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Mindful : June 2017
ing up to forty feet high.” There was a critical moment after you placed a pole in the ground, he said, when a pole was unstable and might topple over. “If it hit you, it could break your back.” His first day on the job, the man turned to his partner and said, “If this pole starts to fall, I’m running like hell.” But the old-timer replied, “Nope, you don’t want to do that. If that pole starts to fall, you want to go right up to it. You want to get real close and put your hands on the pole. It’s the only safe place to be.” Uncovering a Wound One afternoon when I was about five, I cut my hand while playing with a pocketknife. I was ter- rified because there was blood everywhere. My mother took one look at the wound and calmly said, “Oh, I think we need the magic towel for this one.” Then she pulled me up onto her lap, wrapped my hand in a towel hanging from the stove, and held me until I began to calm down. After a while, I caught my breath, and she said, “Let’s take a look.” I didn’t want to; it was too frightening. But accompanied by her kindness and reassurance, I was willing to try. Slowly, she unwrapped the towel, and together we looked into the wound. I realized that I would be OK. In that moment, I saw that it is possible and even helpful to turn toward our pain and that there is always the possibility of healing. The secret of healing lies in exploring our wounds in order to discover what is really there. When we allow the experience—creating space and acceptance for it—we find that our suffer- ing is not a static, monolithic thing, but rather it is composed of many elements, including our attitudes toward it. Understanding this, we can work skillfully to alleviate the underlying reac- tions that exacerbate our problems so that we might ease our suffering. It will only be removed by wisdom, not by drenching it in sunshine or attempting to bury it in a dark basement. Suffering is a pretty dramatic word. Most people don’t think the term applies to them. “I’m not suffering,” they say. They imagine children starving in a famine-struck African country or refugees fleeing war in the Middle East or people afflicted with devastating illnesses. We imagine that if we are good and careful, stay positive, play by the rules, and ignore what’s on the news every night, then it won’t happen to us. We think suffering is somewhere else. But suffering is every where. Suffering is fall- ing in love and then becoming complacent. → June 2017 mindful 75 insight Lovingkindness Retreat A Weekend Retreat Sharon Salzberg June 9-11, 2017 Mindfulness for Educators A Weekend Retreat Cory Muscara June 30-July 2, 2017 Living from Your Center: Integrating Mind, Body and Spirit Nadia Colburn, Ph.D. August 18–20, 2017 Introduction to Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Retreat Tracey Sondik September 15-17, 2017 Meditation for Emotional Healing and Spiritual Transformation Bhante Wimala September 29- October 1, 2017 Awaken Everyday copperbeechinstitute.org Full Funding Available for Educators, Artists and Healthcare Professionals. Explore all we offer on our website.