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The Fear of Death and Freedom of Living

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posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 02:16 PM
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Pondering upon this for some time, I've meditated on the subject of dying. But not just dying, the concept of death itself, and it came to me that human beings have a tendency to have an irrational fear of dying. Religious individuals not so much. Christians have their Heaven, Muslims have their Paradise, Buddhists have our rebirth. Atheists are somewhat left out in the cold, with a persistant view of death as an eternal slumber, the moment when you go to sleep never to wake up again (although this is not definitely true, as Buddhism is technically atheism, albeit spiritual atheism).

But that idea, that our minds are like computers, and bodies like machines, does a tremendous disservice to who we are. Once you remove the magick, the spirit, and the wonder from all things, they became nothing more than a flash in the pan, and we, like robots, ragdolls which are pushed and pulled by the ebb and flow of existence.

There are those sorts of people who tell us these things. "We're born, we live, we die, and it's game over. You just go black for all eternity."

Firstly, that sort of person is whom you need to watch out for. They're saying something about themselves. Secondly, it's illogical and, dare I say, has no science to back it up.

We are conscious, exhibiting curious behavior that makes us unique expressions of this whole thing, everything, the universe or God, whatever name you want to ascribe to it. All of this is you. Every person is you, roles in a magnificent play called life, but as an actor can only play one part at a time, so you must experience this wholeness one at a time.

In being consciousness, there's no end to you, because there's no end to the Universe. How can one go to sleep forever, when you never woke up to begin with? Your state is an awakened one, but an aware one? That's different. Are you aware that you cannot be ended, as you never had a beginning?

Long ago, when men and women were living in caves and huts, drawing from the land for food, the name of the game was survival. We were primitive, barely thinking and rather bestial. As we went from a survival state to a tribal state, then to an agrarian state, building fortified walls to keep us safe and subsequently installing further measures, guards which later became policemen as cities expanded further and further and the need for higher security arose.

I reflected upon this, and realized that, although we feel like we left our primitive survival nature behind, it still lingers, despite having become highly evolved, both physically and mentally. The very idea that we still must survive is an outmoded form of thinking, one that we don't need anymore.

Once realized, death no longer becomes the period on the end of our sentence, but the beginning of a new adventure, a new set of experiences in a lifetime that we may either make our Heaven or our Hell, or somewhere in between. Death isn't something we must mourn. After all, do we mourn when the sun sets and our day turns dark? Do we mourn when it rains, or snows? Do we mourn when the tide rolls out?

Certainly not, as the sun will rise again, the rain and snow will cease, and the tide will come back. We may lose someone we love, but if we know that theirs is a body of flesh and bone that will pass on, as even the most beautiful flowers shall wither and die, then we will not feel sad, but instead rejoice in the wondrous cycle of life and death we all must ride, until we become awakened from inherent existence.

The greatest thing of all of this is the truth of death: It is only an illusion, as is the fear of it, as fear is an illusion that inhibits us from being who we were fully and truly meant to be.

All things pass, all of this will too. This is what in Buddhism we call samsara, the impermanent nature of things. Then see what happens, if all of us no longer fear death, whether for ourselves or our loved ones.

We would no longer need war, as we will not fear our enemies. We will no longer be pressured by authority to keep us safe with draconic laws, as we won't need them. The ways of old are done and gone, and we have reached such a high place in the chain of evolution, that survival is no longer the name of the game.

The rules of the game no longer include fear, revenge, judgement, divisiveness, hatred, and loathing. Instead, the rules are up for us to make. The pieces of a chess board are forced to move in such a way that is given to them, because we think that's the way it is and the way it will always be.

But a game of chess with no rules at all? Why, that's the best kind of chess of them all.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts, from theists and non-theists alike.
edit on 6-1-2012 by ManjushriPrajna because: Typo corrected.




posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 02:38 PM
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I once heard someone say something like this..

"Those that are afraid to die, shouldn't have been born"

That sentence stuck with me, because it's true. Dying is as natural as life, but it lasts much longer.

I might regret saying this, but pondering about death and the afterlife is useless and counter-productive. It's like watching an episode of MacGyver while you're on a date with the potential love of your life. You're concentrating on something that's on its 1000th re-run, while you don't give any attention to something that may be the most important that's ever happened to you. Bad analogy, but I hope it made my point.



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 02:43 PM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


The afterlife maybe, but contemplating upon death and dying is one of those things we all should do, if we desire to really get down to brass tacks and analyze just what living really means.



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by Droogie

"Those that are afraid to die, shouldn't have been born"



i rather think this sentence shouldnt have been possible to write

u clearly refer to a will for others to b, which by itself is enough reason to justify fear

while existence when seen being true, any fact is never from a will but exclusively a fact existing, so anyone is as everything at its right place to b while all to himself everything that matter really then, since nothing else could appear to any more true then himself fact



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 03:33 PM
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reply to post by ManjushriPrajna
 


Then I'm afraid we're getting into semantics, because you use words that may easily be replaced by others. Isn't pondering about life while we live it just the same as what you propose? Can you define death without life? Besides, when your're dead, the obituary doesn't talk about your death or afterlife, but rather what you were like and what you did when you were around. I think this is a concern only reserved to the vain.

