A “perfect storm” is brewing for the approximately 79 million members of the “baby boom” generation, to add to the concern over the shrinking budgets of Medicare and Social Security. With advancing age, these individuals are finding it necessary to cope with the passing of their parents while also facing the inevitability of their own death.
However, our contemporary society, obsessed with youthfulness and success, has ignored the reality of death and loss for several decades, leaving most baby boomers ill-prepared for the end of life and the challenging issues it entails.
In addition, much of this generation, including the 42% who have dropped out of all religious practice during adulthood, are lacking the spiritual skills necessary to manage crisis and catastrophe. At the same time, global disruptions are occurring in the environmental, economic and political foundations of modern existence, creating an urgent need for a new way of seeing life and death in the 21st century.
In my experience as a hospice physician, I have learned that this new way of seeing can be accomplished by viewing life through the eyes of those who have already confronted their own mortality, facing the crisis of suffering and loss head-on.
The book What Really Matters presents the stories of dying patients as source material for the spiritual lessons that must be mastered if we are to survive the challenges of the future on this planet. Through the combination of storytelling and spiritual discourse, each of these lessons is conveyed in a manner that inspires the heart and soul while edifying the mind.
Like Mitch Albom’s Tuesdays With Morrie, which presented a touching story of one man learning about life through the dying wisdom of his mentor, What Really Matters tells the stories of numerous patients at the end of life and the transformative lessons they learned through their suffering.
And, in a manner similar to The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle, each of these seven lessons is deeply explored for the spiritual truths that lie within, providing a map for the process of growth in consciousness.