Taming the Inner Critic

No matter how you try, you can’t please your inner critic. There is no fooling it. The critic knows your every move, every trick up your sleeve, every bit of your past. It has been right there with you throughout your life. You shower with it.[...]

Buddhist Need to Grieve Too

In the Mahåparnibbåna Sutta, there is an accounting of the monks response to the Buddha’s death. It seems a pretty good description of the spectrum of grief responses we might have to the loss of someone we love. “…and those monks who had[...]

Grief a Path to Wholeness

Grieving the death of someone we love is like being thrown into a river raging with of powerful and conflicting emotions. It pulls us down… beneath the surface of our lives to dark waters where we cannot breathe. Frantically we try to escape the[...]

Supporting Grief

Loss is inevitable and grief is the process of healing the pain associated with loss. Our grief is our common ground. Along the path to healing we are all called upon to examine our grief. To grieve is to be human. It is perhaps the most human of[...]

The Well of Grief

Those who will not slip beneath the still surface on the well of grief turning down to its black water to the place that we can not breathe will never know the source from which we drink the secret water cold and clear nor[...]

Mindfulness Meditation

For me meditation is about learning to be intimate. Learning to listen intimately to ourselves and the world around us. It’s not just about being more focused or attaining some special transcendent state. It’s about freedom and learning to[...]

Sweet Darkness

When your eyes are tired the world is tired also. When your vision has gone no part of the world can find you. Time to go into the dark where the night has eyes to recognize its own. There you can be sure you are not beyond[...]

Wise Relationship

“ I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become” - Carl Jung from Memories Dreams and Reflections At its core, good medicine is built on the practice of wise relationship. Patients want more than expertise -- they need a human[...]

Wounded Healer

"Only the wounded physician (clinician) heals. The pains and burdens one bears and eventually overcomes is the source of great wisdom and healing power for others." - Carl Jung A teacher of mine once remarked, “You will help people most who are[...]

Bearing Witness

Caregiving from a Buddhist perspective is a recognition that this person’s suffering is also my suffering. When I see that, whether I’m the person in the bed or the person making the bed, I have to confront this precariousness. Mindfulness[...]

Intention in Service: Caring for Ourselves in Caring for Others

For years, I’ve worked with people who are dying. Some of these people are very tough. They may have been living on the streets for a long time. They may be angry about their loss of control. Often they don’t have trust in humanity. Frequently[...]

Rest in Love

When we are caring for someone who is sick, we lend them our body. We use the strength of our arms to move them from the bed to the commode, and we can also lend them the strength of our mind. We can help to create a calm and accepting environment.[...]

Mindfulness in Action

The growing stability of mindfulness predisposes us to move beyond superficiality, to penetrate experience and investigate it in order to have a deeper understanding. Gradually, we begin to have insights into why our thoughts, feelings, and emotions[...]

Why I wrote Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Has to Teach Us About Living

It was due to my wife Vanda's encouragement that I wrote this book based on lessons learned from death and a lifetime of service. Having sat bedside with more than 1,000 people while guiding the Zen Hospice Project, and having developed a model of[...]

No Escape

The habit of escape does not serve. Pain + Resistance = Suffering. It's counter intuitive but healing is always found by turning toward the suffering. Intentionally becoming more permeable, present, and mindfully curious engages our resources,[...]

Don’t Wait

We can harness the awareness of death to appreciate the fact that we are alive, to encourage self-exploration, to clarify our values, to find meaning, and to generate positive action. It is the impermanence of life that gives us perspective. As[...]

Compassionate Presence.

Today our group explored roadblocks to Compassionate Presence. "....Compassion, sometimes spoken of as the "heart’s quivering" is the natural and intelligent response of our Being to the presence of suffering." "A reasonable question to ask[...]


At times service just happens in the way of things. Doesn't it? Someone stumbles on a curb and we reach out to support them. A friend calls with a family problem and you listen. Maybe we formalize our service by volunteering through an organization,[...]

You are Not Alone

The other morning, while practicing meditation, I noticed a moment free from the constant demands of my work, travel, and incessant mind-chatter, the pain body. In that moment I heard -- among the traffic noises, and sirens…. the day waking up –[...]

True Nature is Indestructible

True Nature is indestructible. No part of its disappears…though it may appear in a completely new way. Sitting here this morning, in Hawaii, seemingly on the edge of the world overlooking the endless ocean, it became clear that there is no final[...]

Purchase the book


Discovering What Death
Can Teach Us About Living Fully

Death is not waiting for us at the end of a long road. Death is always with us, in the marrow of every passing moment. She is the secret teacher hiding in plain sight, helping us to discover what matters most.

Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death. The Five Invitations is an exhilarating meditation on the meaning of life and how maintaining an ever-present consciousness of death can bring us closer to our truest selves.


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