My previous post, and interview with Vida Jaugelis, a Spiritual Care Coordinator with the Fraser Valley Health Authority, brought out the work of spirituality and compassion in our hospitals and residential care facilities. This week continues that conversation as we look at different ways that compassion and a spiritual perspective can be realized more fully in our health care environment
Anna: How do mindfulness and meditation, prayer, impact your work?
Vida: I don’t formally practice Buddhist mindfulness techniques. However, my practice is infused with mindfulness, insofar as I focus on being present in the moment – with the person before me. As I listen, I try to set aside all distractions as well as any interpretations and speculations I may have about the person I am visiting. I try to “stay present” to the person, being mindful of the human being before me – who my own faith informs me reflects the image of the divine. That is how mindfulness permeates my practice. As far as the communities where I work, the residents are predominantly from a generation for whom eastern spirituality did not make much of an impact, as it has with baby boomers and Gen X , so I do not have a lot of people asking me about meditation or mindfulness. However, that’s probably not the case for some of my colleagues working in Metro Vancouver. The awareness of Eastern spiritual traditions and the practice of mindfulness would be much more prevalent there.
In the care setting, prayer in its Christian form does have religious connotation whereas meditation does not perhaps?
Because Eastern meditation is rooted in Buddhism, a non-theistic religious tradition, this makes spiritual practices accessible to those who have no room for theism or belief in a supernatural god. That may be part of the reason for its attractiveness. In the healthcare setting relaxation sessions in some ways have gone mainstream in a way that prayer as a therapeutic modality has not. Prayer, as you point out, has religious connotations and people often associate prayer with a narrow religiosity rather than a broad and inclusive spirituality…Continue Reading