Saturday, 22 June 2013

Scared of Death? These books might help.

These books may help us live better and face the end of life better. And of course, a good book about dying must be a good book about living.

Staring at the Sun: Irvin D Yalom. He takes a straightahead look at the fear of death, how, unacknowledged, it underlies much mental anguish, and how, as a psychiatrist, he has treated such anguish.

Who Dies? by Stephen Levine. I haven't read this yet, but I've read his "A Year to Live, " found it very helpful, and am advised by someone whose opinion I much value that this is his best book. That's why it's on my list.

Intimate Death: Marie de Hennezel.   Tough and beautiful. She was consultant at a hospice in France. 

Old Age: Helen M Luke. An extraordinary and revelatory way of using her insights as a psychotherapist to help us accept old age.

The Undertaking: Thomas Lynch.  Because it is about so much more than the business of being an undertaker.

Man's Search for Meaning: Viktor E Frankl. We respond to the demands of life by creating meaning; if we don't find meanings for ourselves, in everything that happens, then we die. This certainty he brings us, from inside Auschwitz.

The Book on the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are: Alan Watts. If I'm scared of dying, perhaps it's because I'm scared of letting go of "me." But "I" am not a separate thing from the universe, I am not what I think I am. Such clarity and wisom from Alan Watts.

It;'s not, perhaps, for me to recommend, or enthuse. All I'll say is that these books have been enormously helpful to me, and I hope they may be to you too.

(But you might not want to read them one after the other!) 

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