I never had the chance to be with someone as they were dying, until I was 39 years old and beginning a path toward becoming a chaplain.
It was then that I began to reflect on the actual and physical reality of my own death. I had previously lived at the Zen Mountain Monastery, trying to understand who or what I was and what might be the “larger and all inclusive picture” of where I came from and where I was heading. Time and time again, we heard our teacher tell us to “die on the cushion.” As my meditation practice deepened and clarity arose, I felt I had this “death thing” down”… hmmmmm…..not quite!
Fast forward ….
I became a Zen Priest, and after that studied and became certified as a Chaplain and teacher of Chaplaincy. I thoughtfully integrated Buddhist practices into care of patients and their families. While working at various hospitals in NYC, I came face to face with the Buddha’s three famous journeys outside the gates of his protected and secure life: sickness, old-age, and death!
There is obviously no getting out of this! So we might as well face it…or at least reflect on and clarify where we stand, what we believe in, and where we refuse to go!
The Black Plum Center was envisioned to offer teachings on how to deeply listen, how to be “intimate” with another, and how to work with resistances that arise when standing in or next to our worst fears. Only then can we learn to celebrate our “aliveness”.
Caregivers need help … We need to learn the art of being in the shoes of the other and how to take care of others and ourselves in the process. We must learn how to understand death and what to do when it comes to the people we care for. Death does not have to be separated out of our lives. It has so much to teach us about appreciating life.
I have created a learning center that teaches small groups (10 people max) important tools to help you care for the people you love as you learn to care for ourselves.
Sickness, old age and death will be-a-knocking!
Let’s learn to embrace these inevitabilities together!
Rev Trudi Jinpu Hirsch