Awake at the Bedside - Praise

Contemplative Teachings on Palliative and End-of-Life Care

Thought leaders in the field of contemplative caregiving offer resilience, wisdom, and freedom for those who keep watch at the bedside.



368 pages, 6 x 9 inches


ISBN 9781614291190

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eBook Bundle (PDF, epub, mobi)


ISBN 9781614291428

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“Marvelous. A compilation of essential treasures exploring the face and feeling of utter engagement, compassion, and wisdom in turning toward death and being present with and for people who are dying. Our culture might benefit greatly from this book and its institutional implications for end of life care and for caring, period.”
Jon Kabat-Zinn, author of Wherever You Go, There You Are

“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being. Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It is the ultimate source of success in life. Awake at the Bedside supports this development of love and compassion.”
—His Holiness the Dalai Lama

Awake at the Bedside is a beacon in the dark night of our healthcare system today. It is a must read.”
—Donna Karan, fashion designer & Founder, Urban Zen Foundation

Awake at the Bedside brings together an extraordinary group of teachers who share their wisdom and insights into the great issue of our lives: how to understand the dying process in a way that allows for grace and peace as we transition into what for most of us is the great mystery.  This volume will certainly be of help for accompanying others in their journeys as well as providing a deeper understanding of our own. ”
—Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness

“This nourishing book, Awake at the Bedside, should be required reading for any compassionate caregiver engaged in fostering healing in themselves, clients, loved ones and society. It envisions revolutionary change in how we care for ourselves and the world.”
—Dr. Andrew Weil

“Profoundly moving, inspiring and helpful, Awake at the Bedside is a real treasure.”
—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path With Heart

“Moving and informative—this is a much needed book! Put into practice, the wisdom of Awake at the Bedside could transform end-of-life care in America. And, every reader will receive support from the collective understanding shared in these pages.”
—Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness

“These days, many people seem to shy away from discussing death or feel great discomfort in the presence of those who are dying. Yet death is a natural part of life, whether it be the death of others or our own deaths. The diverse material in this book, accounts and reflections written from first-hand experience, will help us reflect more deeply on our attitudes to death and dying, and be of value to many people, irrespective of their religious or philosophical tradition. They illustrate how, in our interactions with those who are terminally ill, we ourselves have a unique opportunity to break down the barriers of our ego-centricity and fully develop our potential for an immediate, active compassion and immeasurable loving kindness. But, just as important, they show how much the dying can teach us.”
—17th Gyalwang Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje

One of Spirituality and Health’s Best Books of 2016: “Through a wide range of voices, Awake at the Bedside explores both the personal and social aspects of caregiving at the end of life. Many of the essays, poems, and teachings suggest that, while the process of dying is often difficult and painful, there is something beautiful and true about fully showing up for it.”

“While there are many resources about caregiving and illness, this one handles the vital task of making sense out of difficult situations on a heart-and-soul level. The voices in this book dispel the fear that can come with facing the questions that accompany health challenges. The wisdom and simple presence of these writers can walk with those facing illness and death as they journey deeper to find truths in their own lives, minds, and hearts.”
—Foreword Reviews

 “In Awake at the Bedside, Ellison and Weingast have created a book not about dying but about life, and what living has to teach us.”
Lion’s Roar

“This is a truly lovely and loving book, a helpful treasury of deep wisdom about the great matter of death, and thereby appreciation of life. Here are healing guides to being present with the dying, with the survivors, and with yourself facing death wholeheartedly. These illuminating encounters with death provide deep intimacy into the heart of compassion and of a caring life.”
—Taigen Dan Leighton, author of Zen Questions

“Weaving together the wisdom of ancient traditions and the experience of those in the caring professions today, Awake at the Bedside is a deeply moving, poetic and practical guide to dying.”
—Stephen Batchelor, author of After Buddhism

