In all fairness I am not a monk and being present all the time is hard work. I never noticed how many times I zone out or feel a little uncomfortable being totally present. It can be really hard to truly be here and fully present, especially to someone else’s pain and struggle. To really sit with it and try to work through it with them not for them.
I had that at work today. I have been working with an elderly customer for the last 6 months and a lot has happened with him. Unfortunately, things are just spiraling downward for him and I can sense he lacks the cognition to really comprehend what is going on. I sat on the phone with him for a long time. I finally worked out a temporary solution for his current problem. While talking to him he is asking me what next and I had to tell him I don’t know. Sadly, he has put a lot of faith and trust in me because I listen to him but I am a water resource manager, not an expert in elder care. I just listen because I think about my mom who I take care of and imagine if she needed help I hope someone on the other end of the line would listen too. Also what I have realized through all of this is we are all essentially the same and we all just want to be happy and understood, no matter the path.
It is hard to be present when you have little else to offer, but that. Sorry about the downer post. To end with something more upbeat it was a reminder of how truly grateful I am for many things: the essential ease of my life compared to so many, my loving partner and husband, the fact that our mothers have support systems, and the assistance I was able to provide. At least a friend and I found a senior referral center and I hope they can help. Namaste.