Someone I am very close to has recently discovered that she has a life threatening illness. It was a shock. Vague symptoms at first, easy to ignore—until you couldn’t anymore. Then the medical detectives, with their scans and knives and microscopes, came up with a diagnosis that no one is ever prepared to hear. It turned her world upside down.
When you are a person who is as independent as she is, who has spent an entire life caring for others—and who now needs help herself—it’s an unfamiliar and most uncomfortable place to be in.
“Maybe we shouldn’t tell people. I don’t want to bother them. Everyone is busy with their own lives and stresses. They have enough to worry about without fussing with me. And so forth…and so on…”
We could hear the voice of our Buddhist teacher beaming through… He taught deeply on this—saying that it was important to let others serve you in times of difficulty; and to not do so, is to be unkind and selfish; because when you need help, you become a Field of Merit for others—giving them the opportunity to accumulate vast positive energy, the merit that comes from being virtuous. He said that the essential nature of every living being is basic goodness. We are born with this; it’s our original purity, and it’s always true. We just forget sometimes. We get busy and stagger through our days, preoccupied, putting one foot in front of the other, seeing only what is in front of us, with squinty eyes because our flashlight beam is too weak and the focus is too narrow. But given the chance—when there is a knock on the door or the telephone rings and shakes us—we want to step up. It is in our DNA to do so. We are good people, and want to be better people. It feels good to put aside the drone of our “Me, My, Mine” mantra sometimes, and reach deeply into the limitless wealth of human qualities that are always waiting – wanting to reach full expression.
And so it will be… She will open up her experience, and in doing so, will benefit others. Measureless numbers who love her very much will be given the opportunity to hold and support her—standing by with responder bags to do whatever they might be summoned to do. And all will pray. Will hold her in the light. She is one of us; there is no separation. And one day we too will need help and will become a Field of Merit for others. It’s what we do. That’s how it works.