Nocturnal Works death doula resources

Balanced Equanimity

Frank has sat with thousands of people dying and has dealt with his own cancer treatments. Through those experiences, he has seen people deal with death in many ways. How do we find the "balanced equanimity" that Frank mentions in this quote from his book? For me, equanimity comes from meditation. As my meditation practice has evolved, I have noted that my feelings are less extreme and I am grounded in the moment much more than I ever was before (since becoming an adult, at least, as I was very grounded in the moment as a child). Perhaps you know of other ways to develop such balanced equanimity? Do you practice them on a regular basis?

If we wait to develop such equanimity when we are near death, we most likely won't be able to remain grounded. If we develop such stillness in our lives before death, we will likely carry it into our last moments. I recently heard someone say, "You die as you live!" In regards to the equanimity Frank mentions, I would imagine this to be true. Some aspects of Hindu practice involve meditative states which prepare us for death, so promoting living the way you want to die is not a new concept.

Are you preparing for death by the way you live your life?

Aroha nui,

Lee Jordan signature

Gerald Lee Jordan, MBA, MEd, MCouns ❤️


"Grief is the response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or some living thing that has died, to which a bond or affection was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, grief also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, cultural, spiritual and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, while grief is the reaction to that loss."

Source, Accessed 16 July 2021

Hanging Coffins of Sagada

There are various cultures that hang coffins from rock cliffs, including the Bo people of China (who were wiped out centuries ago by the expanding Han). Hanging coffins remain after centuries in some other areas of China and are found in other regions of Southeast Asia, including The Phillipines.

Centuries old coffins hanging from rock in The Phillipines, were created by the Kankanaey people of Sagada. The bodies inside are in fetal position, consistent with a commonly held view that people should leave the world in the same position in which they entered it. It is believed that these coffins were generally carved by those who would use them at death.

Hanging Coffins of Sagada

(Image source:, Accessed 13 July 2021)


Maraṇasati (death meditation, mindfulness of death or death awareness) is a practice where the person meditating considers that their life will end. This practice can take place within formal meditation environments (sitting, walking, etc) or can happen with a moment's thought, such as considering for a given moment and then returning to one's daily activities.

There are many forms of death meditation. One example follows.

The Nine Contemplations of Atisha

The First Contemplation

Death is inevitable, no one is exempt. Holding this thought in mind, I abide in the breath.

The Second Contemplation

Our life span is decreasing continuously, every breath brings us closer to death. Holding this thought in mind, I delve deeply into its truth.

The Third Contemplation

Death will indeed come, whether or not we are prepared. Holding this thought in mind, I enter into a real sense of practice. (Or, “I enter more fully into the body of life.”)

The Fourth Contemplation

Human life expectancy is uncertain, death can come at any time.Holding this thought in mind, I listen with utmost care to every sound.

The Fifth Contemplation

There are many causes of death – habits, desires, accidents can be precipitants. Holding this thought in mind, I consider the myriad possibilities.

The Sixth Contemplation

The human body is fragile and vulnerable, our life hangs by a breath. Holding this thought in mind, I attend to each inhalation-exhalation.

The Seventh Contemplation

At the time of death, our material resources are of no use to us. Holding this thought in mind, I invest wholeheartedly in the practice.

The Eighth Contemplation

Our loved ones cannot keep us from death, there is no delaying its advent. Holding this thought in mind, I exercise non-grasping and clinging.

The Ninth Contemplation

Our body cannot help us at the time of death, it too will be lost at that moment. Holding this thought in mind, I strengthen my capacity for release.

Credited to Atisha (982 -1054 CE), this English version is by Roshi Joan Halifax of The Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

A Good Death - Interview Podcast

"We all want a good death — a death where we’re surrounded by the people we love and don’t feel any fear or pain. A good death is what Ron Deprez wanted when his body became ravaged by ALS… and thanks to his daughter, Esmé, and Maine’s death with dignity legislation, that’s exactly what he got. In this episode, Esmé Deprez shares her father’s story with us."

Gerald's note: The story of a family farewelling their father as he leaves this world on a day of his choosing, in an environment he loved, and surrounded by family.

About Nocturnal Works

The content on this site is provided to give resources and support to those dying, their loved ones and those providing death doula (end of life) support. When we find out that death is near and the initial shock wears off, emotions and questions flood into our minds. Noctural Works exists as place where you can find out about mental health issues and therapy related to death, dying, grief and bereavement - as well as more practical support, such as planning for death and supporting others on their journey.

The resources on this site are provided by Death Doula Ltd, a company in Aotearoa New Zealand which provides end of life doula support online, in Wellington, Blenheim and Picton (New Zealand). These resources are not legal or medical in nature, so do no rely upon them, but seek legal and medical advice, as required. If you are interested in counselling resources not focusing on death and dying, you can visit our other site, Therapy Aroha.