The afterlife is of no relevance to the living, because ultimately, we all end up in the same place. The grave. That's the only thing we most certainly have in common. Additionally, I think the only thing we should be worrying about is living life true to oneself, as per my previous thread's main message. The Top Five Regrets of the Dying


...Death isn't something we must mourn.


This actually made me think of something amusing. In the series 'Babylon 5', a centauri found the human traditions of marriage depressing as they celebrated with joy and enthusiasm. Inferring that their race had the opposite traditions of marriage and burial ceremony's than we do.



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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In Buddhism, we're taught that contemplation and meditation upon dying is beneficial to our lives as we walk on our path, not only because it helps us understand how important life is, yet how short it is, and how we should make good with what time we're allowed in this life, and secondly, so that we can understand the process of dying. This way, when we are faced with our own demise, we may remove the fear, avoid clinging onto our physical bodies, and be at peace, allowing a better rebirth.

The Venerable Thubten Chodron made a good point I think needs referencing here, from one of her books, saying that when a person dies, they don't regret the small stuff like "I wish I had worked more hours." Instead, they regret the big things. "I should have spent more time with my family." This contemplation and meditation upon the process of death is a look into what that must feel like. What would we feel, if we were, right at this moment, faced with our death? What would we regret? Then we may realize what's important, and seek to avoid regretting anything at all.

As for the third point, I do find it curious that even Christians cry longingly, and mourn for days, if not weeks, over the death of a loved one. The atmosphere at a typical funeral is grim, and heavy. But why? Their bodies no longer function, their heart has stopped beating, yet their mind continues. Even if you don't believe in rebirth, their memory still remains, and brings us a peace and serenity in the passing away of someone we cared deeply about.



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by ManjushriPrajna
 


Peace be upon you, and thank you for the wonderful OP. I see some of Sakyamuni Buddha's wisdom freely flowing through your words. I agree with nearly the entire opening post.

As you have discussed the natures of interconnectedness, impermanence, codependent coarising, emptiness, lack of separate self, and even shared consciousness, I do disagree with you in only one regard. You said, "that sort of person is whom you need to watch out for." We can not assume the intents of another's heart, therefore it is unwise to be cautious or suspicious of others based on preconceptions or expectations incited by some. Do not allow prejudices to take root. Each moment is a moment for new experience. Though it may be mentally exhausting, we must strive to observe each 'individual' person for who they are. See each person for their individual expression of infinity, and see the All within each individual.

Pondering death and impermanence allows me to truly treasure 'Now.' For there is only 'Now,' and to stray from the present moment is to waste experience. Pondering death allows me to conquer fear. Pondering death reminds me to take no one and no thing for granted. Pondering death helps me to mindfully live.

Thank you again for the wise and beautiful thread. Peace and Liberation to us all!



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 04:50 PM
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reply to post by ManjushriPrajna
 


Agreed, I have no fear of dying whatsoever anymore. I made my peace a while ago, I think I would like to do some more nice and decent things before I die though.



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 04:57 PM
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reply to post by TheMindWar
 


of course u have no fear of dying since u dont care about anything right for meaning what is wrong as normal thing, the absurd adage that everyone like u agree upon, living is of death and dying is for life

death is nothing to fear unless there are monsters in nothing space, but death even to nothing is absurd when u obviously r not nothing, after becoming nothing u r not there to pounder anymore that issue

but fear is of being killed not death, especially with all dirty stuff options to die through and all wide options of dirty hands upon oneself that can really kill in extreme hell ways while nothing will stop that disgust of hierarchy reversed



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 05:08 PM
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reply to post by ManjushriPrajna
 


What you're talking about is generally what every dying person is thinking, as per my previous thread. I mention this because it touches alot on the topic. I don't think it needs much "contemplation" or "meditation", I just think people need to be aware that they live, and there will invariably be regrets. But as long as they live life true to themselves, they can be at peace and content with their decisions when they meet their demise.
edit on 6/1/12 by Droogie because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 05:22 PM
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reply to post by ManjushriPrajna
 



"In Buddhism, we're taught that contemplation and meditation upon dying is beneficial to our lives as we walk on our path.......


Nice follow-up reply.

When we truly come to terms with the FACT of death.... when we really understand it and accept it, death is no longer a heavy cause of suffering. On the other hand, remembering death allows us to better appreciate others.

Will this situation matter when I'm laying on my death bed? Then it should not matter now. Contemplating death helps us to conquer anger, stress, worry, regret, disappointment, fear, depression, sorrow, and even ego.

