There are many arenas where mindfulness and paradigm recognition and shifting are useful. Parenting, team building, relationship development, and inner balance of spirit, mind, and body are all arenas about which I have written to apply these principles.
When caregiving for someone who is dying it is important to combine analysis and compassionate action in a mindful and flexible way.
If as a caregiver you are personally connected to the dying person you also have to incorporate ways to have compassion and mindfulness toward your own needs and an understanding of how these may be in contrast to the requests, actions, or desired wants of the person for whom you are caring.
If your emotion becomes too strong and forward in the relationship you can create a difficult situation. This is especially difficult when caregiving for a child, and in some ways for a parent.
If you are too dispassionate and only analytical you miss the important opportunities to assist the individual in his decision-making opportunities and offer emotional support.
Providing accurate information in a warm, neutral and clear way is the most beneficial attitude. If you try to soften or sugar coat the information or make it sound less severe, than you are doing a disservice to the individual; being too blunt without compassion is equally as problematic.
Being a caregiver requires a connection to your inner self and a watchful eye on the figure/ground, and various paradigms of perspective, to know how to proceed. One of the most important requirements is the opportunity to take a break and then return – when this is not possible the stress of the situation can be overwhelming and leave long-standing injuries to the caregiver emotionally.
I like to think of compassion as an action; it is a way of being in the world, and is more in the foreground. Analysis is more in the background.
In this situation there may be several simultaneous processes or paradigms of figure and ground in play – containing all of this simultaneously and guiding the best action is profoundly challenging.
Utilizing compassion in your analysis can bring others together to create peace in relationship and families, between children and parents. And it helps to create an avenue to be clear about responsibility to versus responsibility for – in the caregiving process. Even in this caregiving process the appropriate attitude is respons-ability to not for.
Peace comes from fully understanding the other person’s perspective, and fully understanding your own, and then mindfully looking for connection points – where those two perspectives connect. It requires an earnest communication, asking questions, delving further, all the while with a focus on understanding, with a tone of calmness and serenity rather than interrogation.
In order for compassion’s healing power to work those engaged in relationship and dialogue have to be in a mindful state, a listening state. It requires having your senses on receive and integrate, not send and conquer. Through compassion integrated with analysis you can move a situation forward and teach or educate.
To get to understanding one must make efforts to explain meaning and not assume that a word has the same meaning for all parties. Descriptive language rather than inference is the most useful style of communication. Inflection, and non-verbal statements too, have meaning and must be fully evaluated and understood.
Compassionate understanding requires the listening and understanding part happen first, then the focus on connecting and incorporating analysis. Compassion requires the ability to see figure and ground simultaneously and to shift paradigms with flexibility; it works best when there is congruency between one’s words and one’s actions.
Apply a compassionate attention to interactions and relationships to increase your clarity and understanding of them and yourself. Compassion, mindfulness, and seeking understanding increase connecting points so there can be unification and allow for a transformed, thoughtful, mindful, response– able dyad or group.
As a caregiver, the work is to keep the needs, rights, and wants of the caregivee in the center of the picture. This is difficult. Sometimes what the individual receiving the care wants is not in agreement with what the caregiver feels he needs or should want.
The caregiver has to be cognizant of the personality of the person who is being cared for. If the illness interferes with that person’s typical and natural style of being in the world there is a great need for compassion and patience on the part of the caregiver.
Compassion and analysis are the figure and ground of the style of caregiving and assessment of what is required in the caregiving situation. Both of these need to be working together and in accordance with each other to allow for the best possible outcome.
The relationship of figure/ground of compassionate action and analysis can be applied to many situations. It requires mindfulness, flexibility, and paradigm recognition and shifting.
Thinking about how you can develop this is useful in many arenas in one’s life.
See you tomorrow.