DHO End of Life Project

Dervish Healing Order
End of Life
By: Angela Amundsen, RN, BSN

Towards the One. This is our goal through all the stages of our lives. This is what we seek. The end of life is no different than any other stage. The Dervish Healing Order is beginning the dialogue on how we as healers can assist at the end of life, through practice,  prayer, support, and comfort measures.

On June 28, 2002, at the behest of Saul Barodofsky, the leader of the DHO, a number of Sufis met to discuss the issues of the end of life. The discussion led us to exploring how we deal with death. We each had a recent personal experience of death or have family or friends that our getting older or are ill, and we are aware of the immediacy of their death and their physical absence from our lives. Some of us are medical professionals, and deal with death frequently and assist patients, family, and friends through this process. None of had talked about our experiences as a group. We found that there was much to be shared, and we! had many questions. Care and comfort of the dying starts with us, the healer. To begin a practice of assisting the dying, we need to be aware of our own experiences of death, and our own perceptions. Are we comfortable with the process of death, do we see it as a part of life? Do we see death as someone else’s experience? How do others experience the process of death? Are we willing to ask others about their thoughts on death and dying? What are some of the cultural practices around death in your local area? Do these seem strange to us or can we appreciate these practices? Are we willing to look deeply inside ourselves and examine our own fears and beliefs about death and dying in order to be able to support another through this process?

As some of us are healers in the medical profession, a discussion took place about the need to begin to guide the humans for whom we are caring from disease directed therapy to comfort directed therapy. What are some of the ethical issues we need to examine in order to feel comfortable assisting people through this decision process? How can we support family and friends in the dying process? What are the prejudices, beliefs, and practices at which we need to look? How do we attend and care for ourselves while we support those in the process?

As healers in the medical profession, some of us need to become aware as to how we can support the human who is dying in the medical environment. Aslan Sattler, MD and Rey Patterson, MD have provided examples of orders and guidelines to consider. As healers working outside the medical community, you can read the examples and learn more about medical support.

We look at all the aspects of care to assist with this process — physical, emotional, spiritual.

Some of the tasks we can all do are practical and good human practice as well as spiritual practice. We can make a Living Will, which designates the medical care that we receive if we begin to die, and Durable Medical Power of Attorney, which legally designates the person who will be making medical decisions for us should we be unable to make them, and who will ensure our wishes be carried out. We can support a natural death, a natural process. In the Dervish Healing Order, we can perform the Healing Service to aid and comfort both the living and the deceased. According to Murshid Samuel Lewis, the Healing Service will ease the soul in the transition in transferring to higher planes of existence. In all cases meditation, is effective to create a healing environment. As the dialogue continues, we will update this site and provide further insights into how we can best serve at the end of life.

— Angela Amundsen

Report: DHO Calistoga – 2002

Dear Family and Friends,

This is an auspicious day to write a report on our June Gathering of the Dervish Healing Order – being the birthday of Hazrat Inayat Khan, and the day after our country’s birthday.

Firstly, it was a warm and wonderful gathering. The entire country was represented: North, South, East, West – and all the parts in between.

Around 45 of us gathered in Calistoga – both full time and part time – the weather was warm and the pools were fantastic. Of course the food was yummy, and the folks that served us were very special. Murshid’s presence was palpable, and a great time was had by all.

Some highlights:

Pir Shabda (and Tamam) were our honored guests, and led us in practices – Shabda spoke of the importance of self-less service, and acknowledged our work. Tamam shared a practice she had experienced in Morocco, and recalled her part in the very first Healing Camp (1973), when she was in charge of the childrens camp. WOW! And, Thank you both.

Tui & Bonnie joined us for 2 days, and stayed for a day more. It was wonderful to have Bonnie back with the family again. Watching Tui doing the walks in his motorized cart was fantastic.

Fatima Lassar headed the Friday evening program, and shared with us the newest incarnation of her “Sifat Bingo.” The newest one is called S.A.M. Bingo, and is much more inclusive – and was loads of fun. She gave away great prizes too, and recounted some priceless S.A.M. stories.

Anna Farishta from St. Louis, brought a video of Baba Ram Dass’s “Fierce Grace.” His recounting of his personal struggle after his stroke, was deeply moving. There was also some great scenes from his earlier life – just to put things in perspective. It also had footage from the movie Sun Seed, with the Sufi Choir singing. Not only did we love the film, but our hosts at Mt Home Ranch loved it too.

And, there was our usual frivolity amongst the trees: Asha led silent meditation, Siddiq & Zakina served Tea, Aslan (Scott) had choir, Morad led Chi Gong, we had the Healing Ritual each morning, walks in the afternoon, and dancing at night (thanks Aslan). A lot of personal healing that took place. Once again the waters worked their magic.

Ya Shakur. Ya Shaffee. Ya Kaffee.

There was also a preliminary meeting of the people who were interested in the spiritual aspects of death and dying. Many folks who worked in Hospice, or were just interested in the process, have made a decision to investigate re-constituting the work done in the ancient mystery schools, and their focus on “the Rights of Passage: Birth, Coming of Age, First Orgasms, parenthood, & Death.” It is written that one walks with the dying to the gate. Jean Pierre is setting up an interactive bulletin board for those who are interested. Please contact Jean Pierre if interested: jeanpierredavid@compuserve.com

A) Missing were a men’s and a women’s gathering – next time.
B) An all-new bed time story – Aladdin & The Magic Lamp.
C) More guest teachers
D) Next year on the East Coast: the group decided that our 2003 gathering will be on the East Coast – should be around the same time – more on this soon.

All love and Blessings,
hakim sauludddin