It was an emotional night at the Refuge Recovery meeting in Woodland Hills. One that deeply touched my heart. As part of the powerful teachings of the Four Noble Truths, I shared the extent of the pain and grief I’ve endured as a result of loosing my son to opioids. And I emphasized, even worse is the devastation felt by most parents who do not have the practices I do. They can be left with a lifetime of pain and suffering. I talked about the insights I’ve had into the neurology, physiology, psychology and the biology of grief, as I have gone through it. That every cell in my body had lost. Every organ, blood and brain cells were in agony. How time after time I sat in the hurricanes of pain until they passed. How forgiveness and compassion have helped me.
After 20 minutes
of teaching, I realized, how deeply my story and experience of grief had affected everyone, specially the youth in attendance. A real human connection, a genuine sense of empathy. One by one, each expressed how my pain and story, courage and practice had impacted them:
“Your pain and sorrow made me realize how much pain I have caused my mother. Every time I overdosed in her arms, I never thought of her and how much fear and pain she had experienced.”
“I always looked down on my father, resented him for not having a handle on his own addiction and yet lecturing me. I never thought of the fear and pain he could be feeling for my safety. I will be more compassionate towards him.”
“I see how I turned to alcohol every time “the hurricane” was about to hit. I never sat in it. Didn’t know how. I want to do that. Sit with the hurricane of negative emotions and become stronger.”
“I’ve always judged my father. Listening to you, I had an epiphany that when he lost his sibling, his mother and father must have been debilitated and unable to care for him properly. I feel compassion for him now.”
“I thought no one cared about me and they just want to kick me out. It didn’t matter if I died. I now see how much pain they might experience if something should happen to me!”
“I never thought of how my death could impact others so deeply.”
” I have been selfish, not thinking of how my actions cause worry and fear for my parents – I cannot do this to them.”
“I realize, being hard on myself, beating myself up, just makes everything worse. Instead I can turn that energy into doing good.”
Tears of hope rolled down my face,
I looked up into the space, thanking my son, Kuroosh, for his compassion of wanting to start this meeting for others who suffered like him. My heart was filled with joy for the prospect of opening a heart, saving a life, preventing devastation for another mother and father.
Opening our hearts to the pain of others is a gift, one that fills us with meaning and appreciation.
With love and compassion,
Refuge Recovery is a Buddhist-based 12 Step program, that has expanded widely throughout the country. The Woodland Hills meeting was established in 2017 in honor of my son, Kuroosh, who lost his life to opioids. His intention was to start this meeting and never got a chance. But his compassion lives on. May the heart of compassion be ever alive in you.
I will be teaching the first Sat of every month throughout the year 2020 for the Refuge Recovery meeting in Woodland Hills. It is an open meeting. All are welcomed.