The Significance of Stories

Earlier this month, I was honored to participate in Naropa University’s Compassionate Approaches to Aging and Dying Conference (to learn more about this event and be informed of similar ones in the future, visit:  I gathered with others — end of life workers, caregivers, scholars, and spiritual practitioners — who in various ways devote their lives to death and dying.  So much wisdom was shared that weekend; and the vast majority of it arose in the form of storytelling.  Indeed, each question raised during every question and answer session I attended contained a story in some form.  Those sharing […]

Contemplative Practices and Conscious Dying VI:  Kenotic Practices

Years ago, I was traveling on a bus in Mexico with friends from my spiritual community.  Sitting quietly, doing my morning practice, I began to have a surprising experience.  I felt as though I were being filled with something and then emptied out; this process continued for the duration of the bus ride in a continual dance of filling and emptying.  And throughout it I encountered state changes, unitive experiences, feelings of fullness and of emptiness.   There was nothing I was doing to make this happen; and although I did not have words for what was occurring I knew I […]