Honoring Loved Ones: A Night of Remembrance

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Dear Still Water Friends,

This Thursday evening, after our meditation, we will gather for a special Night of Remembrance to honor loved ones who have passed away. It is a time to celebrate, to share, to grieve, and to look more deeply into our separateness and our interpenetration, our inter-being-ness.

Mary Beth Hatem, who originated the idea for a Night of Remembrance, explains the rationale and flow of the evening:

When I first thought about a special Still Water event, I was motivated by wanting to mark my Dad’s passing and at the same time wanting to honor and deepen my connection to the sangha. Over the past year, we have often spoken of great pain and loss as we have lost spouses, parents, siblings, so many significant others. Many of us, I know, feel as I do—deeply touched by the deaths of people we know only through Thursday night sharings. We mostly did not experience the viewings, the funerals, the memorial services that deepened connections within the various congregations, parishes, synagogues, and other communities that hosted these events. I know that, even as I incorporated Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings into my own process and welcomed friends from Still Water, still I felt the lack of my mindfulness brothers and sisters as I moved through the rituals set out by my father’s worship community.

This week let us join together and remember those who have transitioned, leaving us here to look to our hearts, to celebrate the gifts and to bear the burdens that are now uniquely ours. What have we learned from those we have lost, or even from our grief? What is the legacy of those whom we carry most tenderly, most raggedly in our hearts?

This week we have invited some community members to speak of loved ones whose deaths have challenged them over recent months and begin what I hope will become a tradition that will be deeply nourishing to us all on our paths of loving and losing, as those departed become deeply ingrained into who we are and who we are becoming.

Please consider bringing a photo or a memento of someone special to you whose loss feels especially alive to you at this moment. If you are able, please consider bringing a flower, a single stem or two, or a candle. We will take a moment or two to create a common altar.

I hope you can join us.

The Contemplation on No-Coming, No-Going, from the Plum Village Ceremony for the Deceased is below.

Warm wishes,

Mitchell Ratner

Senior Teacher


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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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