Back in the 1970’S I attended a lecture by Elizabeth Kubler Ross in NYC on death and dying. Basically she was the only real advocate for the dying and her main thrust was to urge people to treat the dying in a compassionate manner and NOT to go the usual route of reciting silly “jingles’ on how everything is going to be alright. I hope the included very early video will inspire you to go to the never failing YouTube and type:early lectures of Kubler Ross into the search box and listen to her inspired wisdom on this subject.
I wish I could remember the details of her story of how she was inspired to begin her mission for the dying which was initially very difficult professionally; her peers thought she was a little nuts. I do remember fragments of this story and I hope it is close to the reality of what she spoke that evening in a very large hall, sitting on the edge of the stage with her legs dangling over the edge.
As a psychiatrist in a large hospital she was walking the hall to a dying patients room when she heard an intuitive voice telling her to speak with the female orderly/nurses aid to learn how to care for the dying. She listened to words that later became her philosophy on death and dying. On subsequent days she had experiences with guidance that would appear as human forms around her instructing her to follow through with her new found knowledge on death and dying. The forms would disappear when she tried to pursue them.
I know there is a cassette tape on this lecture because I had one which unfortunately disappeared. Never knew how that happened but if anyone knows of this lecture please let me know. The included video is the closest I have come to the knowledge she spoke of that night.
As I recall it was the Maharishi who introduced her. He started out by saying “I live in a world of twinkling light.” I was immediately blown away because that too was my reality.
As I touched on in an earlier blog “The Unmentionable” I am stunned at the reality of having only one friend who will speak freely about death and dying . Guess I need to discover some Buddhist friends because the Buddha, horrified and inspired by his early experiences with the dead and dying, made it a focus of his philosophy.
Buddhists are taught to meditate on impermanence and death since it is as central to Buddha’s teachings as it is to Kubler Ross. It’s unfortunate in the West we are well taught not to mention the subject; it’s not appropriate in polite company. Strange, since it’s where we are all headed, sooner or later and we never know when.