Friday, December 17, 2010

3. Don't Wait

As a chaplain at a level-one trauma center, we were called to be present at every death. I used, quite frequently, an approach provided by Zen Hospice Project (Frank Ostaseski) about being at the bedside of dying people.

Here are the Five Precepts:
1. Welcome everything. Push away nothing. Create an environment of fearless receptivity.
2. Bring your whole self to the experience.
3. Don't wait. Patience is different from waiting. When we wait, we are full of expectations. When we are waiting, we miss what this moment hs to offer. Worryingi or strategizing about what the future holds for us, we miss the opportunities that are right in front of us.
4. Find a place of rest in the middle of things. You can't just stop the experience but rather bring attention fully to whatever you are doing.
5. Cultivate a "don't know mind." Stay really close to the situation and allow it to inform your actions.
I'm not a chaplain at a trauma center at this point and I am still finding these precepts to be very helpful in my "regular" life. As I move through Advent this year, I find tension between what I learned as precept #3 "Don't Wait" and the meaning of Advent to "Wait." Wait-Don't Wait. Wait-Don't Wait. So, I am practicing holding both.

As in the name of my blog, I'm NOT WAITING. I'm trying to just show up to every moment. That's all I can do. I'm working on being present - now, in living or now, in dying. Now. Now. Now, again, now.

As in the name of this season, I am WAITing. I'm waiting and pondering in my heart what it will mean for that particular presence of Light and Love in our midst - the incarnation of God among us. I'm waiting and knowing that God is not "out there." Joy is just around the corner, hidden in every cell, in the hear and the now. Back to “Don’t wait,” because God’s joy need not be waited for. God’s joy is waiting for us.

How are you NOT waiting in this moment? :)

Wait, Israel, for God. Wait with hope. Hope now; hope always! Psalm 131:3 (The Message)

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