Dialogues with Enric Benito. Interview 02: “The therapeutic power of PRESENCE”

From Rehuno Health (Rehuno Salud) and in joint work with the organization ‘At the end of life’ (At the end of the Vida) we talk with Dr. Enric Benito about humanizing the end-of-life process. On the taboos that exist, what is a good death, palliative care and other questions around the accompaniment of these important moments in the life of all people and their loved ones.

Dialogues with Enric Benito. Interview 01: “The dying process is beautifully organized”

Dialogues with Enric Benito. Interview 02: “The therapeutic power of PRESENCE”

This is a series of dialogues that we will publish periodically and in which we want to spread a vision of the process of death that is full of humanity and meaning.

Enric Benito is a medical doctor, specialist in oncology and honorary member of the Spanish Society of Palliative Care SECPAL (Sociedad Española de Cuidados Paliativos). His experience and his teachings constitute a real reference for the world of palliative care and for the accompaniment and humanization of the process of dying well.

In this second interview, we talked about ‘presence’ and asked Enric Benito to define it:

“Presence is the ability we all have to inhabit the present, to be fully connected with the consciousness that sustains us,” he replied.

He continued: “There is a phrase from master Nath Hanh, who died this year; this sentence says: “the best gift you can give to someone is your presence. When you offer your presence to someone else, this person can flourish, progress, connect to themselves. We could talk about the capacity that we human beings have to be connected with what we really are, with our essence, with our ontological foundation. There is no word for it. »

Dr. Benito explains that we spend a lot of time talking to ourselves: There is a narrative, biographical “me” that is constantly thinking about what to do, what to say, etc. All this chatter blurs and obscures the essential. During important moments, I have to stop this chatter and be very attentive because there is a situation that requires my attention. I can voluntarily encourage this attitude of being connected with myself, of being present, without judgement, without interpretation, without adding content.

When you accompany someone who is suffering and you offer to help them, presence should be the basis, the foundation or the platform of the helping relationship.

To help someone, I have to be very present and very connected to myself. This promotes trust, silence, peace, connection in the other person, and a very beneficial relationship begins to be established.

Marc-Aurèle says: “We must be like a promontory in the sea, where the waves, the storm, the din, crash and are attenuated, calmed… This concept in the therapeutic relationship is fundamental. If you are worried, anxious, agitated, nervous, the patient’s anxiety and your own are mixed, there is a conflict and the situation becomes complicated, ”adds Enric Benito.

We asked him about the indicators that a professional can observe to know that he is in a state of Presence and he told us: “It is cultivated over time, the mind must act, but it is necessary that she be at peace, serene. Imagine a heart surgeon person, they must be connected to themselves and present. It’s something we can all do, because we have experience and we’ve learned to stay calm. »

The indicators

– There is a meaning opening ; one is open, interested, eager to know what one can do, without judgment; the other feels confident, welcoming.

– things are clear, one sees beyond the immediate circumstances; the vision of immediate reality and appearances is more extensive; we see more in depth.

– We feel equanimityserenity, one is not overwhelmed by the suffering and anxiety of the other or by circumstances.

-We feel energy. There is a point of vitality, of creativity. Our presence is not amorphous, there is an ability to generate creative responses.

To watch the video (24′ 40′′) with French subtitles on a computer: 1. Click the icon Subtitles (white rectangle at the bottom right of the video player window). 2. Click the icon Settings (gear wheel at the bottom right), then successively click on Subtitlesthen on Translate automatically. 3. In the window that opens, scroll down the list of languages ​​and click on French.

(Video of the full interview from which we extracted what is published here)

REHUNO Santé asked Enric Benito how to strengthen these characteristics; how can professionals (doctors, nurses, companions, etc.) cultivate this presence, and here is his answer.

There are some specific exercises

  • Cultivating mindfulness, being mindful of what is happening, any regular practice of mindfulness, (meditation, breathing, mindfulness, vipassana, contemplative prayer, samatha, etc.) exercised regularly, as mental hygiene.

People who practice in this way develop a capacity for “metacognition”, like “I realize”, I observe myself and I observe what is happening around me. I can interpret all of this in a new way. All of this ability to regulate emotions depends on cultivating mindfulness.

  • When something has happened to you, you need to reflect: analyze and learn. There are no mistakes, there are experiences. Be responsible in your analysis when something has gone wrong, without feeling guilty.

This can also be done as a team (nurses, doctors, therapists, volunteers, etc.): talking, questioning oneself objectively, without reproach: what happened? what have we learned? what could we have done better? … This is how the team grows and learns.

There are examples of how to cultivate mindfulness

  • Take breaks during the day, for example when you wash your hands, take the opportunity to breathe, to connect with your interior… Don’t run all day from one place to another.
  • When there is a complicated situation, a sick person in a difficult situation, a family who needs help, etc. ; slow down, breathe, get ready and connect!
  • The invocation: I am an instrument of life that will help this patient, I will not enter the room alone. I ask for the most sacred to accompany me… He has no name (the energy of the universe, the holy spirit, atman, Allah… whatever the name is) and I ask for his help to serve these people with my best attitude. Go there by being open, connected, present!

I invite practitioners (with the scientific method) to do this, and try to see how it works for them. If it doesn’t work, forget it. But if it works for them, they will know that they are not alone and that life inspires us so that we can be of service to others.

We asked Enric Benito for a final recommendation, and he told us: “We are tools at the service of others. »

Presence is born of humility (I know what I know, and I know nothing more) and courage. Invoking this presence and cultivating connection with the essential is a journey that we can cultivate.

I believe that accompanying and caring for others is one of the most powerful spiritual paths to developing as a person, not only as a professional, but also as a human being.

Cultivating the Presence is a path we can take every day, throughout our lives, to develop the best version of ourselves.

Rehuno Health (Rehuno Salud)

At the end of life (At the end of the Vida)

See as well : Enric Benito: “Dying is an interesting process, it doesn’t hurt and it ends well”

Translated from Spanish by Evelyn Tischer

We would like to say thanks to the author of this article for this amazing material

Dialogues with Enric Benito. Interview 02: “The therapeutic power of PRESENCE”

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