Silver Spring, Maryland, Community Online on Thursday Evening
February 25, 2021, 7:00 to 8:45 pm
Open to all Online on Friday Evening
February 26, 2021, 7:00 to 8:45 pm
Dear Still Water Friends,
This Thursday and Friday evenings, after our meditation period, we will share memories of loved ones who have passed away, and we will give voice to our passages through grief. We will make space for all who grieve and especially those actively experiencing grief in its most painful stages. Although we may have had the opportunity to be part of a funeral or memorial service, this is a time to speak and to listen from the perspective of our mindfulness practice.
I remember my Dad’s funeral was not the spiritual sustenance I had hoped for, but our first Night of Remembrance later that year filled a need I hadn’t been able to articulate. By the end of our evening together, I felt more connected to the sangha and more committed to mindfulness practice than ever before. Every year since has also felt precious — an evening of love and learning.
Nearly ten years and many new losses since the deaths of my parents and twenty years past the wrenching death of my younger sister, I believe more strongly than ever that death and loss are our greatest teachers. Working through – or maybe more accurately, managing to live through – my sister’s suicide opened me up to a completely new way of being. I wouldn’t learn the language until years later, but these were my earliest Dharma teachings.
This year I will be remembering my Aunt Rosie. My father’s little sister lived a long life and her death this spring was not unexpected, but it hits me hard. At her house, at her table I was part of something larger than my immediate family. We were a tribe with proud origins and strong bonds. We were more than American, we were Lebanese American. We danced the dabke and ate kibbeh; our salads were dressed with lemon juice and oil.
With my aunt’s death, I take my place as next in line – the elder in the clan. The realization deepens; the practice begins to feel more urgent: “I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.”
On behalf of the Still Water family, I invite you to be part of this year’s Night of Remembrance. Come share memories of your loved ones, your grief, and the ways in which they continue to be present in your lives.
If you are comfortable with Screen Sharing on Zoom, you are welcome to share a photo as part of your remembrance. If you would like to share a photo and are not comfortable with Screen Sharing, please email the photo to ZoomTeam@StillWaterMPC.org.”
I’ve included below “The Contemplation on No-Coming, No-Going” from the Plum Village Ceremony for the Deceased.
Mary Beth Hatem
Contemplation of No-Coming, No-Going
from “The Ceremony for the Deceased” in Chanting from the Heart
This body is not me,
I am not limited by this body.
I am life without boundaries.
I have never been born,
and I have never died.
Look at the ocean and the sky filled with stars,
Manifestations from my wondrous true mind.
Since before time, I have been free.
Birth and death are only doors through which we pass,
sacred thresholds on our journey.
Birth and death are a game of hide-and-seek.
So laugh with me,
hold my hand,
let us say good-bye,
say good-bye, to meet again soon.
We meet today,
We will meet again tomorrow.
We will meet at the source every moment.
We meet each other in all forms of life.
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