A Mindful Doctor on Being with the Dying

When I have been with someone who is dying in my role as a caring professional, or as a relative or friend, I ask myself, ‘In what way can I be helpful to them?’

There are practical things that can be done including pain relief, attending to their bodily needs and keeping them comfortable. It is important that the environment is quiet and calm.

When with the dying person we should avoid displaying our own anxiety, sadness and other negative emotions. This is a time when the dying are vulnerable and need space to deal with their own emotions and grief. Adding to their burden by showing your own sorrow and distress is not helpful, and is best dealt with when not with them.

We need to be attentive and accepting of what they do and say. They can be irritable, withdrawn, drift in and out of consciousness and on occasions see ‘imaginary’ figures in the room.

Remaining calm, loving and grounded is the best way you can give to help someone who you are with in the terminal stage of their life. Creating a still atmosphere helps the dying person find a place of acceptance, peace and healing.

‘The Clear Light Meditation’ is a meditation practice I use when with someone who is dying:

– Consciously feel connected to the earth and grounded in your body.
– Connect to your own source of strength and peace. This may be something you use in your own spiritual practice, or it something you have experienced in Nature or the vastness of the cosmos.
– Raise your awareness to the source of Universal Love and feel connected to it. Experience it as the energy of unconditional love and as a clear light coming from the source to you.
– Now see your dying friend in that light too. And stay with that experience for a time.
– When ready, withdraw consciously from the light as you return quietly to your own living life.

When thinking of them in the future see them in the clear light.

Craig Brown

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