The Lesson: Life and death are a package deal. They cannot be pulled apart and we cannot truly live unless we are aware of death – which is why Frank Ostaseski has distilled everything he has learned from dealing with over 1,000 dying people into five key lessons: don’t wait; welcome everything; bring your whole self into every experience; find a place of rest; and cultivate a ‘don’t know’ mindset.

Notable Excerpt: “Dying is inevitable and intimate. And … dying people, people like you and I, the people in these photos, they find a way to meet the unbearable, the unimaginable, in remarkable ways, actually. This isn’t a fairy tale or some happy ending story, you know? It’s a transformation of tragedy. This discovery happens regularly in people. They find something that allows them to be larger than the small separate self they’ve taken themselves to be. Now you might think, ‘too late’ and I would agree it’s too late; too late to do that work then. But here’s the thing: if that possibility for transformation exists at the time of dying, then it exists now. We don’t have to wait till the time of our dying to learn the lessons it has to teach.”

The Speaker: Frank Ostaseski is the co-founder of The Zen Hospice Project, which is the first Buddhist hospice in America. An expert on dealing with death and end-of-life issues, Ostaseski has taught dozens of workshops on how to deal with the challenges faced by the dying. Not only that, the Dalai Lama honored Ostaseski for the compassion that he has shown dying Americans. His book, “The Five Invitations: Discovering What Death Can Teach Us About Living Fully” has been published in different languages across five continents.

(LISTEN to the inspiring talk below) – Photo by Frank Ostaseski

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