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Lions Roar : November 2017
“One thing that continually concerned me was the marginalization of people who were dying, the fear and loneliness they experienced, and the shame and guilt that touched physicians, nurses, people who were dying, and families as the waves of death overtook life,” Halifax writes in her book Being with Dying. “I sensed that spiritual care could reduce fear, stress, the need for certain medications and expen- sive interventions, lawsuits, and the time doctors and nurses must spend reassuring people, as well as benefit professional and family caregivers, helping them to come to terms with suffering, death, loss, grief, and meaning.” Thus began Halifax’s quest to rehumanize the end of life. Halifax is now a respected Zen roshi and founder of the Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers training in end-of-life care. After almost fifty years working in the field, she has seen the gaps where medical care does not meet humanity—not only for the patient, but also for the clinician. ➢ page 78 Zen teacher Joan Halifax saw the gap where medicine and humanity did not meet and worked to rehumanize end-of-life care. PHOTOBYNOAHROSSETTERPHOTOCOURTESYOFUPAYAZENCENTER “The Buddhist traditions offer contemplative technologies that are profoundly helpful in supporting us not only in living, but also in dying,” says Halifax. LION’S ROAR | NOVEMBER 2017 59