Only Then

Some time ago, I had the opportunity to take part in a weekly, mindfulness-based sharing and discussion circle. And while it wasn’t uncommon for things to proceed slowly at first, I remember the initial several minutes of one gathering during which my fellow group members, many of them newcomers, seemed particularly hesitant to speak from their hearts. With that being the case, I went ahead and began by speaking from mine since I had been participating on a regular basis for quite a while by then and, as a result, felt fairly comfortable doing so.

I don’t recall specifically what it was that I talked about that morning, but I do recollect asking if anyone happened to be struggling with fear. And I was glad that I did because, one by one, the hands gradually began to go up, followed by those who had raised them telling their stories—mostly having to do with loss and the anxiety and grief surrounding it. By the time we were through, a few tears had been shed, and I like to think that at least a bit of healing had taken place.

Experiences such as this have led me to believe that one of the highest aspirations we can have as human beings is to ease the fears of others. In order to do so, however, I feel we must first be honest with and accepting of ourselves regarding our own trepidations, for only then will we be able to genuinely embrace the concerns of those around us.