Dealing with emotions in illness

When you are seriously ill or dying, understandably many issues can come up for you and you may go through many emotional changes.  It’s good, then, to be reminded of your resources and those which you can develop.

There are many issues that may come up or be more intense when you are seriously ill or dying. Along with and sometimes because of this you may experience many emotional changes. The good news is that you can find ways to deal with all that life is throwing at you. You have certain resources and you can take on new ones.

It’s also helpful to know that yes, your situation is unique AND many others have travelled a similar path and been through similar feelings. Of those people, many have felt that through rising to the challenge they have grown inwardly and even that they have emerged better individuals because of it.

You are not alone: there are many resources (including our website) that can provide support for you. Our website offers a variety of meditative techniques suitable for the array of situations and emotions you may be experiencing. In addition we provide you with many other practical resources, which can be found in our section on Illness & Pain and our Death & Dying Toolkit.

In addition, OSHO Sammasati facilitates workshops around the world focusing on meditation for living and dying and also offers individual support and sessions in person or by phone/email/skype.

How you meet the emotions and all the changing scenarios that are part of being ill and dying will be highly individual and influenced by several different factors.

* Your personality. For example, some of us are ‘born fighters’; others tend to collapse in the face of adversity; some of us are optimists where others are pessimists.

* Whatever else is happening in your life at this same time can impact how you cope. For example, if your financial situation is rocky or a parent has just died.

* How well you manage can vary: You might be able to deal with one situation but in another you simply fall to pieces.

* How you responded to past experiences will – consciously or unconsciously – also play a part. Maybe you tend to trust that ‘existence takes care,’ or you’ve always looked for the learning in whatever happens to you. Conversely, perhaps life’s taught you that ‘you just can’t win.’

*Your resources – both outer (for example, supportive family and friends or your being financially comfortable) and inner. For example, that attitude you might have developed through life that everything is an opportunity to grow inwardly – that’s an inner resource.


Other inner resources include…

Thinking – the ability to analyse, ask questions and make decisions – is a significant resource. It’s when our thoughts become obsessive, when we’re stuck in a mind that goes round in circles, when we become identified with and taken over by our thoughts that thinking is problematic.

Meditation. This is an immensely valuable, multi-dimensional resource. The many meditation techniques available can support you in specific ways and the state of meditation helps generally.

See Meditation in Precarious Times

Managing Emotions with Meditation categorises meditative techniques so it is easier to understand the variety of ways in which they can help us with certain emotions.. Following each category are links to the relevant methods.

** Our approach is the acceptance and transformation of all emotions rather than classifying some as unwanted.


Resilience is also a very significant resource. It has been defined as ‘the human capacity to face, overcome, and even be strengthened by experiences of adversity’ or alternatively ‘the life force that flows and connects every living thing, continually prompting regeneration and renewal.’ Read more



Recommended Reading

Emotional Ecology Articles

The Art of Living & Dying     Osho

Close to the Bone Jean Shinoda-Bolen, M.D.

I don’t know what to say     Dr R. Buckman

Meditation: The First and Last Freedom   Osho

What dying people want   David Kuhl, M.D.

When I die: lessons from the death zone   Philip Gould


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