Surrendering to Our Grief

Frank Ostaseski is one the founders of the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco. It was founded in 1987 by members of the San Francisco Zen Center and its doors have been open since 1990.

I have had more than three previous occasions to encounter the Zen Hospice Project.

When my friend, Richard Dahut was dying a couple of years ago, we would make almost weekly trips to the Veterans Hospital in Palo Alto. On these long drives, we would listen to his CD, Being a Compassionate Companion. In this way, we were prepared for his passing.

One of the members of the Mindfulness in Healing sangha has been volunteering there for many years. Other friends from my enneagram training have been there since the beginning.

The third encounter was the knowledge that my friend’s mother was being well taken care of in her last days on Earth.

In grief we access parts of ourselves that were somehow unavailable to us in the past. With awareness, the journey through grief becomes a path to wholeness. Grief can lead us to a profound understanding that reaches beyond our individual loss. It opens us to the most essential truth of our lives: the truth of impermanence, the causes of suffering, and the illusion of separateness. When we meet these experiences with mercy and awareness, we begin to appreciate that we are more than the grief. We are what the grief is moving through. In the end, we may still fear death, but we don’t fear living nearly as much. In surrendering to our grief, we have learned to give ourselves more fully to life.

—Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski

Frank Ostaseski is also the founder of the Metta Institute, whose mission is to innovative educational programs and professional training that foster mindful and compassionate end-of-life care.

Being a Compassionate Companion has three segments. The first segment is preparing for passing. The second segment is about serving. This is where compassionate care comes into play. The final segment is about grieving, as the above quote addresses. I wouldn’t be surprised if the quote is from this segment.

Do you know anyone who would benefit from compassionate companions? Please let them know about Frank Ostaseski’s work.

If you are unable to obtain a copy of Being a Compassionate Companion, let me know and I may be able to lend you my copy.

Being a Compassionate Companion CD

Frank Ostaseski

Being A Compassionate Companion offers us a mirror and encourages us to make contact with the precarious and precious nature of our lives. It shows us how to draw on our innate wisdom, compassion and generosity to assist the journey of continuous discovery that begins with the diagnosis of a life-th… [Read More…]

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