Pondering death means to truly understand death in its formless state. Contemplating death isn't a longing for death. It is not wanting death. To know death is to know life.



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 05:43 PM
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Originally posted by absolutely
reply to post by TheMindWar
 

death is nothing to fear unless there are monsters in nothing space,


There are. I have met them. Fear away good fellow. Now you know what's coming for you.



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 06:59 PM
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reply to post by The1Prettiest1One
 


im the one that said it not u, so u go on fearing what is coming for u now and ever



posted on Jan, 6 2012 @ 07:40 PM
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reply to post by ManjushriPrajna
 



I love your post. I too have thought about this. You make sense to me.

I had a wonderful teacher and I am pasting a quote from his book here, it might help some of the others who are not sure about what your basic premise is about: The quote is from a book titled "A Guide To Awareness and Tranquillity" by William Samuel ( I have permission to post from his books)

"
IDENTITY DOES NOT DIE
Awareness will never experience non-awareness, death. The one who is already dead (not the one who appears to die) is the one who says, "Life is mine. God is MY life."
The "my" who says "mine" is the possessor, the liar from the beginning. This one can be loosed and let go here and now if one will simply, consciously, be what he is already. What is that? Unencumbered, unjudging, unpossessed, motiveless, opinionless Awareness ITSELF. No effort is necessary.
What is the activity of Awareness? To BEHOLD, WITNESS, SEE, ACKNOWLEDGE, LOVE and BE!
Does Awareness have authority to judge? Awareness is awareness, not an evaluator. It makes distinctions, not judgments. "This is a hickory tree," it says. "That is a mountain." It is the poor judge who agonizes over bad hickory trees.

*******************

THE CONDITIONS FOR "DEATH" ARE IMPOSSIBLE
"Death" is supposed to be the absence of Life. The dictionary says Life is "conscious existence . . . the vital force" of being. Death, then, is the absence of conscious existence, the absence of the vital force.
Well now! The vital force is a term denoting Isness being self-conscious; there is no other vital force in all existence. Before it could be absent, Reality would have to be absent. If "death" is intended to mean that this vital force has gone out of a body, we would have to picture a universe having areas (within inanimate bodies) where Reality is absent. Foolishness! "Lift a stone and I am there," said the Christ. "Cleave a Piece of wood and I am there!" He stated, referring to Identity. There is no spot where Isness is not, no place from which the vital force has or can exit. The conditions for death as "real" are impossible. Obviously, then, death is not what it is generally believed to be.
The "vital force" has never stopped being the Awareness reading these words, nor can it. Does this mean "I" will never appear to experience a funeral? It means Awareness will never be buried!
Does this mean the one I see buried has awakened from the misidentification? It means that appearing is included within this Awareness I am! This seeing is not "their" seeing. There is no seeing going on out there. What "this seeing I am" is ever experiencing is an event, divinely correct, pure and perfect in every respect, but in which there is neither good nor bad! And, because no value is there, no power is there.
One is tempted to be grieved at the "loss" of a loved one, but grief is the old man's self-pity, directly proportionate to the value he has given the image. Where is the value? In the Godhead, Isness, being all images. Tangible images are the infinite appearing of all-comprehensive Awareness in action.
"Tell us how our end will be," has been asked so often.
"Then you have found the beginning that you should wonder about the end?" Jesus asked in reply. This Awareness, right here, right now, is deathless. It never had a beginning. It is for us to identify as God's function, Life, and no longer to identify as a potty piece of poppycock that claims to contain Life within it, and then worries for fear it will lose it.

*******************

Awareness is embodied as the entire universe of "things," seen and unseen. It is not in anything, even the body that professes to have the eyes that do the seeing and the ears that do the hearing." (William Samuel)

*************

Anyway, thanks for the post--- I have a feeling that someday we will actually 'see' over to the 'other side' and then we know for a fact that no one dies. I think the more we understand, as you do, the 'thinner' the veil between this world and the 'other' gets. Just a gut intuitive feeling I have, I think its already happening.



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 06:42 AM
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Originally posted by absolutely
reply to post by The1Prettiest1One
 


im the one that said it not u, so u go on fearing what is coming for u now and ever


Hey, I quoted YOU, not me. Who's quoting now? Huh?



posted on Jan, 7 2012 @ 08:36 AM
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reply to post by Droogie
 


Regrets are a very powerful enemy that keep us locked in chains of nostalgia and sorrow. This too becomes an enemy at death. We must do what we can do learn from our mistakes, and piece the broken bits back together, otherwise when we are truly faced with our death, we may look bad and sigh sadly at what we should have done.

But we too must also remember that there is no going back. Lingering on the past will cause us nothing but grief in the long term. As the past is just a repetition of a particular wave of events that give rise to an illusion of memory, the present is all we can be.

Enjoy life, but ponder and reflect on death, and you will find a higher appreciation of life. Too often we ignore it, and when it shows up, we're not ready.



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