Abbot Paul Haller: “The Other Side of Loss is Salvation”
In his public dharma talk on Saturday at Beginner’s Mind Temple, Abbot Ryushin Paul Haller addressed what he called the “very delicate process” of healing, as a community and as individuals too. Of responding to the shock of loss:
As those shockwaves reverberate and we feel, start to make contact with our very human response — that sense of loss, that sense of the fabric of life being torn asunder, bent out of shape — how to discover that it’s taking a new shape, it’s reshaping, it’s rediscovering, is a very delicate process.
Part of the fierceness of life is, we can’t put it back together the way it was in those golden days before now. We move forward. We take what we have and we hold it with compassion, with courage, with patience, with wisdom, and, in the holding, something’s reshaped, something’s discovered about how to move forward.
In a way, this is no different from every period of meditation we have sat or we will sit. Our sincere intention is met by the urgent disorder of our life, our mind, our feelings, our memories, our anticipations. They demand attention. We can try to neglect, ignore, resist the world they create. Or we can discover how to meet it, how to be present for it, how in that presence, in that meeting, how to take the next breath, how to be available for what happens now.
Abbot Paul also read from and reflected on a poem by Mary Oliver (In Blackwater Woods): “To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.”