The Art of Dying

The Art of Dying

3.87 (74 ratings by Goodreads)
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Is there an art to dying? And if there is, what can we do to achieve a good death? We have few special rituals to prepare for death, or to mark it, and we often fail to help the dying prepare for death. "The Art of Dying" contains accounts by the dying, and those who have been with the dying in their final hours, which help us to understand that death is a process. The experiences suggest that we are looked after throughout the transition from life to death, and taken on a journey into love and light by loved ones who come back to take us. Other accounts are from people who have been emotionally close to someone and who, unaware that the person they love is dying, experience a sudden strong sense of their presence or an intimation of their death. Rational, scientific explanations for these experiences are hard to find, and it is almost impossible, in the face of them, to sustain the current scientific view that our consciousness is entirely brain-based, and that it is extinguished at the moment our brain ceases to function. The world is more highly interconnected and more complex than the simple mechanical model we have followed for so long.
The evidence suggests we are more than brain function, and that something - soul or spirit or consciousness - will continue in some form or another for a while at least. We can ensure a "good death" for ourselves and help those we love achieve it too. "The Art of Dying" demonstrates that we can face death with a peaceful and untroubled mind; that death is not a lonely or a fearful journey, but an intensely hopeful one.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 260 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 13mm | 259g
  • Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1, black & white illustrations
  • 0826499236
  • 9780826499233
  • 160,454

Table of contents

1. Stories about death and dying: background and history of end of life experiences; 2. Doctors and the dying; 3. Death bed visions; 4. Death bed coincidences; 5. Looking for answers; 6. Grandfather's clock and other odd incidents; 7. Visions of light; 8. A search for the soul; 9. The last frontier: the unsolved problem of consciousness; 10. Dying a good death; 11. A journey to elsewhere.
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Review quote

Title in article about the book and authors in Daily Telegraph, 2008. "The authors not only manage to show that it isn't always all bad, but raise profound questions about the nature of consciousness." - Journal of Consciousness Studies, December 2008. "Deathbed visions and coincidences are often classified as supernatural phenomena and the stuff of bad late-night television. But do such classifications do a disservice to the experiences of the dying and the bereaved? Through lengthy oral histories of eerie telepathic and paranormal phenomena, this book attempts to strip away the stigma from analyzing the inexplicable yet commonly reported odd incidences that accompany death the "feeling of unease," the visit from the dying. The authors argue that these reported experiences must be studied, even if they deviate from conventional understanding of the "real" or "normal." What if our minds were wired in a way that has not yet been documented by science? What if hospice workers were more open to the experiences of the dying? Although the Fenwicks' exuberance frequently feels naive, the scores of testimonies as well as Peter Fenwick's renown as a neuropsychiatrist do lend their queries credibility. Ultimately, the authors demonstrate that it may be immaterial if these stories are scientifically plausible since merely documenting these incidences can heighten our understanding of the mind during death and enhance our ability to comfort the dying and their families." - Publishers Weekly, May 2008 Reviewed in Clinical Medicine Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of L, 1 April 2009--Sanford Lakoff "Elizabeth and Peter Fenwick have written an "Ars Moriendi "for our age...illuminating and very moving...The book is highly recommended, as death is something we all need to come to terms with in order to live a full life." De Numine, Autumn 2009--Sanford Lakoff ."..interesting because a contemporary issue is taken and dealt with sensitively...The book's purposes are extensive, including academic, personal interest or within a hospice setting where death is ever-present. It refers to other books throughout which makes it all the more effective for which-ever of the above it's utilized. Moreover, despite the fact that the topics within the book are personal, they are weighed up with both empathy and impartiality, identifying with believers and non-believers alike." De Numine, Autumn 2009--Sanford Lakoff
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About Peter Fenwick

Dr Peter Fenwick is an internationally renowned neuropsychiatrist and a Fellow of the Royal College of Psychiatrists. He is Britain's leading clinical authority on near-death experiences and is president of the British branch of The International Association for Near-Death Studies. He also holds appointments at the Maudsley Hospital, the John Radcliffe Hospital, and the Broadmoor Special Hospital for Violent Offenders. Elizabeth Fenwick has written a number of books on health and family issues. She has produced books on pregnancy and child care, worked as an agony aunt advising on sexual problems on radio and in Company magazine and has been involved in sex education in two London schools. She also worked for three years as a counsellor for Childline.
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Rating details

74 ratings
3.87 out of 5 stars
5 28% (21)
4 36% (27)
3 31% (23)
2 3% (2)
1 1% (1)
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