« Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris

#171: Frank Ostaseski, What Death Can Teach Us About Living

Frank Ostaseski experienced death at a young age, losing his mother as a teenager and his father just a few years later. In his search for healing, he found meditation. With this as his foundation, Ostaseski would go on to become a pioneer in end-of-life care. He co-founded the Zen Hospice Project, the first Buddhist hospice in America, establishing a model for mindful and compassionate care and he founded the Metta Institute training countless healthcare clinicians and caregivers treating those facing life-threatening illness. He explains what he's come to learn about death, and life, through his experiences. Have a question for Dan? Leave us a voicemail at 646-883-8326. The Plug Zone Bio: https://fiveinvitations.com/about-frank-ostaseski/ Author, The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully https://fiveinvitations.com/
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
For maybe see Ten percent happier Vodka Dan, What a story are guess it's incredible life story. Lots of use will take away from the rest of us as well. We'll get the Frank asked assess, come up. First, oh of few pieces of housekeeping three actually The first is just went out that dead, meditation challenge that we ve been running at ten percent happier is really well subscribed. Thank you guys for signing up. Thirty thousand p participating in the two years. Meditation challenge. Second, that there are some new meditations up on the ten percent happier app want to go check them out. One of them is about gratitude, for seven Selassie former guest on the show. The other is called is worrying useful by a I am Dan Harris and the third item of business is that were making a little bit of a structural change. To this show, as close listeners will recall, we get a bit
survey listener survey a few months ago, hundreds and hundreds of you took time to fill. The survey out, and I think it took a not insignificant amount of time, of which I am profoundly and genuinely grateful, and one of one of the key were making we're gonna make several as a consequence of all this feedback. Is that we're in a mood? with a voice. Males too, end of the show, so we get right to our guest every week and that at the end the show I will be taking genes from anybody who wants to call him leave us leave his question. On the voicemail number that we set up, which is available in the show, notes and. Actually another thing we're going to do not starting this week, but starting reasonably soon news is, I won't be the only person answering the questions, we're actually going to bring in meditation teachers. To answer some of the questions, scientist it in actual experts coming up so we're
having based on your feedback- and I really appreciate it. So I guess this week the aforementioned Frank US dusky. This guy has, I said, has had a really interesting life, characterized by some your pain when he was younger sums. Here and discuss them of what it was. Like in his home when he was younger, went onto we need a life of as he describes it. Drugs sex rock and roll? And then covered Buddhism and moreover, in Asia and came home and started to. Unlike many of us, we we meditate or we a little bit of Buddhism or whatever and its for us. It's a private thing This guy lived it out in a big way He was involved in caring for the homeless, Sir on the front lines of the AIDS epidemic lobby in Congress? And I think, where he's made his most notable mark is that
Eighteen, eighty seven he cofounded the Zen hospice project, which was the first buddhist Hospice in America as as listeners some listeners may remember, I'm also volunteer in a hospice I'll be going later. Today is manufactured visit, my friend Ronnie And- I think it's incredibly meaningful work. I suspect I get a lot more out of it. Then. As a volunteer than than the residents do, but its it is incredible the important work now lot of feed, not enough people are, doing it and are certainly no shortage of people who need it so frank- is pioneer in this space and he's written a book just out in paperback called the five invitations the five invitations- and he takes you, but down decades of experience sitting at the bedside with people on the cusp and what he's learned about what he's learn in those moments that can be used. For the rest of us to live happier.
Healthier lives right now, hopefully well before we die and he's got these five really excellent lessons that he's learned as a consequence of all this time sent spent at the bedside that, hence the title, the five invitations aright time for me to stop the Emirates and, let's bring in Frank Europe great to me, nice to be with you, so how did you get into meditation in the first place? Oh, you know, I think I could give you all kinds of elevator speed. It is for that. But the truth is and to avoid my own pan and I tried everything sex rock and roll. None of it worked. And I think some juncture you turned toward your suffering- becomes the ground. A compassionate meditation was that craft that helped me to do that. What was going on in your life at the time when you first made that decision Oh, I came up in a family that had trouble to them. Sue alcoholics.
Mom died when I was a teenager, my dad a few years later. So really. That's, Yeah, where was this I'm alone here here So you know me in death we were early companions, we get to know each other, quite young age, my ass, carrying radically painful fear, a teenager at this time. Yeah I'm teenager and, like all teenagers, I thought I was invulnerable and most of the people were too so deaf came as a big shock, ends
I would add that, as that at the time is that the time when you started getting Buddhism and meditation or was that much later came a few years later, I tried a lot of other things. First and then you know a trip to Asia. I was one of those dharmu bombs was travelling around Asia in the seventies and late sixties early seventies. So that's where got me introduction and then back here in the states with Joseph them and Jack ass. If in doubt, Joseph goes to inject cornfield year, an old friends the teachers in and our friends, but I'm curious e c grove in this family that had as you describe travel, and then you find yourself in your twenties. Bomb around India investigating Buddhism and meditation, and things like that. What had between what whited? Why did that become your route?. Supposed him in there could have been much less horse,
decisions that would have changed the trajectory of your life. Absolutely and in the case of my own family, my younger brother, for example, shows that if route he chose alcohol and drugs and he died at each forty eight so you know, I think sometimes so you know it's hard to know exactly how our lives progressed. Sometimes they go forward in a linear path. They meander a bit like a longer creek or river, my meandered for a bit and them but eventually because mentors good examples. I turned toward what most other people want to run away from an you you away. I got into hospice work without an end at outgrowth of your interested in tourism in meditation. I think so you know in Buddhism. You know you know better than I that one of its we'll teachings is impermanence that all three
come and go all things change them We like to think of ourselves as a solid thing going through a changing world but actually we are also that change him. So what The central practices is a reflection of death, so Buddhism was a big influence in that, but so is my own parents dying. I work in refugee camps since other Mexico in Guatemala for a while, I saw a lot of horrible dying on redeemable suffering actually know when I come back to and which was good. The AIDS epidemic was just beginning, and I was on early front lines of the AIDS epidemic where I never knew what we were doing in how we were they are very best to care for our friends and endow and those people who we were meeting for the first time, sometimes in incredibly intimate condition. But also very, very terrible conditions. You, you say: you are working refugee camps around on the front lines of aid crisis under watch. What AEGIS were reduced,
Other on your owner, well, I went to Mexico with my son and his mother. A sensible to have a holiday, but then we were in Southern Mexico in Chiapas and there. There was hundreds tens of thousands of refugees fleeing in Central America, and so we got one you know we. First, we donate money that we do need some blood. You know we were flying overflying small aeroplanes into jungle camps. And working with people there when it can back to San Francisco and AIDS epidemic at the beginning. We didn't know what we were dealing with and are we forget that about the AIDS epidemic? in those days. In the very early days? Not someone? People want to be around this experience. And so those of us who are willing to be there had an awful lot of access so I have absolutely no decrease the only degree I have only certificate. A habits are red Cross lifesaving certificate, shouted. I sixteen
think has now expired. No college degree the people who are really my teachers were folks who are dying in these were folks. Can cultures. I didn't know speaking languages, sometimes I couldn't understand and them You know. Sometimes they have great faith in pull them through their experience and an attempt states one of religion years ago, some of them. Blossomed and found deep acceptance and kindness and other people turned toward the warm withdrawal and hopelessness, depression and never turned back again. Although those people, my teachers here, you do you have a conventional career that you left to do this type of work noise who does rock and roll shows really yeah? I work here. And on the West Coast there so was an effort to try and be somebody. You tell me Lord Wilmore, but that failure left I want. I want to get into that
more germane topic for the earth, but this podcast, but I'm Jai, counts strain. My curiosity. I don't know that that is that important, but you know to work in a school for disabled kids, on an island and every time want to do something with those kids. They said what we now have the money. So Forget you, the money, can we do it? So we still, we start. Producing rock chose to raise money for those guys. Next thing I knew I was swept up in that became a producer started working with all kinds of groups. You know everybody. Was everybody in the day, Jefferson, aeroplanes line the family stone all the enormous stars of those so this was in the sixties. Every year later admit, seventies did did is pre or post get your time in India related it freely. Ok, so you did after being in Rock n Roll India look really appealing and you must have seen a lot of people cannot become casual
