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The Grace in Dying: A Message of Hope, Comfort and Spiritual Transformation

4.40  ·  Rating details ·  183 ratings  ·  28 reviews
A moving illumination of the final transition of our lives.
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 1st 2000 by HarperOne (first published January 1st 1998)
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Oct 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Unless you believe that when we die, we cease to exist (period, end of life), and whether or not you work with the terminally ill, this book is a must read. This book does not tell us other people's stories, nor is it for those who are dying, or dealing with the immediate death of a loved one. It is for the rest of us. Be advised - this is not an easy read - my copy of the book, which took 5 times longer to read than my usual reading choice - is riddled with scribbled comments, question-marks, e ...more
May 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who is interested in spirituality and the nascent field of transpersonal psychology
Shelves: spirituality
This is truly a remarkable book. I *highly* recommend it to anyone who is interested in comparative wisdom and spiritual systems.

Singh, a psychologist who has worked in hospice centers for (20+?) years, does a remarkable job of arguing that "the nearing-death experience" is an incredible opportunity. It is the one time when most people have the chance to transcend their own personal awareness, and enter a state of grace, until then only experienced by those engaged in the most rigorous of conte
Jan 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Death is not an outrage, nor an abyss of nihilistic darkness. Death is the threshold from which our encased consciousness pouring through the confines of Ego to the Ground of Being. This is the foundational theme of Singh’s Grace of Dying. It is a spiritual guide based on Eastern religions and Sufi and Christian mysticism. Theological symbols and doctrines are treated lightly and respectfully. In addition to her erudite in philosophy and religions works, Dr. Singh also has many first-hand experi ...more
Elizabeth Andrew
Jan 21, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Difficult as this book was to read, I am profoundly grateful for all the thought, experience, and contemplative practice that formed the wisdom on these pages. I can imagine Singh's work would bring great comfort to those working and living at the edges of death and dying because she describes (with great detail and clarity) how death is a "universal process marked primarily by the dissolution of the body and the separate sense of self and the ascendancy of spirit." We're biologically programmed ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spiritual-care
First published 1998. The year Chuck died. I liked a lot about this book: the approach to the spiritual transformations of dying is hopeful, and often resonates with my experience as caregiver and chaplain.

Yet something about it didn't ring in the depths of my soul. It reports, systematizes, theorizes, but for me it did not call forth the deep responses of assent, the songs of the spirit.

It's very interfaith--kind of bland, really, avoiding specific religious language, describing similarities wi
Aug 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people who are experiencing terminal illness personally or through a loved one
This book starts with the sentiment that we are safe- that dying is is a deeply spiritual book in a broad sense, allowing the dying process to stand alone for what it is: harsh, tragic, horrible, excruciatingly lonely. But it goes on. It explains, from the viewpoint of a seasoned hospice worker,that a transformation occurs for the dying person, and this transformation is almost enviable. The author touches on some quasi new-age sentiments, but those can be overlooked in order to apprec ...more
Harry Allagree
May 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is a significant contribution to the ongoing national conversation about death. I took it up in order to better understand what a close friend, who has terminal cancer, might be experiencing. In doing that, Kathleen Dowling Singh, a veteran hospice worker, has helped me see that it's me, fact, it's all of us who are involved in a breathtaking journey of emerging into being in the world of form, and the remerging back into oneness with the Ground of Being. This statement struck ...more
Mason Wren
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Wow...incredible. I know a book is excellent when immediately after I finish it I want to read it again.

Beautifully written in a contemplative, centering way, comprehensive and thorough in dealing with all the aspects of the psychospiritual dynamics in the dying process, and open and inclusive in its religious orientation/perspective. This will be a book I continue returning to. For me, this book is not just about the stages of dying and what it is to die well, but also recognizing what it is t
Dec 19, 2018 marked it as abandoned
Shelves: non-fiction
I read 33% of the book. In that part there were quite a few descriptions of the author's experience with the spiritual transformation of persons going through the dying process. That was what I wanted to read about. Eventually I felt bogged down with explanations or philosophy and decided that the book had met what I had hoped to get and I could quit reading.

