Reading and Discussion Group on Death

* This group is currently on hiatus. We had a successful first 6-month session in 2016 and hope to start a new cycle in fall or winter 2017. *

What different approaches do people take to comprehend death?
Does death give life meaning, or make life meaningless?
How can we face the reality of death in our own lives?

These are difficult questions that we often avoid. The purpose of this group is to contemplate these questions in a direct, sustained way through reading, discussion, and spiritual practice.

The group reads religious, philosophical, and scientific works about death as well as memoirs and personal narratives on the topic.  Examples of texts might include physician Sherwin Nuland’s seminal How We Die, novels like the Pulitzer Prize winning Gilead by Marilynne Robinson,  or the recent memoir by Paul Kalanithi, When Breath Becomes Air, written at age 36 in the final months of his life.

For those who are interested, the readings and discussions are supplemented by an exploration of meditative and spiritual practices developed across different faith traditions that aim to help practitioners approach and understand death.

If you are interested in the group and would like us to be in touch when it restarts, please email with a few sentences about who you are, why you’re interested in joining, and one or two texts you would suggest the group read.