he's of the party in that, in that era a mean them you it's beautiful in some ways and was really wild and fun, but also there was a lot of destruction that was part of that. Time is well using me. Justify the treaty, yet a bead on what You know you had siblings, who didn't survive the experience of childhood. You had friends, you didn't survive the experience of rock and roll, and yet something he knew was, I don't know, So what happened with you? The first time you sat down on meditation, cushion, Probably there is some resistance here. That would be an understanding, ok, but then there was some juncture which may be it made sense to you. Yes right and what was that moment? Like you know it's right there in that it was the same moment. So for me I I said I had resistance. This is crazy, is impossible,
and yet I also saw I don't enough reading before I've had my first meditation session to know it was be hard, and I also owe this could be useful is seeing of how crazy you are and using at seeing and familiarity with the insanity to not be so owned by it. Oh yeah, ok, it makes sense in easy, but it makes sense exactly so that The idea that it makes sense right is not just a cognitive sense either you have this feeling like this fits this fits I don't have to believe in anything in order to know this practice of mindfulness. I have to trust my own direct experience of it and that's what happened for me when I came to practice. It made sense. You know it and became the the lens through which I could begin to understand my life and also how to help other people through their life. Their troubles are now How did you even know? Mindfulness was meditation
the thing I mean you were not from what I gather, you weren't, Obviously, in that world who knows what brings us to a particular juncture in your life. You know, I mean something you know Is it comes from inspiration? First right, you read something real meaning. Each year that you really admire warm young have some chance encounter with some that's the first quality of faith and then out of that comes your direct experience and have some kind of abiding face. Then we have some capacity. Is we have some experience. We know we can just this practice an event. Play that comes to something much deeper, a much deeper quality of faith, not blind faith, but real trust. Trust it not only in the practice in the craft of the practice, but trust in our humanity. What drew you to the work that you ended up doing you described a lot of it and we're gonna get watch deeper into them. The work you have done.
Starting in Mexico or at least from what I can gather starting in Mexico and then continue through the age crisis. You said before not mine lot of people wanted access to this experience. What about you wanted to be there for that? You know dinner If we really honest about this stuff in her. Hence our own self interest drives us sometimes So so for me, I actually- and I think it is to have a lot of people working in healthcare. I think there's an effort or a I that, if you're with someone else's pain is worse than yours, yours may not seem so bad. Work. Sometimes you gotta turn toward this experience and find out what it has to teach. You I was talking about this moving towards suffering with a retreat. I was teaching in the north West, and this guy said to me: that's like telephone calls.
What the hell I was talking about. What you mean he's a telephone calls install telephone calls you put him on the ground and thirty forty feet high and they started shaken move and they can fall on a man break his back. He said the first I was on a job. I saw that Poland, I said to my partner if that poor, false I'm gonna like hell. That way in his partner was an old timer. You know he said. Are you don't do that? You should have that pollsters? For you, Wanna go right up to it and put your hands right on it. Since the only safe place to be. We're always running away from our suffering, and it smacks in the back of the head and I think the only safe place we can ever be what it is to go right up to it and put our hands gently mercifully on it, that's where the healing begins, and so for me that was about, toward first going to add other people suffering and then at helping me really Ray smile. They know, I think, a lot listen this by castor, meditated or meditation curious and eight. They know enough to know that Whole game in meditation is
when our running away from our difficult emotions were reduced getting them with some now judgment, though maybe even some some warmth that doesn't mean we want to go said and change diapers of the dying people that that to me seems like an extra leap that you made A great one, but not an obvious one, necessarily. But you ve done some of this work. You know what it's like to be at the bedside. It's a the honest place to be yes and them You know when you, when you grow up around a lot of well, let's call it fake life, it really refreshing actually to be with people were thus the genuine, no one folks who are dying, what matters most gets really clear. Really fast, ask me this all the time. What does matter in water? People's great regret. I don't care about people's great regret. Let's go just in I'm interested in
transformations had happened, the two questions that come of a people that I'm with? I basically am I loved And did I love well, and everything else is extra. So to have those kinds of conversations to be with people in those kinds of net direct way, the intimate way that's, which Romania being folks were die he's got you so you found it a centre in San Francisco. Can you tell us about that? But he but in a program called the Zen hospice project. It was the first Buddhist, hospice in America and started out of the San Francisco. Since I know it was founded by security. And there we didn't have much of a plan. Honestly, we just thought there was a natural match between people who are cultivating what we might call the listening mind in meditation, listening heart and people who It had to be heard folks who would die.
And we started working with, mostly with people who were living on the streets or in a sorrow, hotels, folks that nobody else was looking after our very few people are looking after an them. We just began with a kind of fusion of spiritual insight and practical social action. And we started by working with people on the streets in and we created a hospice residence and that we created a forty bed palliative care unit in the nations. But just long term care facilities in San Francisco. And I got it from us twenty years and got to sit bedside with maybe a few thousand people and they were remarkable people like you and me regular folks. You know who. Found some way of meeting what they thought was unbearable for unimaginable and yet finding some way to go towards it and sometimes not always, but sometimes
the merger, something larger than the separate softly taken themselves to be, or how does that? How does it happen where you're describing? How can you get it more concrete so that there was a guy went to see was referred or hospice using psychiatric internet San Francisco general. And he was some there because he tried to take his life and he tried to take his life because it terminal cancer and it couldn't imagine any future with any dignity. So and he was in this stark psychiatric in it, and I went in I sat down beside him. He was turned toward this green institutional wall and I just had for and after some time he turned to many. Who are you nobody's ever set this long with me in silence in this room before. And I told him I was in us from this hospice. So what do you want? And he said, spaghetti And I said: well, we make really great spaghetti once you come with us
ok and that was the end of the admission into the sky, comes to our residents and next day we have a big, both spaghetti waiting for him because and spaghetti at home and nutrients and familiarity. We didn't stop wanting to kill himself just because we gave spaghetti good spaghetti, but was not good. So this was many years ago before the assisted physicians, death laws were in place, so we still wanted to investigate. Taking his life, Sometimes we have to go to the darkest places defined what he is. So we get this book. It talked about how to take your livelier terminal illness. I read em a chapter seven, guess. I'm was really convinced that the willingness to go toward this experience that you ve helped us understand a moment ago is where healing is always found. You didn't take his life and a few days before he died should frank. I wanna thank you,
if you now that I've ever been- and I said, come on Few days ago you want to kill yourself cuz, you couldn't walk in the park and write in your diary. So what was that all about? And then he said to me what I was just chasing desire. So what do you mean? You mean those activities are unimportant, you anymore it and he said no, no, it's not the activities that bring my joy. It's the attention to the activities he said now. My pleasure comes from the coolness of the breeze softness sheets. I thought this is a remarkable turner. Ever guy minute, a psychiatric unit lived on the streets of San Francisco before them. He had buddhist training we never time to meditate. Created an atmosphere was mindful that was compassionate. That allowed whatever needed happen to happen so yeah we brought mindfulness, we brought put his practice into that into the activity of care
giving here, we never ward shirt sleeves, you know the people we took care of, they lived on the streets, didn't care beans about Buddhism, are meditation but they were highly motivated to be free of suffering. Network gets most of was to sit down. I meditation cushion the first place right That's it using the approach he took with him was not one that I think much westward. Reflexively have taken, which would have been, everything to make him feel better and to talk em out of kind. Take his own life. Why I'll be there I think that that is what we would do habitually air yeah. I think that, because we have a lot of fear suffering and so we wanted to go away a lot of not what happens in healthcare today. New people now have naturally empathetic, and we naturally reach out to each other out of concern and care. In wanting to relieve people suffering that speed.
