Death: The End of Self-Improvement



Joan Tollifson

New Sarum Press

Language of origin

Infos :

6" x 9"
286 pages


The End of Self-Improvement

This book celebrates the great stripping process of aging, dying and spiritual awakening. Beautiful, poignant, at times humorous, transcendent, messy, down to earth, refreshingly honest—the book explores death, and more importantly, being alive, through a rich mix of personal stories and spiritual reflections.

Joan writes about her mother’s final years and about being with friends and teachers at the end of their lives. She shares her own journey with aging, anal cancer, and other life challenges. She explores what it means to be alive in what may be the collapse of civilization and the possible extinction of life on earth due to climate change.

Pointing beyond deficiency stories, future fantasies, and oppressive self-improvement projects, Joan invites an awakening to the immediacy of this moment and the wonder of ordinary life. She demonstrates a pathless path of genuine transformation, seeing all of life as sacred and worthy of devotion, and finding joy in the full range of our human experience.

Joan Tollifson

Joan writes and talks about being awake to the aliveness and inconceivability of Here-Now—being just this moment, exactly as it is. Joan invites people to question the sense of being a separate, independent, encapsulated, autonomous self; to question the stories, beliefs and misunderstandings that create so much of our human suffering, including our tendency to mistake conceptual maps for the living actuality. Joan's bare-bones approach is open, direct, down-to-earth, rooted in the ever-fresh aliveness of aware presence. Rather than relying on outside authorities, traditional ideas, acquired knowledge or beliefs, this is about direct, immediate seeing and being. Joan's main teacher was Toni Packer, a former Zen teacher who left that tradition behind to work in a simpler and more open way. Joan spent time with many other teachers as well, exploring Buddhism, Advaita and radical nonduality, but she does not identify with or represent any particular tradition. Joan is the author of Bare-Bones Meditation: Waking Up from the Story of My Life (1996), Awake in the Heartland: The Ecstasy of What Is (2003), Painting the Sidewalk with Water: Talks and Dialogs about Nonduality (2010), Nothing to Grasp (2012), and Death: The End of Self-Improvement (2019). Joan has lived in northern California, rural New York state, and Chicago, and currently resides in southern Oregon.
Agence Schweiger

Agence Schweiger