Building community in a changing world

January 18, 2022

Being With Suffering While Dying

My intention for this year is to become more familiar with dying, particularly being with dying. I’m presently reading Roshi Joan Halifax’s “Being with Dying” and it’s been enlightening.

Right now, I’m learning how to deal with the suffering that often comes with the final stages of death. And how to be with it. Here’s an excerpt that highlights the points made about truly being present when with someone who is dying – letting go to attachments to how the death should be – and also compassionate and open to relieving suffering if possible:

This double-arrowed vision is yet another paradox of being with dying. I try to open to both suffering and freedom from suffering. If I see only suffering, then I am caught in the relative nature of existence: we are nothing but suffering. But if I see only the pure and vast heart, then I am denying our human experience.