Meet the Authors

Edward W. Bastian, Ph.D. is a Buddhist scholar and teacher and was executive producer for a series of award-winning BBC and PBS programs about religion and three films about Tibetan Buddhism for the National Endowment for the Humanities. He taught classes about world religion and directed the biodiversity program at the Smithsonian Institution.

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Why it matters to have new conversations about “dying well”...

He is president of the Spiritual Paths Foundation, which offers a two-year certificate program about InterSpiritual Wisdom, weekend retreats, and programs about spirituality and the environment.

Visit www.spiritualpaths.net.

Edward Bastian (p xxx): That night I was prepared to die. I had been preparing for this night ever since my “death” by bee sting and, it seems, many years before that. After five hours of writing, meditating, and praying, the sun rose in the east, and I was still alive. I had lived through the night and the many nights that followed, and I am now deeply grateful for this opportunity to rehearse the moment of my death. This predeath experience was a kind of practicum where I could try to put into service my years of training and preparation.

Tina L. Staley, LCSW, MSW is Director of Pathfinders at Duke University Comprehensive Cancer Center. She cofounded the Pathfinder program and the Seven Pillars to Personal Recovery with Kristin MacDermott, LPC, MFT in Aspen, Colorado. Pathfinders is an organization dedicated to empowering cancer patients and their families to rediscover their inner strengths and take back their lives.

Visit www.pathfindersforcancer.org.

Tina Staley: Dying shapes many of the decisions we make and how we live our lives, yet it has always been the elephant in the room that no one likes to talk about and is afraid of. Some cultures are very comfortable with death, talking about one’s last day and the afterlife, but many like ours, are not.  My inspiration for writing Living Fully, Dying Well arose from my work with Hospice, cancer patients, and the death of one of my best friends. I wanted to bring people together and actually create a dialogue around dying. In writing this book Ed Bastian, my co-author, and I thought it would be helpful to look at death from different cultures and philosophies to see other peoples’ rituals, traditions, and practices around end of life and the life after.  Ultimately, my goal was to create a common language around dying so it wasn’t so frightening and so it was no longer the elephant in the room. We tend to assume that the nearness of death itself diminishes someone’s quality of life.

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