Fear of Death
Here is a great experiment I shared in the free Mastery of Meditation newsletter a few months ago. I think it is worth doing by all of us, as it helps us overcome the fear of death and in the process teaches us how to live.
Overcoming the Fear of Death
I want to share with you all today an extraordinary excerpt for the great teacher J. Krishnamurti on death and why we fear it. In addition, I want to suggest for you a particular experiment on death, which I feel was incredibly helpful in helping me in my own spiritual evolution and I am sure which you be of great value to you as well.
This experiment, which I call the Death Experiment will help you understand what the spiritual masters have been trying to teach you about living moment to moment, and will give you a taste of the freedom that comes with such enlightened living.
First is the excerpt from Krishnamurti from his book “Think of These Things”, and following that is the experiment he proposes for you and my thoughts on it.
Questioner: What makes us fear death?
J. Krishnamurti’s Reply:
Do you think a leaf that falls to the ground is afraid of death? Do you think a bird lives in fear of dying? It meets death when death comes; but it is not concerned about death, it is much too occupied with living, with catching insects, building a nest, singing a song, flying for the very joy of flying. Have you ever watched birds soaring high up in the air without a bear of their wings, being carried along by the wind? How endlessly they seem to enjoy themselves! They are not concerned about death. If death comes, it is all right, they are finished. There is no concern about what is going to happen; they are living from moment to moment, are they not? It is we human beings who are always concerned about death – because we are not living. That is the trouble; we are dying, we are not living. The old people are near the grave, and the young ones are not far behind.
You see, there is a preoccupation with death because we are afraid to lose the known, the things that we have gathered. […]. We don’t want to leave the known; so it is our clinging to the known that creates fear in us, not the unknown. Th unknown cannot be perceived by the known. But the mind, being made of the known, says, “I am going to end,” and therefore it is frightened.
Now, if you can live from from moment to moment and not be concerned about the future, if you can live without the thought of tomorrow – which does not mean the superficiality of merely being occupied with today; it, being aware of the whole process of the known, you can relinquish the known, let it go completely, then you will find that an astonishing thing takes place.
Try if for a day – put aside everything you know, forget it, and just see what happens. Don’t carry over your worries from day to day, from hour to hour, from moment to moment; let them all go, and you will see that out of this freedom comes an extraordinary life that includes both living and dying. Death is only the ending of something, and in that very dying there is renewing.
Overcoming the Fear of Death – My Thoughts:
So the last paragraph is the experiment put forth by Krishnamurti that I want to you to try for 1 full day. Here are 3 things you should try to do during this day.
1. STOP WORRYING ABOUT EVERYTHING:
This is the key. Just stop worrying… completely. Don’t worry about anything. Drop all your worrying, fretting and obsessing about the future and past. Leave everything to life and put yourself in her care. Just tell yourself whatever issues come up in the future, you will deal with them then.
Worrying is not just a huge waste of precious energy, it is the also one of the activities that binds you to psychological time and prevents you from cherishing the moments of your life. Worrying creates other problems as well, such as stress, suffering and fear, so just for this one day let it all go and live without any worry to see what happens. I assure you it will be quite a liberating experience.
Here is an article and Zen story that delves deeper into the concept of time and living in the moment more: The Zen of Time Management.
2. GO WITH THE FLOW:
Throughout this one day experiment, go with the flow of life completely. Just doing what needs to be done and allowing life to carry you forward. Don’t try to control or manipulate the day, just relax and go with it. Do the task that is presented to you and just let yourself be simple and spontaneous.
3. DROP YOUR SELF-IMAGE:
For this one day, don’t try to live according your who you think you are. Don’t be anything at all, in fact just be nobody. Drop all that you know about yourself and just be empty, letting your natural personality and self come through. Don’t try to live according to all the beliefs and ideas you have been conditioned with, instead drop them all and just live innocently from moment to moment.
Overcoming the Fear of Death – Summary:
The object of this experiment is to completely break away from the past and future. Dropping all that you know and all that you are trying to become. This is the art of dying while still living. This is how to be free of the fear of death. This is the way to the Now – into the unkown, where resides Truth and God. So for this 1 day I want you to experience what that is like, and it may very well lead you to living everyday just like that :-).
Here is an article on advanced insight meditation, which challenges the fiction of psychological time and helps you break free from it instantly and explosively: How to Attain Enlightenment.
Fear of Death
This article is wonderful. This has brought immediate change about my perception/attitude on fear of death.Your service to commom man is wonderful.May God bless us all.
Another technique to help you deal with the fear is the Cat|Cow pose for deep seated fears including death. I have provided the link for your ease.
Yoga for Overcoming Deep Seated Fears
Wishing you all the best,
This blog is such a find! I’m glad I ran across it! I have been working on my fear/questioning of death. One thing that I have tried to do is to allow myself to die in dreams. Usually I wake up but once I was successfully able to die. In my dream death felt like I was sink into plastic and everything closed up around me, but there was still light. I was a little nervous and afraid but okay.
What I fear more than death is the pain associated with death. I guess the only way not to fear pain is to experience it? Not sure.
you say such wise words anmol, what you sayed was really life changing to me :) thank you