Ram Dass – Here and Now – Ep. 109 – The Five Invitations with Frank Ostaseski, Roshi Joan Halifax and Raghu Markus

Ram Dass is joined by Roshi Joan Halifax, Raghu Markus and the author of “The Five Invitations,” Frank Ostaseski, to talk about his book and how making friends with death as part of our journey offers a path to radical transformation.

Frank Ostaseski is a leader in contemplative end-of-life care. His book, “The Five Invitations,” gives practices for anyone navigating any sort of loss and shows us how to wake up fully to our lives. Frank leads the group in a discussion about death and dying in the context of these Five Invitations.

Show Notes

The Five Invitations (Opening) – The Five Invitations can be understood as best practices for anyone coping with loss or navigating any sort of transition or crisis; they guide us toward appreciating life’s preciousness.

  • Don’t Wait
  • Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing
  • Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience
  • Find a Place of Rest in the Middle of Things
  • Cultivate Don’t Know Mind

“Whatever we have done with our lives makes us what we are when we die, and absolutely everything counts.” – Sogyal Rinpoche

Don’t Wait (9:25) – Frank talks about living a life of practice. We can’t wait until the moment to do the work of a lifetime, so we have to practice now. Everything we do in that regard matters, no gesture is too small.

Roshi Joan discusses how practices around the transition of death can inform other parts of our life.  Ram Dass reminds us that like the dying process, spiritual practice brings us into the moment, where we need to be.

“Sadhana is like the dying process, it brings you to the moment.”

Welcome Everything, Push Away Nothing (18:15) – Ram Dass shares his own experience of watching his body fall away, while his spirit and love is ever expanding. He talks about the contentment he feels experiencing everything timelessly, in the moment.

Reflection on death can help us discover that death is inevitable in our lives, and causes us to be much more present. The group discusses how embracing impermanence provides us with balance and harmony.

“Moment to moment, truth reveals itself. Moment to moment, we begin to understand.”

New Planes of Consciousness (26:40) – In “The Five Invitations” Frank discusses how illness and death can open us to a deeper dimension of being. Ram Dass talks about how his stroke brought him to new planes of consciousness and what that experience was like.

“Instead of going outside for things I go inside, which was grace. I am now getting on with my spiritual practice, because of the stroke.”

Managing Pain (40:50) – Pain plus resistance equals suffering. The group talks about dealing with pain in a practical way. How can we drop our resistance and truly let go in the face of chronic pain?

Bring Your Whole Self to the Experience (50:30) – The group discusses how we can go about cultivating our essential being without sidestepping our human nature.

Fragility and impermanence are undeniably a part of the mysterious nature of life. Ram Dass talks about holding the mystery in love and compassion.

Find Frank Ostaseski online at the Metta Institute.

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