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Lions Roar : May 2009
SHAMBHALA SUN MAy 2009 81 California. Its primary program is the End- of-life Care Practitioner Program, whose goal is to “establish a national network of educators, advocates, and guides for those facing life-threatening illness and the indi- viduals and systems that serve them.” “Our work,” Ostaseski says, “is about reclaiming the spiritual dimensions of the dying process. I’ve always thought there is a natural match between people who are cultivating the listening heart in medita- tion practice and people who really need to be heard—namely, people who are dying.” Though Ostaseski says he has moved from caregiving to mentoring, it’s appar- ent caregiving is still a key motivator—in this case, caring for the caregivers them- selves. “We wanted to reach out to people working every day in difficult circum- stances in medical institutions, in envi- ronments far less supportive than Zen Hospice. How could they take spiritual practices into their workplace and benefit themselves and the people they serve? “Many people entered health care with a deep intention to serve and to reduce harm. They want an internal process, like mindful- ness, that supports them as they go forward. In the dying process, there’s little that can be done medically, so it becomes a natural place for caregivers to find deep resources that might be applied in the rest of health care.” Ultimately, he’d like to see the veil sur- rounding dying lifted so that “the lessons learned at the time of dying can have an impact for the rest of us in our everyday lives. I dream that one day hospices will be like yMCA’s and corner churches, so broadly accepted that they won’t be con- sidered special at all.” ♦ PHOTOByPATTyWINTER Shambhala Sun 1-30.indd 1 1/16/09 11:29:17 AM