The news reported below is the experience written by one of the participants.
This workshop was held on Saturday 15th June 2019 at Global Co-operation House, London, and organised by the Janki Foundation to encourage deeper conversations about death. It was the second of two workshops that arose from the first Shining Light on Death event in July 2018. An audience of 20 people who had a great deal to offer in this field, many of them facilitators for those facing the end of life and their families, led to a certain ambiguity of presenters and listeners.
The facilitators, Bridget Haley, Suja Chandran and Bhavna Patani, did well to make constructive use of this. Despite an occasional sense of people struggling with their own agenda (well at least we are all human), there was evidence of a great deal of thought that had already gone into bringing people to where they were now and considerable ability to reach out to others. I slowly came to the conclusion that what mattered was not whether what was said was true but simply that it was the outcome of a journey made by the person who said it. To understand it we need to understand the journey. What is right may be different for different people.
Once I reached this conclusion I realised that it was in fact exactly where the facilitators had invited us to start. They emphasised that their own views of death were constantly evolving over time and that there were no right answers, only awareness of what is right for me, for you, or for him or for her. Their aim was to offer us an opportunity for expanded consciousness and, as became clear, love plays a vital role in this. While it is often the threat of imminent death that brings people to think about these things and talk about them with those close to them, the need to do this is in fact always with us and we get better at it with practice. So why wait until death is knocking at the door? Conscious dying is made possible by conscious living. The most common reason for postponing this lesson is fear and we need to find our own way of overcoming our fear of death to free ourselves for conscious living.
We were exhorted to have conversations and write things down as this puts us in touch with the value of what is already inside us but that we otherwise risk taking for granted. Above all, I had to recognise what is right for me and recognise that this may not be right for others. The meeting overran by half an hour without anyone getting up to leave. Altogether an afternoon that was both gentle and highly stimulating and moved us all to a greater acceptance of each other.
Malcolm Mackenzie, Retired Social Worker