But there's another motivation. It arises for us in its. Personal self interest, or an effort to try and avoid our own discomfort. And then we start doing things to other people to relieve our own personal distress. So I think we have to really watch that line there, where we start trying to make something happened for another person said we want peace upset. I mean example is earlier hospice a woman. Was dying. She was a little depress, the little blue and unnatural. She was dying, and the nurse came to visit and said you know. I think we should start some antidepressants depressants I said: why do you think that these anti depressants take six weeks to get? You know a benefit and she said what a woman so uncomfortable, it sought to watch her be so uncomfortable, very tongue in cheek, I said, or maybe you should take the other depresses, so I think
There has to be room in our hearts and our lives for suffering. We have to recognise even that this evaluation, and I don't mean some kind of martyrdom, but that suffering helps us. Actually, it helps us feel compassion for other people. It helps us appreciate this. Life of ours It helps us to recognise our common ground with one another. So imagine if you're, sick and everybody around you has no room for your sickness. There's no room for your pan. That's a hard environment to be in yeah, but I do want them to give me pain, relief. Yeah me too. I want the best of me. If we used we had morphine by fifty five gowns from there. I'm being facetious, but our I mean to say. Yes, we need to manage people's pain addressed her symptoms adequately, but
It's not all this happening in the dying process. It's not just about physical pain or even mental anguish. What happens in dying is to profound for any one model, so I think we need that being the best what medicine has to offer? But is not solely a medical event. It's more in it issued relationships my relationship with myself with those I love my career. With gotta whenever, whatever image of ultimate kindness I hold, and so our sometimes Thompson being with folks were dying- is to address those relationships and for me Relationship is best addressed. Some degree of mastery- and who I want my pain, controlled- mastery is not enough right. So then we need so. Double with me in the territory of meaning help me figure out what the purpose invaluable life has been, but even that fades away.
After a while, and then we need some use comfortable in the territory of mystery in other than the land of unanswerable questions. You know where Sometimes the best we can do is stay in the room. I think all of that is facilitated by mindfulness, giving most people and our culture get at it, that's infused with meaning in mystery, or do they just get a medical ass death, Think we ve so over professionalized and a dying, a technological experience. That we deal with it like we're just making the best of a bad situation and so yeah I think people are dying with a great deal of fear and distressed by also linked to something we can do about that. I think, when we only see dying, is making the best of a bad situation. We we divide you dying we Robert of its wholly significance and them. We underestimate the kind of transitions bitter possible. I mean the folks
I work with it. We ve been talking about here. Sometimes They make remarkable turnarounds in the final months of life or days of light for some minutes of and we might save too late, and I would agree too late to do that in the last few minutes of your life, but here's the thing that possibility exists then, while it exists now and will have to wait until the time of dying to make that kind of transformation, look. You say more about that. How would that would what's the mechanism by which their well. Let's look at me, you know, let's see what happens if we turn toward the experience of constant change us just take that really simply write We rely on and permanent story. I mean I called you have scan eventually gonna go away that really boring dinner party you gonna go to tonight will come to an end in a prison but you'll terms, end, we rely on impermanence. I was just in Japan for Cherry Blossom season in beautiful, delicate flowers covering the
This is cabin where I teach in Idaho and outside had the cabin. There are these little tiny, blue flax, flowers last for a single day. So tell me: why are those joy bosomed, those blue flax or so much more beautiful and plastic flowers, I mean, isn't it there? remedy invite us into their beauty and gratitude I think it's true with our lives too. I think the fact that this life is precarious helps us to appreciate how precious it is. Until we know what a waste a moment they wanted. Jump into our life and use it in a responsible way. You know we wanted other people. We loved that we love to an end and we all want to miss this life. How do we operate eyes that advice and Anne and make it because inspiring to sit with you in here. You say that, and we ve had previous guess on the show who said similar thing you and
you know, I says somebody who, as you mentioned, I do volunteer and a hospice I'll be going there later today. My son and my wife and yet I often find myself walking out of the hospice checking my phone and back into the stream of shirt stuff, I gotta do and the power of forgetting is overwhelming near the. I think you know Look I like swimming the ocean. I like it a lot and I sometimes swim for three or four hours way out of the ocean, but I respect the ocean Silicon Sweet me away in a moment. Habits are like that. I respect habit, Sweet me away, as you say, you're in this incredibly enow insightful moment, sin bedside with someone you gotta check your smartphone right I think we have to cultivate the habit of paying attention and I don't think it's morbid to reflect on dying. In fact, I think, is very life, a firm, So here is a simple it operational
teaching. I was at a dinner for folks from Silicon Valley recently and I said would, by the way, the Silicon Valley for an engineer it so that we do. Exactly exactly know these guys. I'm a dinner in these guy said. I say to these guys: death is inevitable mediately guys, hang goes up these as well you're working on that- and I see great you know- please let me know when you get it not. You know not, but I said: let's, take the word death of sense, a sister about endings. How do you meet endings you know the ending of sentence, the ending of a relationship the ending of a meal, the ending of the day. How do you meet endings. You know art wet. What, when an event finishes in know, are you the first went out the door? to be thinking about getting out the door before the event was over in or maybe the last. When the parking lot waving the bite, everybody I don't have a moral judgment about how you should meet endings. I just want to be conscious of our habits or on
The way we meet an ending shapes the way the next thing begins. So that's away to operational eyes it you know, My wife and I will we go to sleep at night. We we, we often each other three or four questions before we go to sleep. One of the questions we ask is what inspired you today. I know that helps us than other leading edge of our life, but the next week we ask, is what challenged you today, because we know growing comforts answer and then we asked the third one, which is what surprised you today. That's a good one surprise shows us where we exercising too much control like. You know my granddaughter and I love to play peekaboo I can do pickup, with her ten thousand times when she surprised every single time but you know you throw an adult, surprise party and they say something like who is responsible for this. You know and then the fourth question is,
where'd. You learn about love today,. So that those are really simple reflections, but we to close our day, but also to set up the next day? So I think we can just go through our life. You know haphazard early or we can go through a consciously. We can cultivate habits which inclined, to a paying attention. Stay tuned more of our conversation is on the way after this. Is it still a struggle to get that good knights? then, maybe it's time to try the purple mattress. It's made out of a new material that makes it firm and soft so keeps everything supported, while still feeling really comfortable, try it now, with a one hundred night risk free trial along with free shipping and returns, and if you order one you'll get a free purple pillow with the purchase of a mattress, just text happier to force.
