Dialogues with Enric Benito. Interview 4: Borderline situations and spiritual growth

From Rehuno Health (Rehuno Salud) and in joint work with the organization ‘At the end of life’ (HASthe end of the Vida), we spoke with Dr. Enric Benito about humanizing the end-of-life process; on the taboos that exist, what a good death is, 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”

Dialogues with Enric Benito – Interview 3 – “Wisdom, courage and compassion in the process of dying”

Dialogues with Enric Benito. Interview 4: Borderline situations and spiritual growth

This is a series of Dialogues 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). His experience and his teachings constitute a real reference for the world of palliative care, for the accompaniment and the humanization of the process of dying well.

During this fourth meeting, which closes this cycle of dialogues, we asked Enric Benito to summarize for us what was dealt with in the previous interviews, during which we spoke of the process of death, of accompaniment, of compassion, presence… and other subjects that constitute a new and hopeful look at the inevitable fact of death.

Enric Benito : Our life is day-to-day oriented towards survival and we don’t think about these more radical questions: we are focused on a superficial level and the most obvious thing, which is that this life is limited, that we have a time allocated, we do not envisage it.

But suddenly, something happens in our life that forces us to stop. Karl Jasper (doctor and philosopher) calls this “borderline situations”. It can be sickness, loss, suffering, the death of others, or our own death.

We are vulnerable to these situations that confront us with reality and we cannot avoid them. It is like a wall against which we collide and which makes us suffer.

In my journey, what I have learned is to see what is beyond this wall. And I see that the suffering is me who produces it when I bump into it. But I can accept this wall and transcend it, see that there is beyond. By accepting rather than rejecting this reality that I cannot change, suddenly, in a way incomprehensible to the mind, one can transcend this limit. We reach another level of reality. It is true that for this transformation to take place, it takes a process that is complex. But what is remarkable is that it can be done, that we can all do it.

Rehuno Santé: Enric, would what you mention about boundaries and what transcends them have anything to do with what you mention in your talks about “spirituality”? And if so, how do we access this knowledge or how do we approach this experience?

Enric Benito: We all have – even if we don’t know it – a lot more capacity and depth than we realize. In these borderline moments, we can access levels of our own consciousness, which bring us more light and understanding..

Spirituality is humanity in its fullness, in its depth, and as a consequence of the encounter with what sustains me, there is a return which would be universal brotherhood.

By accessing deeper levels of my consciousness, I become aware of what sustains me. We know that it is immortal, that it has no name, no age, no gender…and seeing this, we understand others and feel compassion for their suffering.

We come into contact with a joy, a peace and we feel solidarity with the one who suffers because we want the other to discover who he is, who we are, because he has forgotten it. We are consciousness and joy, and consciousness is never threatened. It is the ego that comes into conflict with reality. In the context of my reality, it is the ego that comes into conflict. But my mind searches for the meaning, I accept and I let go and I prepare myself to glimpse a reality which, although I don’t like it, I accept and transform it. Because I let go, and by letting go, I release my energy.

It’s about enlightening the mind, about flourishing as a human being.

A crisis, if accepted, takes us to another level of reality. Another reality must be explored and “helpers” always come to meet it. Life, when it breaks us, gives us the opportunity to discover a depth that is in everyone, full of meaning and fullness.

Here is the full interview:

To watch the video (27′ 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.

Rehuno Santé: So, can death be, in this perspective, a “School of Life” contrary to what is often interpreted and an entry into another dimension of reality?

Enric Benito: In all traditions of wisdom, we can find this expression: “He who dies before he dies does not die”. It means that I identify with this character and I say: I am Enric, I am a doctor, I am a grandfather, I live in Mallorca… No, these are all ephemeral, temporary circumstances that will end one day . If I identified with that, the day I die, all of that will end, and that person will be very scared. Because I identified with that and couldn’t find it, because I was unlucky not to have any problems in my life… I was such a superficial person that I never understood why I was there, I did not ask myself the question of the meaning of life.

When this moment arrives, we feel like the children at the end of recess: we have to go back to class and if we haven’t understood what it is about, we are very distraught. The important thing is to understand that I am not the character who is my envelope. I am this process that I have been through, through my breaks, my fractures, my crises, my difficult times, through introspection and meditation practices, contemplative prayer… whatever name one wants give it… There is a path for the development of the levels of spirituality through which one comes to know the essential nature.

On the frontispiece of the temple of Athens, the temple of Apollo, it was written: “Know thyself” and below: “And you will know the gods and the nature of the Universe”. Because for you, me, all of us, what we are made of is the same nature as the whole. There is really only one reality. There is only one thing that has many forms. When one discovers this in oneself, one can abandon this character, because he is already dead to life. Dr. Benito is already dead, what you see is a character using the consciousness holding him up to give you some information.

The day this body dies, have a party, but don’t cry because:

“To die is only to die. Dying ends.

Dying is a fleeting bonfire.

It is crossing a drifting door.

and find what was so much sought after.

Poem of Martin Descalzo

But that we can find it before… Because “the kingdom of heaven” is a state of consciousness.

Support in the dying process

The first level of accompaniment consists in learning to get rid of fear and to approach with less fear. We realize that he died peacefully, that he is indeed dead and we lose our fear.

On the second level, it would be “I will try to approach without fear to understand what happens to them when they leave”.

We have to accept that the body is a tool, that we are there for a moment and dismantle the character that is not our essential being.

This is learned by accompanying, because if we do it without fear and from an opening of consciousness, we observe that death is a process of transformation.

Fear comes from identifying with the body, and if one discovers that one is a being who travels in this time and this space, one finds an infinite peace and one is no longer afraid. When you are yourself, it becomes natural to accept, to share, to forgive, to love…

Wisdom is an essential part of who we are, it is not found in books; my grandmother had wisdom and she couldn’t read, but she was connected to the essence of her being. In the accompaniment of the process of death, I learned to dismantle a character who has an intellectual weight (doctor oncologist) to reach my essential being.

Peace, harmony, joy and happiness can be the fruit of overcoming a limiting situation such as the death process.

Rehuno Santé: Many thanks, after these four meetings we come out wiser. I hope we can apply your teachings to experience, daily life and personal experience. We close this cycle, but I would like it to be with your words.

Enric Benito : The gratitude is mutual, I would not be able to reach the people I am going to reach without the organization we have put in place. If we work in harmony without protagonism or interest, that makes a lot of sense to me. And I will end with a sentence :

“Me, this little me, I am a hole in the flute of the universe through which the breath of God passes… Listen to the music”.

Poem of the Sufi Mystic hafez.

Translated from Spanish by Ginette Baudelet

For more information or leave your comments: web de At the end of the Vida (At the end of Life) and Rehuno Health

Dialogues with Enric Benito. Interview 4: Borderline situations and spiritual growth