by Michael Ketterhagen
“…become respectful to what the person is all about.
Acknowledge the ground of their reality.”
--Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, PhD
During our time at Kathy’s House, a hospital guest home for people from long distances needing a place to stay while experiencing lengthy medical treatments at Milwaukee area hospitals, Mary and I have had much time to reflect and meet the many guests. They are all waiting for some medical treatment here at Froedert Hospital or other area hospitals.
If you know me well, you know that I am quite introverted and have had to learn extroversion, mostly because of my profession as a teacher. I really have not learned to immerse myself into the lives of others unless it was to give them some instruction or advise on what would be good for them. Often when people start to tell their stories I find myself attempting to insert myself into their story and “help” them get on the right path.
Well, during this time of my cancer treatment I have been challenged to do what Pandit Rajmani mentions above—to put myself into the lives of others by respectfully listening and “acknowledging the ground of their reality” .
I couldn’t believe how many people here need so desperately to tell me their entire medical journey’s. I have run into extroverts. Or maybe they aren’t extroverts. Maybe, as some say, they are “people-persons”. In any case, it has been quite a learning for me to stick with these fellow travelers on this journey toward wellness.
I realize now that this is part of my spiritual journey during my healing process. I have needed to learn about and care about, respectfully, what is happening to everyone, for I am part of all of them. At the moments when it becomes most difficult for me to continue listening to people who need to share their lives with a perfect stranger, my inner voice says “This is your duty now! You must learn to care unconditionally about them and not just bring it all back to yourself.”
I don’t want to listen to my inner voice at those times. I know that I must or I would not be doing the will of the Divine Mother and now I want to do that most deeply. I want to immerse myself in truly caring for others and serving humanity without just following my will. That is tough for me. Yet, there is also great solace in that for me. I know that it is part of my healing process.
I pray that I will continue to heal in that spiritual way as well as physically healing. I know now that it is, as yoga says, reversing the patterns of thinking (my samskaras) that would prevent me from true union with my Beloved Divine Mother and not just words that might come from my desire to look “good” in another’s eyes.
Thank you, Divine Mother, for this challenging learning, for this time of transformation!