Conscious Dying Institute
Start with The end in Mind

“…If one is interested in human behavior, in the adaptations and defenses that humans have in order to cope with stress, death is the place to learn about it. For those who seek to understand it, death is a highly creative force. The highest spiritual values of life can originate from the thought and study of death.”
~Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

The Conscious Dying Institute (CDI) is a transformational learning organization that places healing practices in the hands of people who matter most: Caring Professionals and Families. A fundamental assumption of Conscious Dying Education is that the nature of our heart is to give back the love, care, and wisdom we receive. Having received profound personal healing care from the End of Life Doula Certificate course, the future teacher discovers and gravitates toward giving back their own unique gift and teaching style, becoming a leader and facilitator of Conscious Dying Principles and Practices.

CDI, through it’s educational Principles and Practice, improves patient and family care by attending to the ‘caregiver’s inner awakening.’ The curriculum used is holistic and palliative in nature, increasing the caregiver’s capacity to give spiritual, emotional, physical, and practical care to anyone, regardless of diagnosis or care setting. It illuminates their authentic caring, healing presence, restores their true purpose and power as healing agents, and is appropriate for clinical professionals, home and family caregivers, and staff in hospitals or senior health care systems. The future Conscious Dying Educator enters the training with a passionate soul-calling to increase the number of people receiving the comforting, healing care they most want and need at the end of life.

Our Mission: To Restore Death to it’s Sacred Place in the Beauty, Mystery, and Celebration of Life and Create a new wisdom-based Culture of Care and Healing and Contribute to the Evolution of Human Consciousness.

For those “who seek to understand” and to learn the practice of healing vs. curative care – before, during, and after death – across all health care settings: They work alongside clinical professionals and families, increasing precious quality moments of life, spiritual sanctity, beauty, interconnectedness, and appreciation of life for everyone.

What is the definition of Death?

For me, in its simplest form, it is merely “a moment in time.” Yet this one moment carries more weight than any other moment in our life. I am grateful for my life’s work. As a practicing Registered Nurse for over 35 years, in many different settings, I have found myself with thousands of others at the threshold of this moment. What I have learned is that death is not something that happens to life, rather it is what happens in life. Life and death are not opposites. The opposite of death is birth. Life has no opposite. Death and dying are aspects of living. It can be no other way.
Perhaps you are now saying quietly to yourself, “He’s bringing me down, man!” Which, in fact, is not an uncommon response in this part of the world. A common dialogue, that I have witnessed on many occasions, is when someone has the audacity to suggest they would like to talk about what they want in their life before they die. If they are considered to be alive and well, the general response is something like this:

“Why are we talking about this… is there something wrong with you? Is there something you are not telling me…? I don’t want to talk about this!”

Now. if by chance they are not considered to be well, if in fact they are aware that they are dying gradually, and they want to talk about what is wanted in life before they die, the general response goes something like this:

“Why are we talking about this… are you giving up? We shouldn’t talk about this now, you need to keep fighting… I don’t want to talk about this!”

Well now, this creates a dilemma. Just when is the appropriate time to engage the conversation? Why engage death at all? Here are my final thoughts, and I take full responsibility for my words.

Death is a mirrored veil. Not like a mirror on the wall, rather, a large pane glass window that is very clean. We can see that something is going on behind the glass, but it looks more like shadows because the sun above and behind us is illuminating the pane to create a mirrored reflection. What we see reflected is our own self, and those who surround us.

In our southern culture, I have noticed that we do everything we can to avoid looking into the mirror. We dance around, as if to slam dance with each other, shaking our heads and bouncing off each other. In so doing, we chant our mantra: “Don’t look… don’t look into the mirror! Don’t look into the mirror, for if you do you will surely die!”

You will surely die, regardless of whether or not you look in the mirror. Each of us, in the fullness of time, will move beyond the veil and enter into that which waits for us. So why look in the mirror?

Look in the mirror to see reflected the infinite potential of a beautiful life!


Gregory Lathrop RN, HTPa | Conscious Dying Institute/ Faculty | Asheville, NC

Written by Gregory Lathrop