Veterans understand the nature of suffering and can heal others


Lily Casura, who produces the blog, Healing Combat Trauma, not only gives her readers HOPE, she interacts with vets and her healing program has helped many come back from dark places within their minds and souls. Her blog is listed under my blogroll in the right column. There you will find an understanding heart and compassionate ear when you subscribe to Healing Combat Trauma. Facebook has become the forum in which Lily’s comments and blogs stimulate great discussions between vets as well as with her.  Lily’s search to find quotable inspiration for vets is just one way in which she reaches out to them. In this particular blog, she quotes author Claude Anshin Thomas from his book, “At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace.” He presents a message few face or acknowledge yet is nevertheless redeeming — Veterans can be a “powerful force for healing in the world.”

Originally posted August 17, 2008 on Healing Combat Trauma

“Again from Claude Anshin Thomas, a lovely quote about the true power of the combat veteran’s experience. For every veteran who suffers whether silently or with loud cries and tears; or who ends his or her life because they simply can’t take the pain anymore (and I wish they wouldn’t — they have so much to give), here’s a reflection on what their experience can really communicate: At the retreat Thich Nhat Hanh said to us, ‘You veterans are the light at the tip of the candle. You burn hot and bright. You understand deeply the nature of suffering.’

“He told us that the only way to heal, to transform suffering, is to stand face-to-face with suffering, to realize the intimate details of suffering and how our life in the present is affected by it. He encouraged us to talk about our experiences and told us that we deserved to be listened to, deserved to be understood. He said we represented a powerful force for healing in the world.

“He also told us that the nonveterans were more responsible for the war than the veterans: that because of the interconnectedness of all things, there is no escape from responsibility; that those who think they aren’t responsible are the most responsible. The very lifestyle of the nonveterans supports the institutions of war. The nonveterans, he said, needed to sit down with the veterans and listen, really listen to our experience. They needed to embrace whatever feelings arose in them when engaging with us – not to hide from their experience in our presence, not to try to control it, but just to be present with us.”

From “At Hell’s Gate: A Soldier’s Journey from War to Peace,” by Claude Anshin Thomas. To read this and all the great articles and source material Lily Casura has either written or collected, sign up on her website, Healing Combat Trauma, to find out about the interactive healing programs she is developing with vets.

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About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
This entry was posted in Afghanistan vets, Canadian Armed Forces, depression, emotional trauma, Homecoming Vets, post traumatic stress disorder, veterans' affairs, veterans' assistance programs and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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