Excerpt from the Preface:
I am an unlikely writer on the subject of end-of-life care. My academic training was in physics, and I worked in the field of software development. Having inherited my father’s love of science, I expected to become a scientist or a science teacher. The constant theme of my education invariably tended to scientific study. But a number of forces conspired to redirect my life toward more intangible things and provide some transformative opportunities.
In my early twenties, I was unexpectedly introduced to the life and teaching of Siddhartha Gautama, which gave me a new perspective. I see this as the turning point that led me to Zen Buddhism and eventually hospice care. I was determined to experience a side of life that cannot be framed in objective terms. In the end, we each lose everything we hold most dear: our friends, our family, our possessions, our health, our fame, even our sense of who we are. The establishment of Enso House gave me an opportunity for new kinds of subjective experience. I think spiritual practice gradually led to a softening of my views about the primacy of science. I still have the same deep love of keen observation, rational thought and evidence, and have maintained an avocation in science. But I have also developed an appreciation for experience that lies outside of the scientific worldview.
Enso House continues to attract people who want to give of themselves, to volunteer their time and apply their talents. Those who have been close to Enso House have discovered a way of being with dying people that can serve as an alternative to the way many people die today. At a time in America when we are reexamining what it means to take care of each other and ensure that everyone who needs care can find it, Enso House serves as an exemplary model.
This book is my way of expressing gratitude for these discoveries.