Upcoming Events

From the Teachers

If the mind is still or if the mind is thinking, what is it that's not changing?
~ Lama John Makransky

Our Mission

To empower people with profound contemplative practices that support their aspirations to become better people and to make a better world.

Read more...

osgood_p

Philip Osgood
HOSPICE CARE
BROOKSVILLE, ME

My wife, Lydia, and I are both Hospice volunteers here in Maine and have found hospice work to be one of those areas where a nonprofessional volunteer can make a huge difference and offer substantial service to both the hospice client, the person actively dying, and to their families & loved ones.

As a dharma practitioner, I often find quiet, unobtrusive ways to apply the practices of love, compassion, and wisdom within my hospice service. Hospice work is truly compassion in action. As a volunteer, you are expressing a willingness to be right there with the acute suffering of others, while offering to ameliorate and ease that suffering in whatever ways are called upon, using whatever personal skills you are capable of bringing to the situation. You are consciously stepping into a scenario with only one possible outcome: death; and you are, in a sense, offering yourself up to the particulars of each case, setting aside your personal agenda in order to best respond to what is needed.

Often, the hospice volunteer’s role is one of just listening or lending a quiet, soothing presence to the seemingly overwhelming process of death and dying. You learn to develop your own set of skillful means, your own way of responding to various situations. For example, when I’m alone with the different parties involved, I look for appropriate opportunities to gently invite people to talk about what they are holding closest to their hearts—whether it’s a hospice patient’s fears around death or a family member’s feelings of regret or remorse or sense of inadequacy around dealing with the dying process. Many times, I have found that people are yearning for the opportunity to express these deep feelings to a supportive listener.

And there seems to be universal yearnings that often arise during the dying process: the need to forgive and to ask for forgiveness; the need to express love and to hear that you are loved. And very often the hospice volunteer can quietly facilitate the expression of these sentiments between family members; sentiments that may have been held back for years, waiting for the right moment to be communicated.