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A Helping Hand

A Helping Hand

On April 15, 2020, Abbot Guo Yuan from Dharma Drum Retreat Center gave an online class to resident doctors from the department of psychiatry at Staten Island University Hospital in New York City. Many of these young psychiatrists have been redeployed as front-line medical physicians to meet the health care needs of the COVID-19 pandemic.

photo by Richard Goldberg

During the class, we were presented with a variety of methods to help relax our bodies and reduce the emotional stress we face at work. We discussed the importance of having an accepting attitude and we acknowledged that we are not in control of the external circumstance of this pandemic.

Abbot Guo Yuan Fashi led us in practices of palms together concentration, walking meditation, and moving meditation. As a group, we felt ourselves becoming more settled and grounded as we practiced.

During the question and answer session, Abbot Guo Yuan provided a gentle perspective on death and dying and how doctors can keep a positive perspective when faced with the death of their patients.

After this session, one of the doctors reflected on their experience saying, “His thoughts about the way to approach death were very helpful to me.”

Another doctor said, “Very valuable tools. Meditation has been my crutch to keep me sane especially during these times.”

Another said, “All these techniques will come in handy for not only residency but just the daily stressors of life.”

As resident doctors, we thank Abbot Guo Yuan as well as Ven. Chang Xing for taking the time to support us in this time of great need.

We will use these methods not only to benefit ourselves, but also to be more available to the people we are serving during these challenging times.

JD Henneberry
April 17, 2020
New York City