Four thousand seven hundred and forty seven. The only way to get the pillow is to text happier, two hundred and forty seven, four thousand seven hundred and forty seven message and data rates may apply. Excellent points had startled him. A little bit about your book said. Call the five and invitations in a really, as I understand it, the still five things are you ve learned from, as you said before, that sitting bedside with thousands people as they as they make this transition? Can we walk truly, would you be a game to walk through the immature? That's what's number one! Well, First of all, these are principles it will say they were guides that we use to take your folks. Who would I and then we found out? Well, boy did not useful in attending to people who are dying. But for the rest that's a living, a life of integrity for the first one is don't wait, don't wait. Waiting is full of expectation. For the next moment, all right. We missed this one. I can't tell you later there was a family member Sicilian when his mom gonna die and.
Waiting. For that moment. We miss all moments in between so. Don't wait as a kind of fun meant to live very present right here and now in he immediacy of this moment and to really stepped fully into. Don't wait so Can it also apply to things like you know, I know I've got it for legal Cheesy word a dream, a career ambition or magic ambition or whatever things that I think oh yeah mild, Really what I want to do with would you know, Would you argue for those people who have something like that cookin sitting around and pining is probably not the best move with. Maybe you know making you're acting on these impulses I think it useful to think about. Our taking you know
having some agency in our life, but I don't, I think it most superficial to just think. How do we satisfier bucket list- That's one way to think about this: let's do all the things that we want to do, but you know those of us with the most waste unnecessary, aren't necessarily the happiest. So Don't wait is more like to tell someone you loved that you, your mother, You know I had a guy my board and his son mom was dying. He was in San Francisco shoes in Tirana and though he said you know, The doktor she has six weeks to live when should I go, I said know: let's talk about it, you came over me visited and he told me what it acts had said to him and ass. He And then I asked about his mom and dad book about his mother. I could watch his face really closely and when I saw us color and his cheeks change, I sallow trembling in his chin
and I said you know I think if you got tonight, this attack cannot business tomorrow as a no go tonight. Take the rabbi, and so he did. He flew. Toronto arrived at ten in the morning at one o clock in the afternoon. He was there when it. Died, don't wait. To imagine that we, at the time of our dying, we will have the physical strength they alone no stability. Mental clarity to do the work of a lifetime is a ridiculous gamble, don't waiter! So if I'm here you correctly, it's like you sing. The mental state of waiving which inherently not where you are you're just anti We are in a state of anticipation wanting dad is what you're exactly arguing So a better word might be constancy, continuous contact with our experience, that's what marvelous practice is all about
so, even patients as a kind of a wrong word away because he's still what if it were waiting still but oh but more calmly, will s pretty good in over constancy might be a better way to think about. The weighting the you're talking about his mark in the service sleep walking, its living life tossed into the future into living life in expectation. What's invitation number to welcome everything pushed away, nothing easier said make a great bumper sticker. Everything pursuing other, does make any sense. You know I don't think it means that we have to like everything that comes. I just think we have to be willing to meet it and when I think what it does, The challenges are whole notion. Puts our notion of judgment temporarily aside to be willing to open to our experiences suited has to show us that our front door, what is it
teach us? It was a guy that I knew he was at the head of the California Eighty Psychiatric Association and he developed Alzheimer's So you had a hard time remembering things in people's faces and some friends went to his house for dinner and they they rang the bell in the open the door and he stared at them for a while, and he said I'm sorry, I don't remember faces very well, call your names, but I know this is my house. And I know that my house has always been a place where people welcome. So if you're standing in my front stoop, I know my job is to invite you please come in here. It is: let's meat. James Baldwin, the great african american writer, said you know there are lots of things in this world that we must face that we cannot change, but nothing can be changed until willing to face it. But that's what I mean by welcome everything: push away: nothing
and your self washing away stuff sure that's why I have to remind myself with this. With this invitation, this is gonna prince. We don't need to be part. Even the guy was telling us to do. This is terrific you know. Well, An invitation is bring, your whole self did experience Now, how do you do that and what is your herself? Is it your perfected idea of you? I dont think wholeness is perfection. I think it means no part left out. So, what's that when the third one ringer herself to the experience, I think you know what you think about helping people. For example, we imagine it's our strength of our expertise or our knowledge that will help and they do how those you're fantastic right. But you know you ve sat at the bedside with people. Sometimes the meeting place with other people is not your expertise at your fear or it's your helplessness, You know, that's what enables you. Your understanding of those things enables you to build in empathetic, bridged at another person. You know if use, if you, if someone says you I'm afraid
and you don't know what it's like to, afraid you haven't really examined in your life. You don't even know what happens in your mind, your body, if you say I understand they, will know you're just guessing. Nl sniff out your sentimentality inherent sincerity and you won't be a reliable refuge for them. So to bring your whole self means, bring the whole package everything and understand it. All of it has some value mean for me the point of my life than I was most embarrassed about it. It was most ashamed of. Most undesirable parts of me often times very thing that allowed me to create a meeting place, a relationship with the people that I worked, how's that. You know I want to push our whole. I have my experience too. I know what it's like to have anger and rage. I noticed like have hatred, so those things became one hears. Example there was a guy,
asked us. I was dying and was really grumpy. People have this idea when people are Diner kind and wise and an open and that's not true, Well sometimes sometimes they are right, but sometimes it just human beings and they d. Following their whatever their personality, habits are, whoever anybody would go undisguised, Romania with them, so they can't meaning you gotta go talk to disguise guy Larry. You know he's Jonah So I shall not me: I'm scared the hell, I'm gonna stay down here. You know, but eventually goes out The boss I had to go to it. I walk across the threatened. The large room screams at me. I can't breathe as damn place, too many do gooders around here. I realized I was afraid I learned a really great intervention of years ago about being afraid set out in a city. You less likely to run away. If you sit down, I retorted run away when you get your button. The chair.
