Moment-to-Moment: Narratives of Mindfully Living-and-Dying

Anne Bruce’s research focused on the potential for mindfulness meditation to promote a better quality of living and dying by reducing stress and anxiety. Mindfulness meditation, which involves nonjudgmental and moment-to-moment awareness of change within a person’s mind and body, has been researched extensively for the last decade. But little research has been done on the experience of people with life-threatening illness and hospice caregivers who practice this form of meditation. At the Zen Hospice Project in San Francisco, where care is based on mindfulness meditation, Anne conducted extensive fieldwork while working as a volunteer caregiver. Through in-depth unstructured conversations, she gained insights about new ways of understanding death and dying, and their meaning for those holding non-theistic, non-Western perspectives. Anne hopes findings from this research will help enhance understanding of mindfulness meditation as a self-care practice for people with life-threatening illness. Ultimately, she hopes her work will help program planners develop new models of hospice care and support services that address psychological and spiritual needs of people with life-threatening illness and their caregivers.