Visiting Those Dying and in Pain  Posted 12 Nov 2018
Before meeting a friend who is experiencing physical or emotional pain, and/or facing the end of their life, sit quietly for a few minutes. Become aware of any thoughts or fears that might impede your receptivity, and connect again with your inherent openness and love by reflecting on your friend’s suffering.
As you settle quietly in meditation and watch your thoughts, you might find that you have fear about the other person’s anguish or concern about your ability to make him feel better. Perhaps you’re already trying to plan what you will say, to feel some control in the uncertain situation ahead. Acknowledge these thoughts and fears, and then allow them to dissolve. You might imagine setting your fears, plans and thoughts in a box next to you and leaving them behind, before going into your friend’s room.
Reflect on your friend’s situation, and let his suffering touch your heart, awakening your compassion and love. No matter how painful the circumstances or how disturbing the physical appearance that you will encounter, remember that your friend has, at the core of his being, the innermost essence of wisdom and compassion. Your role, then, is not to rescue him or give him your solutions, but to help him recall and turn toward his own inner resources.
 Contents of this page prepared by Len Warren of Pure Land of the Indestructable Buddha, Hayagriva Buddhist Centre, 64 Banksia Terrace, Kensington 6151 Western Australia, November 2018. Selected extracts from Chapter 5, Facing Death and Finding Hope: A Guide to the Emotional and Spiritual Care of the Dying, by Christine Longaker, Broadway Books, New York 2001, p. 54