< Back to all podcasts

Life and Death with BJ Miller: A Live Conversation at Esalen Institute
February 16, 2023

BJ Miller is a renowned palliative care physician, author, and speaker. Well known for his 2015 TED Talk ”What Really Matters at the End of Life,” which has been viewed over 10 million times, BJ is a thought leader in the field of conscious dying.

When he was a sophomore at Princeton University, BJ experienced a tragic accident that resulted in the loss of three of his limbs. He followed a path in the medical field, and fell in love with palliative care while in residency. He has been helping patients and their families ever since.

In this live conversation at Esalen Institute, BJ shares his insights on the differences between palliative and hospice care, the emotional and spiritual needs of patients facing terminal diagnoses, and the role of spirituality in end-of-life treatment. BJ also talks about his experiences working with patients and their families, how to help people come to terms with their own impending death, and how to help them become unstuck from a negative narrative.

One of the most fascinating topics discussed in this conversation is the role of psychedelics in end-of-life care. BJ shares his thoughts on the recent Johns Hopkins study concerning psilocybin mushrooms and end-of-life anxiety in cancer patients, where up to 80% of participants reported significant reductions in anxiety and improved quality of life.

As we wrap up the conversation, BJ shares his thoughts on how he sees palliative care evolving in the future, and what role he sees himself playing in that evolution. He also talks about how his online palliative care service, Mettle Health, will free him up to do palliative care the way he wants to do it.

Read the transcript

Listen on Soundcloud