THERE once was a woman who lost her baby and her grief was such that she couldn’t believe that her child was dead. She brought the baby to holy men and women – gurus – in hopes of her baby being brought back to life. Each of them told the woman that there was nothing that they could do for her child. 

A friend told the woman that she had heard of forest monks who were with the Buddha and that they might have a cure. The woman took her child to the Buddha and asked if he could cure her. The Buddha said that there was a cure and that all the woman had to do was to bring him a single mustard seed from a house – but he said the house where the seed comes from must not have experienced loss. 

The woman set of in pursuit of the mustard seed, she called on a house and asked the occupants if they had a mustard seed and the reply was yes and the woman was given a mustard seed. She then asked if the house had experienced loss and was told that the house had lost a family member recently. She continued calling on families and was told of the losses that each home had. 

It was at this point that the woman realised that loss comes to us all and that we all grieve. The story goes that the woman went on to become a saint.

It’s amazing how we feel at times that we are the only ones who suffer and that suffering can lead us to ill-health and isolation. Our suffering can also lead us down the pathway of addiction and depression. 

The truth, of course, is we all suffer and one of the greatest panaceas is reaching out to others for help – and we will find that help and support through others if we take the trouble to look. Our strength is found in groups and communities of like-minded people. The old adage, a problem shared is a problem halved, is true. We need to tell our stories and we need to be heard and those who have experienced what you are now going through are the experts through experience. 

Groups are like an oasis that we gather round and are nourished by, nurtured by others who refresh and recharge us for another day. The more we attend the group the more support we receive that enables and empowers us to support others. 

For me, mindfulness practice – especially with a group – gives me the strength to live a meaningful and purposeful life. A good friend once told me that life was to be enjoyed not endured. I have come to believe that what he told me is true.

I personally enjoy reaching out and supporting others.