I often dance with mortality and mystery as an interfaith spiritual director and companion to the dying at Zen Hospice Project, which trains volunteers to practice these Five Precepts of Hospice Care developed by its founder:
1) Bring your whole self to the bedside.
2) Welcome everything, push away nothing.
3) Find a place of rest in the middle of things.
4) Cultivate "don't know mind."
5) Don't wait.
Years ago, as a new hospice volunteer and spiritual director overflowing with compassion, openness, and newly acquired skills, I was excited to practice all that I had learned—especially the five precepts.
Everything changed as soon as I met “John.”