Surrendering to the Flow of Grief and Love

I am currently a participant in Bill Redfield’s virtual Easter Retreat and Practicum. Besides deeply appreciating all of Bill’s online offerings, I would like to draw the Wisdom community’s particular attention to a two-part practice that is crucially important in these times we are moving through. Lamenting the difficult reality that currently many people are dying essentially alone in our hospitals without the comfort of family and close friends as well as the additional reality that many are then being buried without funerals—Bill has put together two recordings that can serve as vehicles for our prayers and intentions. Prayers for the Dying and Prayers for the Dead can be found on Bill’s website.

These meditations went straight to my heart. I felt deeply connected to people I’d never met, those lying alone in a hospital as well as grieving family members. Images and sensations coursed through me; tears streamed down my cheeks. If you’ve not listened to Bill’s reflection recordings before, they are quite stunning in their artistry and impact, an amalgam of words and music that together take one beyond the ordinary mind and into the depths of the heart, to the extent one is willing let go and go there. After a couple sessions with these recordings, I started to feel a little overwhelmed with the grief of the world and my feelings of helplessness in the face of what appeared to be awful circumstances. Upon reflection, I realized I was getting trapped in the misconception that I am “the doer” who is supposed to be somehow “fixing” some of this sorrow by participating in this meditative prayer. In a flash it became clear that the only thing to “do” here is to open the channel and allow myself to be instrument in the orchestra, this great symphony of love. This love is what lies at the bottom of this pain we are all feeling as this pandemic unfolds. To grieve is to love. To hold others, especially those who are alone and most in need, is an expression of that love. Participating in this work feels to me like an important reason for being here in human form.


An Introduction to the Prayers from Bill Redfield

Prayers for the Dying 
We are living in a place and time when, because of the demands and dangers of the Corona virus, people are entering hospitals without the comfort of visiting family and friends. Despite the very best and valiant efforts of the medical staffs here in this country and around the world, those who are dying are dying essentially alone. 

As Wisdom practitioners, we humbly respond to the calling of being prayerfully present to those who in this moment are dying and dying alone.

Prayers for the Dead
Saying goodbye to a loved one is a ritual that transcends social and cultural differences. Even in secular societies, survivors participate in some combination of prayer and remembrance to honor the departed. These traditions are being upended as governments across the globe impose strict social distancing orders, forcing people to find new ways to grieve.

As Wisdom practitioners, we humbly respond to the calling of being prayerfully present to those who have very recently died and for those who grieve them.

Prayers for the Dying and Prayers for the Dead are available here.

A Message from Bill:

Dear Friends,

Because of the demands of the turbulent waters we are traveling through, I decided that—upon completion of the Virtual Lent and Holy Week Retreat on Easter Sunday—I would turn quickly around and commence another program shortly thereafter. This Virtual Easter Retreat and Practicum will give us the opportunity to tune in more directly and concretely to the integration of Easter’s realities. To me this seems incredibly important in order for us to navigate these troubling and turbulent waters we are presently traveling through. It is not too late to sign up. This retreat/practicum is by donation. One can sign up here.

In this retreat, we continue with our integration work during the Great Fifty Days of Easter.
Last week when we commenced this work, I introduced two practices—Prayers for the Dying and Prayers for the Dead. Because of the current situation and the present aching needs, we immediately started to work with them. I have been encouraged to make them available beyond the scope of our Easter Retreat and Practicum.
These practices are intended to serve as vehicles by which we might transmit energetic love and healing to those in deep need. There is nothing magical about the prayers themselves; it is the intention and presence we put into them that make the difference. Sue Houston’s blog above offers an important and helpful point about how these prayers might be expressed.

Sue Houston is a high school science teacher and was an atheist for 53 years until some hints of a greater Reality became visible behind this material world.

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5 thoughts on “Surrendering to the Flow of Grief and Love

  1. Thank you all for your comments on this post. I feel very fortunate to have been given connections to this community. Looking back it is easy to see how the path unfolded, but I could never have anticipated it. First a book by Richard Rohr given me by a friend, and from there learning of Cynthia’s work and the subsequent devouring of her books. Then another friend found this retreat in New Hampshire based on Cynthia’s Mary Magdalene book, led by some person named Bill Redfield. That was almost three years ago and this life continues to go in entirely unexpected directions. Turns out Bill’s work is just perfect for me at this time, like sunshine, water and nutrients for a growing tree. Isn’t it amazing how the Universe lines things up for each of us to lead us where we need go next? And this morning’s Easter Retreat recording from Bill again blew my mind and opened my heart.

  2. It is comforting for me to know that death is only the end of this human experience, not the end of life.

  3. Thank you Sue for your wonderful description of this beautiful piece of sacred work that Bill has created for our wisdom community. I too have been deeply moved by this work.

    As a volunteer (healing touch energy work and vigil) work in end of life care settings I too have been feeling shut out and upset that anyone dying in a care facility during this current situation is deprived of the circle of support and loved ones we normally think of as a ‘good’ thing for transitioning souls. It feels good to move more deeply into witness and prayer from a distance. My gratitude also to Bill for his leadership in our community.

  4. Sue, thank you for describing this experience so beautifully and for the reminder we are called to be present in and with love—not fix It is painful and overwhelming and I long to make things better.

  5. Thank you so much for bringing this to the community, Sue.

    Soon after the Pandemic began and stories of those dying alone were published, I read several in particular that have provided an enduring image for me as I pray.

    Outside of one assisted living facility, a close family member sat outside of the building right next to her loved ones window, keeping her hand on the window as she offered her presence and prayers. Other family members took “shifts” to do the same. This image as well as Cynthia’s recent post on the profound intentions that undergird the simplicity of attentive breathing have grounded me in the moments when I wonder if I am contributing “enough”.

    Be at peace.

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