It is said that the death is one of the things we fear most in this life. It has also been said that there are three things that are absolutely guaranteed in life – change, taxes and death. So if death is one of the things we most fear, but yet also one of the things that is absolutely certain in our life, why do we fear death so much and how does that fear serve us?
- Why do we fear death?
This could be for a number of reasons – fear of judgement; fear of punishment for deeds done or not done; fear of leaving loved ones behind; fear of the process being painful; fear of not achieving all that we want to in life; fear of going to hell and/or the fear of the unknown. Or perhaps we fear something else entirely.There are a number of acronyms for the word fear, one that I resonate with the most is False Expectation Appearing Real. Fear most often arises from something that we expect to happen. Sometimes that reality will eventuate (and sometimes we can manifest that reality through our fear – but that’s another conversation for another day), but more often than not our expectation is not realistic. I am scared silly of spiders, but the truth is, unless I do something to provoke one, I am probably not going to be bitten. I can intellectualise that, but my emotions are a whole different scenario!!
When it comes to death, I would suggest that for a lot of people it is the fear of the unknown that is the greatest fear – we humans like to have an idea of what to expect. Then we can plan accordingly.
Fear holds us back on so many levels. And when it comes to death, it can stop us fully living, fully experiencing, fully being present in our lives and experiencing all the joy that our lives can offer.
One technique that is often used in counselling is catastrophising – basically you speak out loud working through the worst case scenarios of your fear. The speaking out loud is purposeful because when we actually hear ourselves speak the words we can realise that perhaps our fear is really not as realistic as we think that it may be. Or we realise that there is nothing that we can actually do about the possibilities, so why worry, why fear and give energy to something over which we have no control?
This is how I see fear of death. I am going to die. Over that I have absolutely no control. What more can I do other than to live a good life, living it consciously and generously with love for my fellow man and environment? Not much. Knowing that I am going to die gives me the gift of ensuring that I do live life fully as my time in this physical realm is limited, so I will make the most of what I have got, however long that may be.
- How does that fear serve us?
I ask how does it serve us purposefully as we only ever hold onto feelings because we ‘get’ something from holding on. If we didn’t, we would release them in a heartbeat. And often times we are attached to feelings because of stories that we have in our lives, whether they be from our experience or ones that we have adopted from others as our own.We all have our life stories, they are a critical part of what makes the fabric of us – the good, the not so good and the downright unpleasant. It’s also part of what connects us with others – sharing our stories. It’s what we do with those stories and how we allow them to impact our lives that is important.
Our stories can be empowering or disempowering, but often we don’t make a conscious choice around which they are. Have a think about the stories you share, that you tell yourself and that you tell the world. How do you feel during and after you’ve told these stories? Do you feel drained and tired or energised? Do you stories hold you back or move you forward?
My purpose with this blog is to encourage you to be more conscious in your life, to live it as fully as you possibly can. To think about your life and look at it honestly. If you fear death, ask yourself why and explore that. Then ask how that fear is serving you.
When we live consciously, that is when we can make choices that will allow us to know maximum joy, happiness, bliss, love, contentment and peace. And isn’t that what we all want?
With love to you, Sharon