The sitting there in the chair, Larry screaming at me, and I realise, when my breath is really tight, So I relax my breathing of it. Then I said: hey Larry, take a breath. We in Britain deep he doesn't. I noticed, as he breathed in deep is not screaming so much. We will make progress so significant exhale, so he did and then You know we breeding in and out of bed, and I feel my feet on the ground. I'm always checking myself in order to know how to work with somebody else. Feeling my feet on the ground. I thought I feel pretty guy feel more stable. Now reach someday I could begin to help hold his feet. And ass, it did that I felt a kind of fondness for him and I said Larry, you know somebody people run you really like. You know, people really love. You lie. They said who, and I took a risk- and I said your mother
Because your new that's a typical of raw looking for in a certain way- and he said I hope so I said yeah me too. And we need to hold another conversation took was the willingness for me do not and away from my fear they got toward the experienced. It was happening in me and used as a bridge to working I mean it is it it's basically taking the meditative technique being aware of what's happening in your mind in your body B and putting it into a situation that is pretty close to an emergency yeah I'm kind of spiritual pragmatists than if it doesn't work for me. In everyday life, I'm not interested in it. I'm interested in them. How can I be a full human being? You know how can it be as free as past one, how can I be a real, some serviced other people, and I think you know
when you do this work for a while or you do my fullest practice Roma you begin to see your common ground with each other. There was another guy he was born, for he was from New Orleans and he was at Tuskegee. You know. First meetings and hospice here is roommate. Was having argument with his daughter and bold, near and started learn and yelling at me now and I came into the sea. Boy. You gotta! Let him go yeah, that's not your business, that's their family, and here this is. Why now to take care of me pulls up his pant legs can bayonet Miss boot and, I suppose you gotta give me the bayonet, I said Durham. I promise you. Back. You know, there's a guy who lived on the streets right, that's a big act of trust for him. To give me a banner, he did boys to sleep with his boots on every night and Betty Slippers boots,
One day he got up and he fell through this kind of such a screen and that roommate running into the room, see what happened in that room. It was holding bow in his lap, the other patient thanked him. Why will you let us help you? Why don't you let us help you. And if the next three days is the only one it he would. Let help him was the other patients, because this guy understood something about him. We became really close friends born, I m sure. Before he was dying, he got very paranoid and got really scared. We talk about the symbolic language of people wanted to go home in a boat just want to get out of his skin. You, a climate of his skin talked a newbie volunteer to take him out of the hospital coffee. The coffee on a corner and when he got the cafe, called my one one and claim that the house in people in a hospital trying to kill him
so the paramedics came in that situation. What has to have, as the paramedics have to take him to the hospital to the psyche. So I arrive on the scene, those in the ambulance screaming and yelling. Paramedics are ready to take him away, and I said just give me a few minutes with him: okay, they were hesitant, but they agreed. And then we need, to do everyone's. I sell it boy screaming amaze. Like he's the one trying to kill me he's the guy, you know this is the. If I encounter over time, there is aiming at it as long as you know, and I had a fine I breath and body I also find my affection for him and my compassion for him. And ass. He screaming at me. I just looked him right. Can I talk to his soul, and I said you know you know I love you and I would never. He keeps screaming I
You know that I love you, never hurt you and it keeps screaming. I say it one more time both you know, You know I love you and I would never hurt you and he said I know Frank, that's why I trust you. You just popped out of the delusion for a moment and then went back to screaming again with the paramedics thought. The paramedics say this guy's got to stay with you, I said yeah, so we it must have to do upstairs any died peacefully day later that paranoia, around, and then this sort of twitching restlessness. I've seen that at least in one case, a hospice, warehouses, woman. She was a former ballet teacher. She just couldn't get caught. Which kept trying to get out of bed. That's have me move, a move ones Under the bed, the next or just the way she was there
vision of the bad it over and over hours and hours and hours As I understand it, that's actually not uncommon. One thing that happens when people are dying is this kind of anxiety that sets in and she was on high doses of sedative yeah yeah. I mean the healthcare folks were caught terminal anxiety, that's what they call the air, which is, just kind of an umbrella term to say I don't know what's going on here. You know, body is, you know changing really fast? My sense of self is really alter right now I dont know what to do with this. Facing something. I've never faced before my life, I'm unprepared for this in a way. Yeah- and you know sometimes the right thing to do- the Herriston Medicate Depressing- give them some reduction to their anxiety. But you know I'm always interested in making the least intrusive intervention first. Totally willing to make all the interventions that are necessary, including what they call terminal sedation, which
the date somebody so they're not acting out the kind of anxiety you describe. It The Euro is woman, came to us and she came on. Was about about anti anxiety, drug I still let you see what happens we put someone on bedside. She would we, up until the night, with all these nightmare so the first night. I was there with her, but three in the morning she wakes up starts dreaming and I reached through the bed rails, the hospital hospital and I hold her hand. I say it's: ok, you you just in between world, that's what's goin on just in between what you're coming out of a dream, You can feel my hand I'm just made that physical contact with her and it didn't work the first night but after about seven knights of doing it, we do need the automatic now we have the resources to provide that kind of human companionship.
The challenges and our culture is that we chemically restrained people, sometimes and it's not needed- no return it's really appropriate to make a kind of intervention. But let's try if something as simple as simple human kindness first and see how we can see if they can have a positive effect after years of doing this work are what he won't you, What's your attitude by your own death? Are you afraid of it near like pain and one have pain I'm a little suspicious of people say they have no fear of their dying in mind, PS, Danny and new puppy sawdust in Euro meditation practices. You know this sense of self my personality, you know, it's always afraid, a body of fear that we sit in here And I recognise that: that's not gonna grow up, it's always gonna, be afraid away
So I had to find something is bigger than like. When you afraid we ask you, do you know you're afraid yeah? How do you know. The question: can you sense in your body? Oh yeah, for sure? Ok, so what happened? You just gets tight. Yes, just gets tight. I have a bunch of them self oriented orphans, Well, if it's something haven't you my kid, his or my wife, whenever a bunch of anxious thoughts, Russia, the bodies rights advice, tied the mind, strategizing, maybe you're, into survival mode in some way. Right beautiful. So you know really well. It's like. The party. That knows, you're afraid, not afraid right and it's not just buddhist rhetoric in such as mindfulness language you can
that, where an ass you can oriented that party with it knows you're afraid, and you could function from that or you can function from the fear that choice our default is to keep functioning from the fear, that's her hand, but we cultivate the capacity to respond from someplace else, then we can really we can, Fear it doesn't go away, but it doesn't take up all the space in the room That's it that's the real beauty of contemporary practices. Is they give us that capacity? And for me it's really practical. And its highly operational, you know, so I think. Now, you might be afraid William die, but I don't think it's we'll be all of me, so we we talked about the fear. You said you'd like pain, but what about fear around you know what's going to happen next, I think people have- and I probably will succumb to these two people have three big fears. The first
it is gonna hurt. So we can do something about that. We can manage people's pains really wound about ninety five percent of the cases. That's great second fear is that I'm gonna be emotionally abandoned because this no future relationship with me. Well, we can address that too. Can be a compassionate companion. To sum up, we can say I'm here: I'm not gonna leave you now. Third fears, a little more difficult, third furious all the ways of defined myself all my identity, Siena, you're journalists, the news anchor, I'm a buddhist teacher, all of these identities. These rules that we ve played in her life there all either stripped away by illness or the gracefully given up. And then we condemn something more fundamental. We have to the question tell him about. Much more difficult for you to deal with, and that's the it's not the existential it's real. One of my mentors was Elizabeth, Scuba, Ross stages, five states
right. The final one was acceptance. If you remember I am, full of Gonna bastardize these in a five states- over the years. I don't take Elizabeth meant them in quite that same way, but my experience and working folks acceptance is not a final stage. Acceptance is just the beginning and if your marriage breaks up, you might accepted, but you're not happy about My experiences after acceptance comes something different. It is more like chaos, all sense of self, though we define myself all that such breaking down and is frightening for many people and its care, and it gives rise to the can restlessness you were talking about earlier and then out of, come something infinitely deeper than acceptance, and I think it's surrender Not even sure we can choose surrender anymore. It's not my experience that it's more like it chooses me feels more like a undertow are like something
turn myself over ceasing of any kind of battle or fight against this experience. Out of that comes and much more deeper possibility, which is, we could say, transformation the possibility of knowing myself to be more then. But with previously taken herself to be a transformation is site would turn into a butterfly it's more like we, we Stop being so again, by tightly identified with our small cell. Then, a little bit more, a part of it. Your system actually reminds me of a guy who I met in a hospice who said. To me that He was not, he didn't. I know they had any real spiritual background or anything like that. He'd, although whose professor shoes very smart, but he said it- I was talking to him but fear any. Are you scared going in? does any signal. I just have started to think of myself as part of a larger system, yet something people
Watson, have this experience where they feel themselves to be part of something larger than himself. That also includes himself right, you know, that's easiest way talk about it and it does to be religious, snap, religious for people. Could be a nature, yeah oftentimes, it's it's! You know that people's spear your lives. If you will their inner lives as may be a better way set off much more about their relationships. Now by their time in nature than they are about some philosophical belief in our something tat I learned at church when synagogue when they were seven years old. There was a guy we work with you, he was a heroine attic for thirty years. African american guy, they must Jackie and you as a hospice, I was asked people. What are they gonna help they have to die, because I think Whenever story, we have about what happens if we die and I dont know what happens, but my experts This is the shapes, the way in which we die our ideas about it.
