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:
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.