to find words and actions to offer to speed the process, make healing happen. Nothing came. Nothing until I remembered this poem, and my second realization:
We can’t force ourselves or others to heal. We cannot construct a plan or set of rules to make healing happen. What we can do is open our minds and hearts to healing. Breathe in the healing and breathe out the anger and pain. Let ourselves be still and allow the power of healing to enter.
If we stop trying to force or control it, healing will gradually seep in and mend our pain.
About the poem. I found it at a time when I was still struggling with my own healing journey. I had a doctor’s appointment and was sitting in the little room waiting for a new doctor to see me. Stuck on the wall, in an off-sized frame, was a card and on it was this poem. After my appointment I asked if I could go back in and write it down. It was in the office of Dr. William Petit.
Dr. Petit lost his wife and two daughters in a heinous home invasion. I don’t know if healing will ever come to Dr. Petit but I do know that most of us, pained by the trials of life, can heal. This age old poem tells us how, without force or control, with stillness and an open heart. We can heal if we let it in. Roberta