So I suggest you you're. This then hospice. I said you think you're gonna get born again, and he said you said there, what were you gonna come back ass? He said Jackie I shall. We would be jackie- already been Jackie what you yet it could be a king or queen or lose anchor and that he said do not come back his Jackie. I saw how come Is it goes next time, I'm gonna get it right, You see we were in a hole into homer. The conversation something really different. I dont know what happens after we die and I you know If, when I die, I find out I'll write and tell you, but I do know that it shapes the way in which people meet the experience. There was a woman. I work with you the christian scientists dinner and He was ninety two, ninety three years old and she said
May I just want to put my head in the lap of Jesus. There's really ready to die. She was comfortable. He was satisfied with her life. She had deep faith and then a granddaughter came to visit a granddaughter set grandma. I read a book and in their book said when you die everybody's die before you will be their meal. Grandma became terrified because this That was true for her, that she never told anyone- and she finally told me, was that her husband, EDGAR have been beating her most of her life and he died five years before The idea of spending eternity with him was terrified, so home, impose my ideas on other people, I'm not interested in matter. What I think about matters. What do they think about it? how's it shaping the way in which their meeting their experience. Fourth invitation. Find a place of rest in the middle of things.
You know. I always think it will do rest later. You know like when our list extract offer Begone vacation. Are we gonna retreat of some kind, I'm about you, but my list is never checked off. If I wait for that rest, I'm in trouble I have to find a way of resting right in the middle of what I'm doing and that's the heart of mindfulness practice. Isn't it early learning to rest into your experience? Thus it is clear mind rest in that confuse might rest and that there was a scout you, Sir, and he was Adele and This is ferocious. Eighty, sexual, russian, jewish, lady, Lena and the the night she was dying. They call me up. I went into a room sitting on the edge of the better and a dressing gown feet dangling off the bed. And I went in the South Caucasus. My where four jump into help, look and see if anything really needed.
Sitting on a bed with her mouth aid with her very nice woman and Adele is tough, cookie and them and homo fates hither, Adele, you know you don't have to be frightened, radio with you and Adele turned urges honey. If this is I need to you, you'd be frightened. I stay in the corner, No little while later this very well meaning attendance at there you little cold, you know, would you would you like shawl or blanket around shoulders and they'll shot back some cold, I'm almost dead, I thought? While I wish I had half the tenacity of this woman, you know and if I die, when I die. Rather, I hope I have some of that kind of energy just a couple of things sitting there. One is that there was struggle, is always a or often struggling dying and in this case was manifesting in the breath. Every in breadth of struggle every out breath struggle this.
Bite, the fact we made all the correct interventions right, oxygen morphine, but this elaborate a dying just like this. They re getting born. The second thing was that she didn't want any nonsense. You want to talk of lighter barter, lighter she just when an honest human relationships, something liable to put much Europe really close to her, like you- and I are sitting here. And I said it, would you like the struggle? Alas, when she said yes, I said: ok, I noticed something right there, at the end of the ex here before the next inhaled is that little gap? I still wonder what would be like if you can put your attention there, for just a few minutes are dealt with now this is an eighty six year, russian jewish lady. She doesn't care beans about Buddhism or meditation or any of these things highly motivated this moment to be free of suffering.
She come on I'll. Do it with you and guide her. I just read with her. She would read in. I would read that she would breathe out. I would breathe out, and I noticed it over sometime her catching a drawn into that gap. It's amazing place that gap it at the end of next year. Samoa to be the fear of faith? You know: do you have confidence? The next breath is going to come, or you start micromanaging at the same way as she relaxed, and I saw the fear in her face to drain away and never meditated before her life. But after while she said Frank, I think I'm just going Now I said, ok and she laid back in her pillow and, sometime later she die. I think she found a place of rest in the middle of things. You see all the conditions for the same. She was still dying. There was still struggle with the brain all those thing all the conditions of our life, it were always trying to manage. They were still there, but
She found a new way to be in the midst of all those conditions found a place rest in the middle of things. And we do have to die before we rest in peace in that's a good question, How do we find if the way, because. How can we, as you said, the checklist is never done? I think if we do depend upon the conditions were in trouble I think we have to find a way of resting in the middle of whatever it is we're doing. You know you do it all the time, I'm sure your work. You have to bring your attention, turn completely to whatever it is you're doing, and when you do that, at least in my experience, that's all restful in all my mind, is split in this notion of a multi asking is just that a ridiculous notion, if not actually happening we just doing a lot of things, paying very little attention so bring. My attention, full, incomplete or whatever it is, I'm doing that,
the matter from reading a book being with my granddaughter were sitting at the bedside. If someone is die that becomes a state of ease and restfulness, Invitation five, station five fibres, cultivate dont, know mind the obliged, since I was founded as an hospice, to put something then like in this list in ASEAN, all of these paradoxical statement through cultivate Dunham. I wasn't me I mean it's not encouragement to be ignorant, I mean, don't know, isn't ignorance, ignorance is, I know something but it's the wrong thing and I insist on it that going on the world right now
So to cultivate Donna minors to cultivate a mine, it's open receptive. This curious is full of wonder. That's going to explore it isn't so fixed. Why our knowing this room for something else to emerge at heart attack of years ago, a teaching a retreat for doctors and nurses, Passion and an eleven had a heart attack and it was humbling. I used to think I know a lot about dying until later attack him. Then I realized that you know so much and that was actually really good thing view from you. The side of the sheets is really different. Before my surgery. Talking to my son- and I came to visit me- is that twenty nine at the time and then you know great guy. I love him dearly and he brought some videos to watch you want, Videos was a bucket, lest I said that watch that one tonight, but the
we're having this ordinary conversation like you and I are having and in the middle of it he said. Dad are you going to live through this and I love my son and I wanted to reassure him immediately. So I started saying. It's gonna be fine, but out of my mouth I heard myself say: I'm not taking sides, and I wasn't there. Size between life and death, and I wasn't trying to be sage or Buddhist or any of those things that it totally surprised me but it came out of my mouth and the both of us were shocked by, but then we bought relaxed because it was true and when a truce in the room we can relax, I wasn't taking sides with life and death. The debate on our minds to cultivate curiosity, but I can out of that surgery, I was in Recovery, Roma, still intubated and them
I know I was meditation teacher and my son and him. Into the room. Comes a respiratory therapist and says: let's pull out there. Tube and see if you can breathe. He said to me, and I wave, my arms, you know and fear, like I wasn't ready to have this happened. I scared me, And my friend meditation teacher, he said them frank, find your breath. When I couldn't find my breath machine was For me, and I could tell what was the machine, what was me so I shook my head When he wasn't sent your body, I tried to someone body, but it was so full of narcotics from The anesthesia that really consensual much of my body and then write them down You teachers are really important to you and I remembered Suzuki Russia, the great looking rushing in others, extraordinary when man who, in ten years changed the way we think about meditation
which is a key where she was dying the night before he died. We want to take a bath and get clean, and his wife said he insisted, and so he's so note to hear it carried him. Carry his father into the bathroom and lowered him into the bathtub, and I see lower the great Suzuki Roshi into the bathtub Suzuki Roshi got scared. He was really scared. He's going to try on and his son said to him. Father, calm yourself find your breath. I'll, do it with you and he or she was able to stabilize. This moment when I'm in there. You know in this frightened condition. I remembered this took my friend I pulled him close to me. My meditations eat your friend and I put my ear right next to his mouth. I borrowed his breath the rhythm of his breath until I could find my own until a good stabilize me, and then I could signal to the Gaia together.
