Facing our fear of death

Death forces us to let go of everything. We must accept this and go peacefully. If we cling to people, or to things, or to our hopes and dreams, then death will be a moment of agony. We don’t know what will happen next, but it makes sense to accept the inevitable, and let death be a peaceful letting go.

Our life can be a training for the moment of death. If we learn to regard the world as fleeting and temporary, then it is easier to release it. This is training for life as well as for death. Whether we admit it or not, nearly all of us fear death. If we can learn to accept death, our lives will be lighter, as will the moment of death.

We fear death because we spend our lives clinging to things of this world. We strive for more money, we bond with friends, and most of all, we become attached to that voice in our head that we call “me”. We see our happiness as being dependent on these things, and conveniently ignore the grim reality that it could all end in an instant, for death can come at any time.

We must not ignore death. We must come to terms with the fact that everything is ephemeral. We still enjoy life, just as we enjoy a blooming flower, even knowing its beauty will fade. In fact, to accept death in our hearts and minds is perhaps the only way that we can truly enjoy life. For death in itself is not a sadness, it is our desire for things to last forever that makes death so unbearable.

So is there a part that will never die? Is there something solid that we can cling to? For some of us, this sense of eternity is found in God. Others of us must look within ourselves for that which is eternal. It is not the body, nor our discursive mind, but is there an essence, deep within, which was always present and always will be? If so, that is what we can cling to. If you have no such belief, then instead you must learn to delight in the very nature of change, in the idea that nothing remains the same. Yet at a higher level, we can also see that nothing ever changes, just as the sea is in constant motion and yet forever remains the same. When these truths are grasped, when we rise above our limited identities and learn to release the world, then our lives will be free. Finally, when death chooses to strike, we readily let go of all that remains.

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  1. Bendz said,

    October 22, 2007 @ 5:19 pm

    Nice organized blog. The zen stories are useful to me. Nice info and keep it up :)

  2. Keith Johnson said,

    October 27, 2007 @ 6:31 pm

    Nice article, and many thanks. I encourage everyone to read the “Tibetan Book of the Dead.” It was written by the great Indian Buddhist Master, Padmasambhava, who some Tibetans say was the reincarnation of the Buddha. We are afraid of death because we have not yet achieved enlightenment and therefore associate with and identify ourselves with ignorance and spiritual darkness. Only when we know firsthand who we truly are – will the fear of death disappear. This is why meditation and prayer and compassion are vital to our spiritual awakening process.

  3. Empowered Soul Blog » Carnival of Truth #3 said,

    December 9, 2007 @ 2:14 pm

    […] CJ presents Facing our fear of death posted at SpiritualInquiry.com. This article reminded me how important it is to let go of attachment – even the attachment to life itself. […]

  4. Patricia - Spiritual Journey Of A Lightworker said,

    December 10, 2007 @ 6:15 am

    Thank you for the reminder that it is our attachments that make death so fearful and so sad when we have a loved one who dies.

  5. Administrator said,

    December 10, 2007 @ 5:01 pm

    Thank you for your feedback Patricia. Dealing with the death of a loved one is very difficult. There is a story in Buddhism of a mother who was unable to accept the death of her son and went to the Buddha for a way to bring him back to the life. The Buddha said that to do this he would need some mustard seed, but that this seed must come from a household untouched by death. As the woman went from house to house, she was unable to meet this requirement, and thus realized that death is a natural part of life, and was thus able to accept her son’s death.


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