The Buddha's Wife BookRelational Meditation Practice with the Ill or Dying

– Mindful breathing: Sit in a chair or next to a bedside of some­one ill, aging, or dying. Gently align your breathing with that of the other. You can either do this silently or ask the other person if they’d like to do some breathing together. You might want to breathe out with a sigh or an “ahh,” allowing the out-breath to release stress and tension. Simply aligning the breathing is an easy way to practice being with.

- Mantra practice: try to find a simple word (or words) that can be used through illness or death—words that have been said in the spirit of the relationship—and try to use them frequently, either in your heart or out loud, offering them at important times. Phrases like “No words” or “Just love” can come to have very evocative meaning as the person declines, as these few words can come to represent the whole relationship.

– A simple mindful moment of being with: Pause, relax, open into the relationship; then smile to yourself, to the other, and to the whole universe, and feel the whole universe holding you.

– Making amends and asking forgiveness: you may want to do this formally or informally. Think about what you want to have out of the way between you and the other person, and take the time to make an amends and ask forgiveness. Practice self-forgiveness, and accept that the other person may or may not choose to reciprocate.


Learn many more meditation practices in the book, The Buddha’s Wife.