Meditation is good for something. Among others things, it helps calm the mind and open the heart. At least that’s what happens when I volunteer to lead a meditation group at a psychogeriatric care centre. Well before I get there, eight to ten people are already seated: one comes in a wheelchair, two or three with walkers, others with a little help. They tend to say very little and what they do say often escapes my comprehension. What impresses me week after week is their steadfastness in showing up, their gratefulness for my visit, and their sweet disposition.
After our session this afternoon, three ‘residents’ and a staff member lingered in the lobby as we said good-bye. We chatted about nothing in particular; one person was holding my hand, another appeared to be drifting off. I felt utterly present and didn’t want to leave. The moment was ripe with ease and joy … certainly not pity or apprehension as might be expected in a “locked facility.”
Jean Vanier, who for decades has lived with and advocated for people with mental and physical challenges, writes that “We do not have to be saviours of the world! We are simply human beings, enfolded in weakness and in hope, called together to change our world one heart at a time.”
source: Vanier, J. (1998). Becoming human. Toronto: Anasi Press, p. 163. image (top): jhsf.org.