Being with Dying: Cultivating Compassion and Fearlessness in the Presence of Death

Joan Halifax, Author, Ira Byock, Foreword by , M.D. Shambhala $22.95 (204p) ISBN 978-1-57062-469-8

In this moving meditation on palliative care, Halifax tells a story about a dying Zen teacher who confesses to his students: “Maybe I will die in fear or pain. Remember there is no right way.” This sentiment forms the core of a book that provides practical and philosophical guidance to caregivers. Drawing on her 30 years of experience in the “contemplative care of the dying,” Halifax honestly enumerates the challenges of being with the dying while exalting it as “a school for unlearning the patterns of resistance... [it] enjoins us to be still, let go, listen, and be open to the unknown.” According to Halifax, “bearing witness to dying” can teach innumerable lessons to the living—assuming “we give up our tight control strategies, our ideas of what it means to die well.” Halifax is a Zen priest, and while many of her teachings derive from Buddhism, her supremely readable book will attract readers of all faiths who will appreciate her clarity and compassion and the poignancy of these stories of ordinary people facing their final hours with quiet courage. (June)

Reviewed on: 04/21/2008
Release date: 07/01/2008
Analog Audio Cassette - 6 pages - 978-1-56455-493-2
Compact Disc - 978-1-59179-961-0
Show other formats
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!