In this talk, given at the Symington Cancer Conference, Dale discusses conscious dying and working with suffering.
Dale talks about the struggles of dying and methods of conscious dying that allow a person freedom from suffering.
Happiness or Freedom? (Opening) Dale begins by asking us two questions: At your core, what is the most important thing to you; and would you rather be happy or be free? Dale discusses happiness and reminds us that happiness is not the by-product of our search for freedom.
“The most important thing is finding the most important thing.” – Suzuki Roshi
Working with Suffering (7:30) – Dale comments on the nature of suffering. He shows how acceptance, rather than blame, can help us work with suffering.
“Dying does not cause suffering, resistance to dying causes suffering.” – RamDev
Conscious Dying (11:00) – All fear is fear of death, and fear of death is equal to lack of enlightenment. Fear of death arises from the conflict of who we really are and who we think we are. This fear can inhibit us from living life fully.
Grief, like fear, is ultimately a reaction to separateness and is the diametric opposite of compassion. Dale discusses how separateness affects us and the qualities of compassion which moves against our separateness.
“Grief is the garden of compassion.” – Rumi
Breaking Boundaries (19:30) – Dale opens the floor to the audience for questions. A woman describes having intense, near transpersonal, experiences in intensive care, beyond anything experienced through practice. Dale speaks to the power that the dropping of boundaries has, something that serious illness can bring about.
Compassion and Contemplation (25:00) – Dale answers questions about near-death experience, teaching others to be compassionate, and discusses the four mind turning contemplations of Buddhist practice.
For more on working with suffering, check out Dale’s interview with palliative care nurse, Donnie Nelson. If you are interested in more about conscious dying, see what Ram Dass has to say on the subject.
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