I should add that I read this in the paperback edition with, what was for my eyes, tiny print and rather yellowing paper. That had a lot to
Christin Weber
Jul 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a life-transforming book. The author, a transpersonal psychologist and hospice worker, gathered her wisdom from dying persons themselves. She goes way beyond most books on dying, explaining what is happening spiritually to the person near death and how it relates to what is happening physically and emotionally. I read the book while my sister was dying, and I witnessed in her virtually all the transitions Singh describes. It's hard to imagine reading this book and not letting go of ones ...more
Michael S.
Nov 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This was a beautifully written and very thoughtful book from the Buddhist point of view; it discussed in nice detail the way in which many people who were near death or near-dying (in their final days) were able to transcend the ego-based fears of clinging to their life and egoic projects and find some sense of inner peace. I enjoyed the book very much, but am not sure that those unfamiliar with Buddhist tenets and Buddhist metaphysical beliefs would find it as interesting as I did.
Debara Zeller
I've been reading a lot on death and dying lately (I have a loved one with terminal cancer), and so far this is the best. Its emphasis on the spiritual aspects of death (without pushing any specific religion) is reassuring and actually confirms my own beliefs about what happens. I'm sure I'll read it again and again, including when I'm on my own deathbed.
Oct 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
This book is an account of people's death experiences through one persons eyes. Singh talks about the psychological and spiritual stages of dying.
It is helping me understand the stages of death.
Mar 25, 2015 rated it really liked it
A difficult book to read because of the subject but there is so much wisdom within. The author clearly knows this subject well.
Jan 07, 2010 added it
Probably the best book on dealing with grief that I have ever read, and I read many (after my dad died).
Sheila Pritchard
Jan 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A profound and compassionate book about the physical and psycho-spiritual stages of dying.
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book took me on an unforgettable spiritual journey.
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is a much needed beautifully written book. It gives comfort to those who are dying and those who are dealing with the dying. It's the best book that I have read on this subject.
Dec 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
So much depth and wisdom in this delving into the psycho-spiritual processes of dying that it will take many more readings to be able to absorb it all.
Lisa Swaboda
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wow....what an absolutely beautiful book!
Christine Seaver
Sep 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars
Mary Johnson Howes
Oct 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful book,wish I would have read it 6 years ago.
Dec 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
“The Grace In Dying” by Kathleen Dowling Singh is a novel that combines the views of transpersonal psychology, personal experiences, alongside her Buddhist practices and believes on death, that so many people choose to ignore due to its overpowering fear. With these she is able to produce a novel where she differentiates and explains the faint stages of transformation in the transpersonal, spiritual, psychological, philosophical, energetic and physiological experiences of a person going through ...more
I actually skimmed this book, not reading it cover to cover. Might come back to it later.

I found the quote below while I was skimming, and stopped to read it over several times. It is worth reading, and worth thinking about regarding the fears anyone might have as they experience illness or decline.

Norman Cousins, who wrote “Anatomy of an Illness as Perceived by the Patient: Reflections on Healing and Regeneration", 1979

"There was first of all the feeling of helplessness — a serious disease in
Brian Wilcox
Jun 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
We are offered here, a more healthy, practical, and inclusive view of dying and death than is often presented in cultures that see dying and death as graceless, to be avoided at all cost, rather than a grace, a gift to be welcomed in the ever-unfolding Journey.
Craig Dove
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: hospice
I liked the discussion of dying, the transpersonal psychology wore on me. And a lot of the book is about transpersonal psychology.
Johannes Nelson
Jun 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mixed bag
Rebecca A. Connor
rated it it was amazing
Feb 18, 2019
Linda Snow
rated it really liked it
Aug 06, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 20, 2011
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Kathleen Dowling Singh is a longtime dharma practitioner and a spiritual growth mentor. She is the author of The Grace in Dying: How We Are Transformed Spiritually As We Die and The Grace in Aging: Awaken As You Grow Older as well as numerous articles and anthology chapters. She speaks in broad language about spiritual transformation and meditative/contemplative practices, developing compassionate ...more

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