Urban see if I could breathe. Let me in our closing moments here, try to questions that may not work Will we have to mourn case? Those don't know What is I was asked by men. Health had been riding up column for men's. How and they want to have an issue- comes up, maybe about time this post, I don't know about. Being fit in any age. And ass meter recently about aging gracefully, whom jive feel utterly unqualified right, but this that term aging gracefully resonate with you in light of everything we have just discussed, basically, as you know, my card from here, you know, I think, imagine a couple of things about this. One is that you know what,
The ideas we have about aging in this country is that we should continue to be, useful and our aging? You know that that's what aid ungracefully looks like. I think one of the things that were beginning to understand about aging. As that to be a true elder is not just about getting older, to be a two elder these days I dont think just about one directional, mentoring and other wise old said each meant in the young person. I think it's about mutual benefit. I think it's about a kind of exchange, my experience anyway, when I'm working with younger people so always learning from them and I hope the learning something for me so ass. The first thing that EL during Hasna to do it isn't just about getting older but also run. Does a friend of mine you know of,
great meditation, great teacher, remarkable guy- and he wrote a book some years ago, called still here after his be here now books, and it was about just that aging and I was at his house when they were having breathlessly said so what you think about book rank- and I said you want the truth and said: yes, it let it was. Ok, you see the amateur. He said I wrote it in my seventies. What did I know about aging and my seventies should now Eighty six, I understand something about aging. So, I think the sometimes we may maybe prematurely finally wise around our around the stuff. I think their grow, gracefully is to mature into the fullness of our life and into the fullness of acceptance That might include disability,
might include. Confusion at mine include the losses that come with aging too, not just our own physical and mental losses, but the losses of those are due to us I think when we can embrace all that, then I think we are aging gracefully I ate like all that is better the last one, but we do talking about his angry. As far as I understand it is some sort of- resignation around look this this bodies permanent unlock. I take care of it, though. That's nonsense. You know these bodies important, It's my vehicle for knowing the world it's my sensing tool to know the world. I want to take as good care of it as I possibly can, because it's what allows me to interact with a will to know the world to be enough engaged in my relationships Think that's a misunderstanding of I think Buddhism
tat, a misunderstanding of that that we shouldn't care for the body. The body is extremely important and I love my body, you know my heart attacks? It was hard and who was humbling. They have a heart attack, Mister Preston was dependent on others weak, but as a paid attention to that, we started to happen was stripping away, became a kind of transparency and a big. In the few myself totally differently than I know myself to be before some s familiar with been chemo intimately and after that, after the experience, I thought I love this hard. Am I wouldn't trade or, for any other one
there was a famous tibetan teacher. The call me after my heart attacks and he'd had heart problem inside I said them. How do you do that? You don't pay in the press. I thought maybe Gimme semester practice. EL, the hesitation on your phone, then he said well, I think it's good to have a heart He said if you have a heart them, you should expect that will have problems. And then he told me the rest than he hung up the phone. I was at practice when practice when I got off the phone with him. I thought you know right now. If we have a heart, If we have a human body, we should expect it will have problem. Women who told us otherwise, so it's not resignation is a willingness to include the truth of our aging, the truth of our permanent, but it isn't morbid and it's not about
Giving up this resigning ourselves, I think I wanna leave this life as fully as I can every minute I have right up to and including my dying process. I to sleep through. I want to be awake for awake for past. If possible, I'll question. You said. If I heard you correctly back when I said how do we operational, as this is often said that we can live more fully? If we do it in the light of death and I said well how do you it's easy to forget that when Europe, you know folding laundry or you know you're dealing with its ten ten? swimming toddler whatever it is. We do referencing two things that I did yesterday so Will you one of a piece of advice, you said: will investigate how you are around ending The thing that came to mind for me is a discussion that my wife and I have been having recently about eating
because you said how are you at the end of May, and we will have noticed that we have this How do we do a little bit of like irrational, probably emotional, eating both of us slim we buy. That says quite a bit, but the descent we find ourselves eating more, not hungry and move. Then after we declare ourselves. We know each other, We hate ourselves as a consequence of the eating or whatever anyway- puzzling over this. No no resolution has been reached and I just wonder whether there's something around for both us, or at least for me, maybe about not exe the ending of the meal and that I've some reason Wanna keep eating. I even though I've really done eating. My body is stated here, the question that doesnt work, I'm right, why you know I'm not gonna psychoanalyze you around that one, but you know I think you can sort of see you know, but what point where you associated woman, What's enough, that's always agree
The question was enough in a different way to go put he's got good policies enough enough. These words are enough. If not these words the sitting here this graph opening to life again again, which I refused again and again until now. Until now, so I think the what's enough, that's a good question to ask: what's enough, there's one life enough, I am for me. The practice of gratefulness is a really great way of understanding was enough to really practice expressing my gratitude feeling my gratitude. Appreciating this life. And everything. I've got it. I mean all the If we know that are dear to us, we're gonna die, someday, alchemy.
Press the hell out of us. We can inspire us to really take care of them and the love them with every bit as hard as we can in a hurry, You know that advise on the shelf that your mother gave you it's gonna fall off the shelf one day. You can be sure that question is how will you take care of it now? How are you appreciate it now, knowing they, all things will come to an end. How do we care for this life at a pretty good place to end this, before we really take a bite you can you. Give us again. The name of the book were away again where we can find out. About you on the internet? anything you want people to know if they want to investigate you more fully whether the book is called the five invitations discovering what death teach us about living fully, so it's not just about their efforts, but how to step fully into our lives. Find me at first
limitations, start com and there they can see here is my events and where I'm teaching, in that kind of thing, Elsa Run, an organization called now called the Matter institute matters of old people. Word means loving, kindness and its all about training, clinicians and caregivers about how to do mindful. Compassionate care of people were dying, how to be a compassionate companion to them, so they can find me they're at the met to institute dot Org as well. But I want to thank you actually for the willingness to have this conversation and them. You know the whole world is running in the other direction. Down away from the subjects. For one reason or another, you chose to come towards it, and I really want to thank you for doing that and thank you for the volunteer work that you do. I think the world I think when we are at the bedside of someone when the precipice of death, we learned things the world needs. I don't think our job is to be caregivers. I think it's also to carry that wisdom that we learn their.