Awake at the Bedside is a much-needed companion on the path for the seriously ill and those who care for them. This book focuses on training people to focus their compassionate attention on the patient, to be with the patient, wherever they are, and then following the patient's lead to bring healing and wholeness. This is the essence of palliative care and our whole health care system needs a prescription for this medicine. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.”
—Dr. R. Sean Morrison, Co-Director, Patty and Jay Baker National Palliative Care Center

“Palliative care is such a complex and emotional experience, both for the giver and the receiver of that care. How to do it consciously? How to do it with honor, acceptance, and surrender? I am grateful that Awake at the Bedside is now available. It provides the compassionate guidance so as to honor death with the same grace we do life.”
—Sean Corn, yoga teacher, activist and Cofounder, Off the Mat, Into the World 

“From poetry, meditation, and philosophical counsel to care-giving and care-receiving guidance, this profoundly moral book is a gift to all mortal sentient beings. The contributors’ list is a who’s who of the leaders in the end-of-life-care movement today. Awake at the Bedside is vital reading for anyone involved in the process of death—and that means everybody.”
—Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies, Harvard Divinity School

“Providing practical support, emotional resonance, and celebration of ordinary sacredness, this book isn’t about sickness or death—it’s about diving into the heart of life discovered when we truly meet another person.”
—Acharya Judith Simmer-Brown, PhD, Distinguished Professor of Contemplative and Religious Studies, Naropa University

“Lucid, supportive and honest, this collection of stories, poems and practices is a perfect companion for providing loving support to those we care for, including ourselves. A rich and soulful reference book for families, caregivers and professionals.”
—Michael Stone, guiding teacher at True North Insight

“This wonderful volume gives each of us the gift of wisdom and knowledge that will not only relieve our own anxiety and fear but will allow us to embrace what is at the end of the path and allow our own awakening.”
—James R. Doty, MD, Founder & Director of The Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education (CCARE)

“As illustrated in Awake at the Bedside, the necessary and very human task of connecting with another in order to understand, support and provide care is one of the most important things to be learned from the practitioners and practices of contemplative care.”
—Dr. Russell K. Portenoy, Chief Medical Officer, MJHS Hospice and Palliative Care & Executive Director MJHS Institute for Innovation in Palliative Care

Awake at the Bedside is an essential book that points out the therapeutic power of being fully present and compassionate at the beside of those who are dying.”
—Dr. Mitchell Levy, FCCM, FCCP, Chief, Division of Critical Care, Pulmonary, and Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University

“Finally a compendium that gets us above and below and behind the clinical science which narrows and dominates our understanding of death and dying and wellness.”
—BJ Miller, Executive Director of the Zen Hospice Project

Awake at the Bedside is balm for our frantic, fearful, and diseased race against death. It is a quiet feast of small portions—portions of poetry, wisdom, social context, and spiritual guidance. We are moved from suffering to peace, darkness to light, brokenness to wholeness. Bring it with you.”
—Thomas R. Cole, PhD, University of Texas School of Medicine at Houston      

“I am extraordinarily grateful for what this book provides. Filled with quiet insight based on years of experience and the study and practice of dharma, Awake At Bedside extends an intimate, wise and loving hand on behalf of those whose lives are presently coming to an end, and those who care for them. As our families and communities continue to age and die, this book will serve us well.”
—Eihei Peter Levitt, founder and guiding teacher of the Salt Spring Zen Circle in British Columbia

“This is the best book I've read on the end of life—not only what it means for a dying person but what it means for all of us. Reading it moved me to tears many times.”
—David Loy, author of Money, Sex, War, Karma

Awake at the Bedside is the most helpful book on palliative and end-of-life care I’ve read. Ellison and Weingast carefully combine some of the best writing available about death and care for the dying. This includes medical doctors discussing the problematic ways in which the dying are treated in modern hospitals and strategies for getting around these shortcomings. It also includes advice from dharma teachers, beautiful poetry, and personal stories that can help us face experiences of illness and loss.”
—Rory Lindsay, Lion’s Roar