Being Afraid to Die

Welcome fellow souls to « The Human Family Crash Course Series, » a new project collaborated together by and Together we will be working on a different topic for each crash course; our eighth topic is focused on «Death». Each topic will have ten posts with posts on Mondays and Thursdays. We hope you enjoy our series and we look forward to knowing how our posts have inspired you!

The award-winning British novelist, Jonathan Trigell, notably said, “Dying alone is a deep fear for most people. I’m not scared of death but I’m scared of dying scared. Maybe everything else in life comes from those two points: the separation anxiety of childhood and the ultimate fear of dying alone.” 

It is not the intent of this post to even begin to scratch the surface of this infinitely complex ongoing discussion of why our fall began or what happens after it ends. I will focus on two facts that as far as I know, are universally agreed to by all who think about these things:

  1. We are going to die.
  2. We have some level of fear, trepidation, dread, anxiety, distress, unease, apprehension, concern and/or worry about #1.

For the rest of the article I will use the word fear, knowing that one of the synonyms listed previously could be substituted by a given person for a given situation.

Being fearful can have two distinct components:

  1. We are afraid of being dead.
  2. We are afraid of the dying process.

If we fear being dead, Michael Kearney suggests, “We have an ego which is happiest when in control of a world that is familiar and predictable. We feel threatened by the approach of utter chaos and the ultimate unknown.”

Or, we might be afraid of an eternity of suffering if we don’t quite get it “right”. Or maybe we are just having such a good time here, we don’t want it to end.

So the goal isn’t to wrestle with the fear of death until you feel calm about it. The goal is to find the place where fear of death is irrelevant. As long as we identify ourselves with the cycle of birth and death, we will be gripped by fear that nothing exists beyond the grave. For most people, terms like “the cycle of birth and death” sound esoteric and alien. But there’s no need for any terminology or indeed any thinking about death.

The simple fact is that when you get to the place where fear of death doesn’t exist, you notice that you no longer have the fear, just as when you find your car keys, you have no fear that you lost them anymore. Now that meditation is quite familiar to almost everyone, it should be fairly easy to accept that meditation takes you to the place you want to reach, a deep sense of self that is untouched by fear. The experience is what counts. Along with the absence of fear, meditation sharpens one’s ability to stay in the present moment. This is another great help, because what makes death so frightening is the anticipation of it.

12 Comments Add yours

  1. Any Element says:

    True, It’s the reality nobody can escape

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      – Accept that death is a natural process
      – Be grateful for your experiences and live in the present
      – Focus on making the most out of your life
      – Make plans for your passing

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Vartika says:

    What makes death so frightening is the anticipation of it… True..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      Fear of death is entirely normal and, quite often, it is tied to a person’s religious beliefs. For example, in many religions, the concept of life after death is tied to punishment, so many people fear that they will suffer the consequences of their mistakes. According to one study, 20% of people are afraid or very afraid of dying, making thanatophobia one of the most common fears. To a certain degree, “normal” fear of death can be a good thing because it makes us more cautious, helps us cherish meaningful experiences, and evaluate the values that guide us.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Vartika says:

        Yes.. I think concept of death is introduced by god.. so that we can appreciate life more..

        Liked by 1 person

      2. GS says:

        Yes indeed.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. I gave birth to twins on January and the doctors discovered I had a cardiac disease which could have make me die. Now, I am afraid of dying I am suffering everyday. Thanks for this article that helps me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      Having some anxiety about death is an entirely normal part of the human condition. However, for some people, thinking about their own death or the process of dying can cause intense anxiety and fear. A person may feel extreme anxiety and fear when they consider that death is inevitable.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on The Reluctant Poet and commented:
    Come Read this!!!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. GS says:

      Thank you for sharing.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. GS says:

      It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live – Marcus Aurelius

      Liked by 1 person

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