Into the world, so I want to thank you for having a I'll. Take you right back. Ok, I job thanks. But our amplify that point Frank was making at the end there, that there is any Credible amount to learn sitting at the bedside with people who are dying. You we live our lives, I think, understandably, in some levels, just totally caught up most of us I speak for myself. I live my life with mostly caught up in I to do list by anxieties wherever and you can lose perspective that this thing is temporary and you get a big dose of that I sitting at the bedside, which is why I try to do it on the regular and I
I also agree that there is some its common upon those of us who do this work to talk about it, hopefully in a way that won't come off his preaching, but will in fact be useful. So I'm At the moment endeavouring to write about it and as I work on my next book, which is taking up all of my time and bandwidth, so thank you to frank for that that I was. There was a great interview as mentioned at the top of the show work now moving the voicemail section here today to the bottom of the show and also, as mentioned we're gonna start bringing in some ringers to answer the questions for now that you're stuck with me, so here's voicemail number one again. Thank you. So much for having this progress is definitely a highly of my week and it's help me a lot with my meditation. I said a quick question: I am very interested in different kinds of meditation. So, for example, a loving kindness for are focused awareness the station, and I know that each of the different kinds of meditation also benefit so just curious. How you
kind of structure. Your own meditation practice today are able to incorporate all of these different kinds of meditation into your practice they'll be great, clever love to be able to happen, focus and focus and know how I can really get the benefits of the more without being a bit too scattered. Thanks so much happy day away totally reasonable question. I struggled with this, for, while I'm not gonna, claim that I know for sure, I've got it right, but I ll just give you lie system. So right now I've kind of committed, as I'm working on a book about kindness, I guess I'd better word. That is just a word, sounds a little sadly, but whenever I work a book about kindness and so I'm doing a lot of loving kindness meditation. That's an even worse word, loving kindness right now. That's my primary practice, that being said, it's not all. I do depending on a number of variables, but my overall goal is to get that practice in if
however, am overtaken by a lot of physical discomfort or something like that. It's hard to do that kind of practice. I switch to a more open or awareness so that I can just b, with whatever is happening in that worry about, you know. Trying to get my love on a shelf you if you're interested idea, I'm guessing that you like most of us, your primary reckless, is just watching your breath or jewish or basic mindfulness, one way to attack them. Would be to have your primary said of the day. Be that and then Try to add. Maybe a secondary sit right before bed, where you're doing matter an e t, t or loving kindness meditation. So that one idea another is depending and how long your primary set of the day is to do around of matter at the beginning, which is something it I've done at various times?
And the another another idea entirely would be: maybe they do and every other day type of thing. So I've. All of those things with you know reasonably good results along the way. I would say one other thing: I dont know this isn't the gold, Hours are handed out here to my knowledge, so I don't know that you need to be feeling guilty about not doing we kind meditation? I think you should I think you're some benefit in focusing on one kind of practice for while the way I'm trying to do with loving kindness, I think a better term. His friendliness, let's just called friendliness meditation. So I don't think you're. Some have a failing, meditate her if you're. Just doing one thing all the time, but if you really interested in finding you're getting a lot of benefits from from both flavors or a number of flavors than I, an orderly system make
since then you're, not gonna, have doubt arising in the mind about like wait. What should I be doing Now- and I d do enough of that. Other thing I think at all, Early system, in my experience, is what has made sense. Gray questioned good on you for being so ambitious. Just don't take it too far. Here's never to hide in bringing from Mobile Australia a couple of things. One are you were gonna come down here, sometimes see talking them to have been meditating fur. A number of years and put on a Canada, but I'm wondering about whether I can engage in crossing over into my
Waking hours and non meditating Allison had a gauge that I'm just not sure whether its having that having actual been benefit, because I believe I still slipped into being a victim of the eager at sight of meditating at the Christian. Isn't too simple, keep up the good work and the Al Capone listing. That's why I suspect there is some sort of like nothing in the range of nurse narcissist nepotism that would that motivated the selection of that voicemail. One of our new Producers- Samuel is australian, so you may have. There may have been some favouritism there. Anyway, I really like with your questions. I would love to go to Australia. There have been a time I've been there before it I'd wonderful place. I have had at least one invitation to come. It didn't work out for a variety of ways.
But yeah I'd certainly be open to that. It's a long trip and finding tat. My schedule might be little tricky, but yeah go in Australia does not sound like you would suck the second question more substantive. You still feel like you're, a victim of the ego. Well, I mean welcome too the human condition, as far as I know, unless you're enlightened the egos still gonna be around and often overtake you and make you do dumb stuff I understand it, the doubt you're feeling and I like the only way to really resolve that that would be to stop meditating for a while and see what happens. I don't recommend that, but you might, I did get some confirmatory data. My sense is. That, yes, you are still overtaken by or, as you say, victimized by your ego, regularly, but that is not as bad as it used to be. In my own case, that is absolute
the case. How do I know that, not only from my own lived experience noticing, like oh wow, this, whatever Stimuli are in front of me right now. I'll, sometimes think o this would have sent me over the edge Now I am annoyed, but I'm not acting on. It, says one way just for my own lived experience either way. Note is that my wife will often point out that I am vastly less annoying that I used to be easier to live with, and so that's actually really good measure. The people around you, that's probably much. More reliable measure, but I don't want to set up. He threw important understand you. There's a reason why I somewhat jokingly entitled that first book, ten percent happier, this perfection is on offer here. You're the voice in your head, your ego, the monkey mine, is still gonna, hijack you ready.
It's not about never experiencing anger. Irritation fear jealousy whatever all of these difficult emotions. It is about what my friend, SAM Harris host of the excellent, were formerly known as waking up podcast. Now I believe it making sense, podcast, excellent, no matter what the name is. My friend SAM Harris has talked about. Cutting down on the half life of anger and the fact that the amount of damage you can do in it our of anger, as opposed to two minutes of anger, that's incalculable, and so I you know reasonably regularly experienced two minutes of anger, but it's ready rare that stretches into an hour, and I have many many many more things to apologize for later so yeah. He sounds to me, like things, are going well
in some way. There's this weird paradox: where there has been described that that once you start meditating it things hurt more, but you suffer less either it you may the pain of your ego arising or some difficult emotion may it may hurt Or because your more self aware, but yours offering less, because you're less likely to act on it and create suffering, free yourself and others So that's my strong suspicion about. What's going on with you and then you know, The bottom line when people ask me how do I know whether this meditation thing is working? My somewhat lab, but I mean it answer is. Are you seven. Well, I too word I can't stand by guest workers were owned by Disney. But are you less of a word that start to the day and ends with an e an you used to be to yourself, and others. So are you less of that to yourself and others?
is the metric I used in my own meditation practice because, as the brilliant share in Salzburg has said we're out meditating to become meditate, better meditated work meditated to become better at life. Great question really appreciate it and hope you guys are okay with this new structural change of moving the voice, So the end, I think, based on the comments, we got an inner survey as this will go over well that does it for another edition of the ten percent. Have you asked if you like us? Please take a minute to subscribe rate us there's this by gas with a friend. I know that may sound sort of hungary you here like ass, both saying this all the time, but the reason because ratings and subscriptions and social shares, really help us and help us grow the audience and more highly rank. I too, and the apple podcast, and
yeah, that's just helps us group. Also. If you want to suggest topics, you think we should cover or guests. We should bring in. You can help me up on Twitter at Danby Harris and are really re Facebook, but I do most bitter and before I got really do want to thank the people who now produce this package to get a new team here Samuel Jones and Ryan awesome. I thank them. Anything will help make this possible. Have tons of other podcast at ABC. You check them out on ABC News. Podcast ass thanks again for listening this week, really appreciated attacking excellency. There's not a person in America who hasn't been impact it in some way by the corona. I was pandemic, but it every community. There are pockets of people who were soon.
Every day. This is my last day of the cylinder stretch of proteins for one of our time in these or America's essential workers, the people who are keeping moving. I turn into a home school mom and now in a new plants from ABC News you gonna hear from damage. Was she went back to my office inside crying because he is not here and making sure that our community smiled faintly Lorraine. This is the essential inside the from the emergency room, the police cruiser to the czech outline. You hear what this pandemic sounds like the people putting themselves norms, which is always a risk of rain, is home to re. Kids are my husband: Arabians, listened to the essentials inside the curve on Apple podcast, refitted, podcasting,.
Transcript generated on 2020-05-27.