The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

HEART ADVICE ON HELPING THE DYING 179to produce miraculous results in the dying person or "save"them. You will only be disappointed. People will die as theyhave lived, as themselves. For real communication to be established,you must make a determined effort to see the personin terms of his or her own life, character, background, and history,and to accept the person unreservedly. Also don't be distressedif your help seems to be having very little effect andthe dying person does not respond. We cannot know thedeeper effects of our care.SHOWING UNCONDITIONAL LOVEA dying person most needs to be shown as unconditional alove as possible, released from all expectations. Don't thinkyou have to be an expert in any way. Be natural, be yourself,be a true friend, and the dying person will be reassured thatyou are really with them, communicating with them simplyand as an equal, as one human being to another.I have said, "Show the dying person unconditional love,"but in some situations that is far from easy. We may have along history of suffering with the person, we may feel guiltyabout what we have done to the person in the past, or angerand resentment at what the person has done to us.So let me suggest two very simple ways in which you canrelease the love within you toward the dying person. I andmy students who work with the dying have found both theseways to be powerful. First, look at the dying person in frontof you and think of that person as just like you, with thesame needs, the same fundamental desire to be happy andavoid suffering, the same loneliness, the same fear of theunknown, the same secret areas of sadness, the same halfacknowledgedfeelings of helplessness. You will find that ifyou really do this, your heart will open toward the person andlove will be present between you.The second way, and I have found this even more powerful,is to put yourself directly and unflinchingly in the dyingperson's place. Imagine that you are on that bed before you,facing your death. Imagine that you are there in pain andalone. Then really ask yourself: What would you most need?What would you most like? What would you really wishfrom the friend in front of you?If you do these two practices, I think you would find thatwhat the dying person wants is what you would most want:to be really loved and accepted.

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