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CONTEMPLATIONS ON DEATH AND IMPERMANENCE

Freaking out is not a supportive way to help your beloved pass peacefully. Also, if your role in someone’s death is as a care professional it is not so good to create even more drama at the bedside of your clients. Death is natural and we’re all going to do it. Making peace with the fact that we all die is something we as helpers should work on to effectively help one another during transition time.  

Death is guaranteed to each and every one of us, and we’re going to have to give up all of our stuff anyway.  We never know when it’s coming – it could happen at any age.

My hope with this website is to find a way to deal with the existential crisis before we are freaking out.

Setting aside time for just being quiet and just focusing on death contemplations have been important to me and others I know. Meeting friends for contemplation once a week has worked well, as has practicing Death Meditations during the weeks on my own.

There are many guided meditations online.  Find a couple or more friends and start a death meditation group – I did this, there are others out there who may be interested. Most Death Meditations are not scary. These are basically contemplations on loss, impermanence and death. I think of this as really useful homework.  Also, paradoxically, they're not depressing, in fact, they are mostly the opposite.  

Joan Halifax's book, "Being with dying : cultivating compassion and fearlessness in the presence of death." is a great place to start. It has wonderful meditations at the end of every chapter.

Ajhan Achalo has some of my very favorite death meditations. His guided meditations can be accessed online for free on YouTube.

The 9-point Death Meditation is a popular one. Download it, print it out and carry it with you!

There is a lot of good stuff out there.

QUESTION:  Are these meditations dangerous?

I don’t believe meditation is inherently dangerous. However, too much of anything can cause problems. You can do what you are comfortable doing and what makes sense to you, please. Know that thousands of people have practiced death meditations.  In general, meditation and contemplation is not a cure-all. If you are under the care of a psychologist,  let them know what you are doing. If you’re on medications, stay on your medications.

 

Marcie Vallette

mvallette@hotmail.com