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The Teaching

Being With The Dying

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How To Be With Those Who Are Dying
How To Be There
Don't desert. In being there with the patient be open, simple and in the present. Listen with your heart, not your mind. There's often anger, denial and fear before acceptance of the inevitable.

Open up to the possibility of the moment of death. There, in the change from form to formlessness, from here to not-here, from breath to not-breath, is the opportunity of eternity. With courage your presence will assist the patient to make their own passage.

Don't try to fix the pain. The key to dying is allowing oneself to relax. Embracing our natural fears of the unknown with acceptance and joy brings one through difficult moments expanding our capacity to surrender and let go.

Surrendering to the moment of death includes allowing pain and fear, but not giving in to panic. Focusing attention past the physical form replaces the priority of our eternal self to its natural priority.

Permit the terminal patient to remember their essential being. The attention of the being is designed to carry through the transitions of death and birth. The state between death and birth for which our western culture has no words becomes visible to the terminal patient as passage approaches.

Transit, or the bardos, can be prepared for by the patient through development of the attention of the essential being. When the time comes for death and transition the prepared Voyager can maintain with little or no panic. As you place your own attention of essential being on the essential being of another, you assist in the power of their voyage.

Be sincere and constant. Being honest and speaking directly to the being helps maintain their connection to the purity and strength of their being, enabling them to meet passage with serenity.

Silence and stillness may be what the patient wishes. It isn't always necessary to be doing or talking, sometimes it is better to just "be still and know that I am God". Finding in yourself that stillness will allow the truth to be stated easily and simply if any words need to be spoken.

Be a terminal midwife. The experience between death and birth carries with it forgetfulness and ego disintegration. Someone who is not experienced at remaining attentive through death may feel very disoriented. Being there as a midwife is an act of compassion toward the being, assisting them in remaining as conscious as possible through the ensuing unsettling transition.

You might find yourself having to prepare your own self for dying by helping to be with another who is dying. This is one of the most helpful aspects of being with those who are dying… they don't know any more about it than you do, until you learn from dying itself. Then as you are more willing and able to help others face their own struggles you may find yourself dealing with that which prevents you from remaining attentive to your essential being. This will bring you greater possibility of consciousness and greater awareness of the nature of death and dying.


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