This morning I noticed an announcement for Shirley, from “Midwifery Today,” about an upcoming conference, in Bad Wildbad, Germany, titled: “Preserving Our Traditions, Improving Our Skills.” It is designed, of course for practicing midwives, doulas, students, and related support people. The conference is made up of workshops given by 15 men and women, who comprise a veritable, “who’s who” in the midwifery community.
I was interested to see what Ina May Gaskin was offering. Her name , is synonymous with midwifery, having written: “Spiritual Midwifery,” an inspirational book on midwifery and home birth. This is the book Shirley read while pregnant with our first daughter, Jessica, way back in 1978, and many years before becoming a midwife herself.
Ina May’s first talk, given with Carol Gautschi, is titled: “What do you do in a birth?” and the explanation reads:
“Traditionally, the midwife “tunes in” at the initial interview, prenatally and during the crescendo of birth. Intuitively, she reads the needs of motherbaby, artistically co-supporting, with open hand, one of life’s most momentous rites of passage. This is not a technological event: this is a sacred space to be held, embraced, and released at the appointed time.”
OK, so what in the world does this have to do with us, a group of “meditators” who meet regularly and who are trying to explore some of the deeper questions that challenge our everyday life?
I return to a favourite quote from Plato: “Our greatest gift is to become midwife to the birth of the soul in another person.” Isn’t that precisely what we do each week when we practice what Gregory Kramer is suggesting in his “Insight Dialogue” instruction “listen deeply?” Are we all not midwives in that moment of just listenening, just hearing, just observing with the whole of our being: the unfolding of another’s life through their speech and associated actions?
It says, in the literature, that” we are born and die in every moment”. Every moment, a new birth! Every moment another opportunity for the “soul” to be born….. And we “the Sangha” “artistically co-supporting with open hand,” this “sacred space, to be held, embraced, and released at the appointed time.”
Isn’t that the mission or definition of “sangha” as was so eloquently articulated by Sharleen, in a paper she penned a number of years ago?
It seems to me that this is the wonderful gift we give each other each week: a container, to be held in, a safe, open, and accepting loving presence. A space where no matter what we may be going through at any particular time, we know we can speak it and it will be heard. A place where through, just the process of letting our fears and joys be known, we become whole again on some level and the” soul” is born again.
All the best,