Category Archives: Articles By Dale Borglum

Great Compassion

We are two-fold beings, at once human and divine, finite and infinite, dualistic and non-dualistic. On one hand we have a body and a personality that change, that age, that experience happiness and pain, that eventually die. We also are pure consciousness, living spirit, deathless, the subject that experiences our body and mind as objects. […]

The Beloved Can Only Be Everything

The poet Rumi wisely said that grief is the garden of compassion. In a fundamental sense, spiritual practice is the inner work of transforming the separation inherent in grief into the connectedness of compassion, which is our true nature. So long as we live with unresolved grief in our hearts, grief that has not been […]

Fear of Death

Fear of Death a Talk Given at the San Francisco Gay Buddhist Fellowship by Dale Borglum Talk given at the San Francisco Gay Buddhist Fellowship, December 2, 2012 I’m glad to be here today. The work that I have been doing is supporting people who are working with a life-threatening illness and bringing spiritual support […]

The Shadow of Death

The dying long have been marginalized, even ignored, in our modern society. In response to this tragic enactment of our collective denial of death, the hospice movement and the conscious dying movement in recent years have emerged and flourished. Spiritual methodologies, particularly Buddhist, have informed these efforts to bring compassionate care to the dying. As […]

Healing Path

We all want and need healing. Healing from physical disease, from emotional wounding, from clinging to the conceptual, healing from the disconnection with the sacred in our lives, we each in our own way are striving to find a greater sense of wholeness. Even if we addictively cling to our old, destructive patters of behavior, […]

How We Heal

Being intimate with death for the past twenty years increasingly has forced me to find ways to heal the aspects of myself that feel separate from God, from my own nature, from others. What follows is a short description of what I have learned. This simple paradigm of the healing path is as practical and […]

Before The First Step

For over twenty years, I have been blessed to be in close contact with many people who were approaching death. Almost all of these people were reaching out for healing–healing in relationship to death, healing in relationship to illness, in relationship to a wounded heart, to separation from their own self. My consuming interest, both […]

What’s Normal?

Should we really get back to normal, the norm before 9/11? Are shopping and investing enough? I hope not. Something has noticeably shifted for many Americans and we have an opportunity that goes far beyond the old norm. Even though many more children starve to death every day than died in the 9/11 plane highjackings […]


Late this past summer I went on a pilgrimage to remote Western Tibet, circumambulating Mt Kailash and the nearby Lake Manasarovar. This journey was physically challenging, especially since my hip had been replaced earlier in the year-hiking over an 18,600 foot pass, snow, hail, high winds, rain, mud, sand, sleeping on the ground, days removed […]

Collective Healing

In past newsletters we have investigated the path to healing for the individual, a path that begins with a deep appreciation of the preciousness of life, the inevitability of death, and the uncertainty of the moment of death. Motivated by these truths, we are inspired to become aware of our present situation, aware of what […]

Poorest of the Poor

Gandhi, when asked how we should choose to live our lives, suggested that we ask ourselves “How will our next action affect the poorest of the poor?” In the twenty-first century Western world we still encounter those who are very poor in the material sense of the word, but for many of us, the most […]

Conscious Dying

Thirty years ago the conscious dying movement was born in the modern West. Basically, conscious dying is the process of utilizing the dying process as an opportunity to become more present and loving, an opportunity for profound healing, for spiritual awakening. Eastern traditions such as Hinduism and particularly Buddhism, as well as shamanic traditions, have […]


What is an ideal death? Qualities such as going beyond fear, feeling deeply connected with loved ones, and realizing oneness with the Divine, with God, with non-dual Reality as death approaches are hallmarks of a dying openly and gracefully lived. During twenty-nine years of being a spiritual guide for the dying, I have participated in […]


Dear Friends, For many years the Living/Dying Project offered all of our client services free of charge and covered its basic operating expenses through individual donations and a few grants. Basically we were not a business. Almost all staffing, including my work as Executive Director, was done without salary on a volunteer basis. Due to […]

Constancy and Change

What has remained constant with the Living/Dying Project since our last newsletter is our commitment to serving individual clients. The poem “Facing the Wall” and the articles “Reflections of a Volunteer” and “Approaching the Unspeakable” in this issue speak directly to our commitment to bring spiritual support to those with life-threatening illnesses. The Living/Dying Project […]


This past spring and summer Phil was my Living/Dying Project client. Phil was 48 years old and lived a mile up the hill from me with his wife Joelle and their son Philip who had his third birthday during our time together. When I met Phil his oncologist had just told him that the cancer […]

Almost Unbearable

by Dale Borglum, Executive Director We are all going to die but don’t know when. Life is precious. These truths are traditionally contemplated to motivate a spiritual seeker to persist, with patience and trust, during the work of uncovering and then embracing the resistance that seemingly separates us from each other and our true selves. […]