As Buddhists, how do we work with illness and what do we learn from it?
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    A Caregiver's Story: Deborah Jaymati Levy Paid Member

    At one point when I was sitting with my father, I said, “Dad, are you afraid of dying?” And he said, “I was, but not now.” He didn’t speak of death a lot. There wasn’t a lot to say, really, it was so in your face, so obvious. And he wanted to live up until the moment of death. He didn’t dwell on the fact that he was dying and he didn’t deny it. More »
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    On What to Do When the Going Gets Rough Paid Member

    Caregiving from a Buddhist perspective is a recognition that this person’s suffering is also my suffering. When I see this, whether I’m the person in the bed or the person making the bed, I have to confront this precariousness. Buddhist practice can help us enormously in continuing to give our attention to what’s actually appearing, as opposed to being swept away by the drama of the process. What are the basic attitudes that might be helpful in being with someone who is dying? One of those that comes to mind is to be completely ourselves. That means to bring our strength and vulnerability to the bedside. And to recognize that people who are dying continue to need very intimate and natural and honest relationships. We can’t serve from a distance, this is intimate work and we have to be part of the equation so it is absolutely essential that we bring our entire selves to the experience. More »
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    A Caregiver's Story: Tony D. Paid Member

    Julia was no one’s beloved friend. Imagine that. Her family was in Oregon and they didn’t know that she had already spent most of her short life trying to kick drugs. And she didn’t want them to know. I first met her at an NA meeting [Narcotics Anonymous]. I had been clean for about two years. But Julia kept slipping. Kicking and slipping. Meditation was part of our NA meeting. Even before that, in rehab, they taught meditation. I started going to a Buddhist center close to the church where we had the meetings. When Julia was clean, she liked to come to the meditations. When she was using, she’d never come. I once asked her why. She told me that meditation was “too naked.” But she had a little coral Buddha around her neck and she never took it off. More »
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    A Caregiver’s Story: Raja Hornstein Paid Member

    I’d been working as a hospice volunteer for about six years when my friend Nando fell ill. We had been lovers for many years and though we were separated, we were still close friends. And then one day she collapsed, fainted, and was taken to the hospital. It turned out to be leukemia. First she spent a lot of time at Stanford Medical Center, getting chemotherapy. That period was extremely painful for her. Her chances of survival were low, because she had a pretty rare form of leukemia. But she was really going for it, trying to do anything she needed to do. I remember some horrendous times. I found her once crawling across the room, moaning in pain and dragging this IV stand behind her. She told me, “This is how it is most of the time”—excruciatingly painful. More »
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    13 Ways of Looking at a Madman Paid Member

    View photos that relate to this article here. More »
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    When It Happens to Us Paid Member

    This is a fact of life; we don't like pain. We suffer because we marry our instinctive aversion to pain to the deep-seated belief that life should be free from pain. In resisting our pain by holding this belief, we strengthen just what we're trying to avoid. When we make pain the enemy, we solidify it. This resistance is where our suffering begins. More »