1) Living & Dying in Everyday Life

Features Ram Dass and Joan Halifax Roshi

  1. (23 Min) Cultivating Stability and Compassion:
Joan Halifax asks several probing questions and speaks of cultivating mental stability, clarity and compassion.

  2. (22 Min) Being Loving Awareness: Ram Dass on “Being Content” and how we best serve a dying person by witnessing them with our “Lovingly Awareness”. 

3. (27 Min) Developing Neutrality and Equanimity: Roshi Joan on interconnected Views, Practices and Actions. The need for neutrality, equanimity, and to understand and suspend our own beliefs. We practice so that in the moment “Open Presence” rises of it’s own accord.

  4. (25 Min) Best and Worst Case Scenario Part 1: Finish the sentences: 1) My worst case scenario of how I will die is… 2) My best case scenario of how I will die is… 3) What I have do now to have the best death possible is…

5. (32 Min) Best and Worst Case Scenario Part 2: The group shares and discusses what they learned from the previous writing assignments.

6. (26 Min) Suffering and Compassion Part 1: The nature and role of Suffering, Empathy and Compassion. Ram Dass characterizes his own experience suffering a stroke. Roshi Joan on types of compassion.

7. (31 Min) Suffering and Compassion Part 2: Roshi Joan on the suffering of a death row prison inmate, and seriously ill Tibetan monks. Suffering builds character and raises compassion in others. Also: Self-pity and pain mitigation vs. an un-medicated conscious death.

8. (31 Min) Offering and Receiving Presence: Joan leads an exercise in offering and receiving Presence to develop Compassion and Equanimity.   

  9. (16 Min) Presence, Compassion and Equanimity: Group sharing on previous exercise.   


1. (35 Min) Practices to Cultivate Presence: Joan leads the group through a guided meditation intended to develop fundamental equanimity. The group then responds to the practice.

2. (27 Min) Caretaker’s Experiences: Ram Dass, Roshi Joan and the group reflect on Forgiveness, Regret, Betrayal and Rejection as a caregiver.

3. (31 Min) Options Around Death Part 1: Roshi Joan reads a poem and discusses some of the options a dying person has. Group exercise and discussion on organ donation.

4. (34 Min) Options Around Death Part 2: More on organ donation, cremation, burial, The Five Wishes, durable power of attorney, advanced directives, family dynamics.

  5. (34 Min) What To Expect When You’re Expecting To Die: Ram Dass speaks of discovering love, soul, ego and roles in the world. Roshi celebrates not knowing and our unconditioned nature.

  6. (27 Min) Intervention, Pain and Suicide Part 1: Exercise on how and when to manage pain, orchestrating care interventions, and making the choice to continue life or hasten death (assisted suicide). 

  7. (39 Min) Intervention, Pain and Suicide Part 2: The group shares what was learned during the previous exercise.

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