On May 2nd, 2015, The Clear Light Institute held our first Death Cafe. Over forty people attended with rave reviews. One of the participants was so inspired that he left a nice, detailed review on the deathcafe.com website. He said, “Saturday, I talked with a group of strangers about death—it was the most intimate and meaningful conversation of my week”.
Death Cafe was first started in England by Jon Underwood on September 2011. Jon Underwood was inspired by the work of Bernard Crettaz, a renouned sociologist. Since then, there have been over 1800 Death Cafe’s in Europe, Australia, USA, and parts of Asia. On May 6, 2015, over 400 people participated in a Death Cafe in Las Cruces, New Mexico. It was the largest Death Cafe in the world.Clearly, Death Cafe is part of a movement that is gaining international momentum. As the population is aging, there is a growing interest to take an active role in one’s end of life decisions.
Death Cafe’s are lighthearted events with participants often excited to speak freely and openly about impermanence, death and life’s meaning over tea and cake. The open ended questions are presented as a point of reflection to be explored. Not knowing what to say is held with acceptance, patience and not evaluating others. Through our ability to be authentic, a natural expression of our shared human experiences unfolds that develops connection, compassion and loving kindness.
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