Building community in a changing world

February 2, 2022

Being in Silent Presence With Those That Are Dying

Following up on my reading of Roshi Joan Halifax’s “Being with Dying,” I got a lot of value about the idea of talking in “council.” The idea for caregivers and the dying to sit together and speak honestly and openly together. Listening devoutly and intently. These guiding principles for this group practice rang true:

1. Speaking from the heart
2. Listening from the heart
3. Speaking concisely
4. Speaking spontaneously

I also found the idea of a “speaking object” interesting. That whomever held that object, it was a way of indicating that it was their turn to speak (ie. no cross-talk).

I also was drawn to the notion that many of the dying wish to sit in silence with you. That they don’t want the routinized communication, idle chatter and repeated questions. Merely being in presence was the support that they treasure the most…