What will you feel when your loved one is in the ICU ? Many would not even want to read this blog any further.
“Why should I even think of it ?” you would ask , It is not so pleasant thought.
The ICU is a dark place where battle of life and death is fought every moment. It’s hidden from the world, because no one wants to see this side of life .
We want to be in control of our lives, we want it to be perfect , look good . Unknown events and uncertainty unnerves us.
We are conditioned to block out anything to do with pain . It’s not good to look at.
What we cannot control we do not want to see. We do not wish to see a battle to survive , to live , of pain , of hopelessness . specially of our loved ones.
I had a close look inside.
Every spiritual practice is forgotten, when faced with this uncertainty.
In the ICU we see critical patients who are on the beds with machines attached that monitor continuously their vitals .
Some patients are on machines that take over essential body functions like breathing.
There are family members , deep in anxiety as they await positive news of their loved ones . They wait for that one positive word from the doctors, any ray of hope that they got.
The doctor’s and nurses going about their work , doing what was needed , taking calls on what needed to be done .
Staff shifts keep changing , new staff comes in each shift , going about their work, doing the drills of handover, like clockwork .
This is a critical job to be in , they are responsible for saving lives.
There are constant calls on life and death , decisions to be made , tough ones , one small error and ..
The pressure is constant. Yet you can see a calm approach , no panic. Have they got used to being in this environment ?
What would it be like to get back home and sleep for the doctors and nurses in the ER ?
This is a place no one wants to be in , a place no one wants to see , a place where no one wants to see their loved ones in .
Yet this is there.
This is also place where each one of us will go through at some time in life. For self or for loved ones .
It is a given , you cannot avoid pain. Wherever you are it will get you finally.
You cannot run away , you cannot hide. There is no option but to be there. To witness the pain.
You look for pillars to hold on to but there are none . All enlightenment vanishes .
You can see so many around who are also experiencing the same , some with hope , some who had lost hope.
There are at this moment countless beings across the world experiencing this very same pain I was experiencing.
There were countless beings before me who would have experienced this pain too.
And there are countless beings in the future who will experience this very same pain.
Could we open up compassion in our heart to experience the pain of all beings past , present , future ?
How could we do that ? Our suffering is greater we feel.
We feel the pain of those close to us , we don’t feel the same for others. A news of wars is interesting from far not when it hits our home.
What does it feel to be in that place where there is no further glory of the world to be had , no dreams to be chased but every breath is laboured. Where the body is taken over by machines to keep us alive.
What does it feel to be a relative waiting outside . It is a pain that crushes the heart .
It must be such a heavy stress being a doctor in the ICU , what can they tell the relatives who look upto them as Gods.
They are not Gods but they play the role of Gods in the ICU it is such a heavy burden.
For each one one can feel compassion, the doctors , the nurses , the helpers , the guards , the technicians, the people on the beds , the family members who wait.
By experiencing the pain of all who were in pain your pain will not go away. But it will add context for your pain and this may reduce suffering.
This also make you reflect on life and it’s true meaning . You can see how futile it is to accumulate stuff , to cling to things . How the glamour of the world is just a illusion.
You can also see how we all are connected with pain , something we all will go through in our lives and how foolish are the divisions we create.
The ICU is a place that can crack open your heart to compassion .
It in such spaces you experience you are connected and one with the pain of all beings in the world.
You can open upto Bodicitta in the ICU.