I barely managed to drive myself to the ER as I was losing consciousness at every red light and mustered my mind power to keep me awake. Ever since then, I occasionally still get the idea and visual image of my death but not as bad. I have been able to push it aside and live life but it also has made me fearful as I now know that I can die at any moment. I am christian and yet I still fear death, most likely because my faith most likely isn't strong.
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The reason I am replying to your message is that I have regrets of a past that doesn't include me. Part of me has always felt as though I was born after my time and part of me has always felt as though I was born before my time. Life was simple and people had more knowledge on how to survive whereas today people lack that skill at least in the wild. I have also thought about how it would be cool to live forever, not because of the future or past not containing me but because I would like to see man from the beginning to the end.
I am not sure if my thinking is similar or common. But I have been trying to come to terms with my life and eventual death. There is nothing I can do about it now, we all die and it is a process, regardless of religious beliefs. I can only try to enjoy life, good, bad and all and I hope this way of thinking helps me as well as my new found concern about eating healthy and while I have never been fat or chubby, I am going to exercise despite still having knee pain. Just hoping I can make it work and won't know until I keep moving forward. My belief in the matter is that it revolves around consciousness.
As Dr Lickerman similarly shares, I enjoy being here, I enjoy being alive, and I do not want it to end. I do not want to imagine losing consciousness permanently. So I don't believe it's so much a fear of an existence that doesn't contain us, but more of our internal existence ceasing.
I think that if we were afraid of existence without us, we would not have to look far in our current world to see it. For example, there are billions of lives living around the world blissfully unaware of my very existence and not affected by it in any way. For the world to continue in the way that it does after my death is very little different from the way that some random death half way across the world doesn't personally affect me.
And I can accept that. And that scares the ever-loving! As uneventful and as unimportant as my life may be in the world, nothing is as important to me as my consciousness. When I die, the world will cease to exist from my perspective. And what could be more terrifying than the end of the universe?
Arachnophobia, although legitimately terrorizing many people, pales in comparison. There are 2 books that I have read that go a long way in making a case for the existance of life after death, both by Robert Grant. There is also the work of David Hawkins M. Then there is the work of Ian Stevenson who spent over 20 yrs researching children all over the world who met very strict criteria for having lived before.
And of course there is Dr. Brian Weiss who, formerly a Harvard psychiatrist, has written several books on his experiences with hypnotized clients who, after recalling a particular past life experience, recoverred completely from whatever they had sought help for.
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A transpersonal psychologist myself for the past 13 years and a self-psychologist for 12 years before that as well as a nurse clinician, I have been convinced in the reality of reincarnation by the many patients I have regressed who have gone on to experience similar healing, their disabling problems ranging from chronic pain of some type to life long anxiety or relationship problems. And I don't think it is possible to believe in reincarnation and not believe that we are all souls, in fact, we are primarily spirit, who take on bodies for specific reasons in order to grow and become worthy of the creator who gave us the gift of life.
We in the west are in the minority. Reincarnation was alluded to by Christ, and had been in the New Testament until the early Church decided to make it heresy so the flock would not have the luxury of believing in "another chance" to get it right. Fear of death comes from being too attached to this world and to the material.
We all experience loss of consciousness during deep sleep, and for many of us, anesthesia is an even better example. Very few of us remember much about infancy, but during it we were alive and conscious. In death we close one door so another can be opened. There is more evidence FOR life after death than the contrary, and my suggestion to anyone who wastes one moment of THIS precious but not ONE life, fearing its end, is to start reading.
Thanks for your comment. I'm familiar with much of the work done on reincarnation, especially the books by Brian Weiss. It does give me hope—and yet I find for me to believe at the level that will banish my fear of death I'm afraid I need my own subjective awakening to the eternity of life—or incontrovertible scientific evidence that life does continue. But then of course if we continue, the real question is what part of us continues? What, in essence, is our essence?
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It's not our memories. As pascal said we each have a "God-shaped hole" that we spend our lives trying to fill. Many people try "feel good" superficial "plugs" to fill up that hole using sex, drugs, money, food, sports as their God substitute. This never works, however. The only thing that fill that cavity is the one and only true God.
Getting to know Him through His written word in the Bible and through his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, are the only ways to relieve your anxiety. Start by reading the books of intellectuals who were once non-believers, C. Sproul and Josh McDowell, for example. There's no need to leave your brain at the door as you read their books or watch their videos. You can be discerning and critical and see for yourself if their arguments hold water or not. Read the Bible also so you will be aware of what Christ actually did and said.
Use His Word as a litmus test for all you hear about Christians and Christianity. Do not judge Christianity by its followers but by the life and words of Christ alone. You are an intelligent man. Use your intelligence to root out the marrow. Keep an open mind and go where the evidence takes you. I am nineteen years old and just recently came to the point that I realize that I will not exist consiously forever.
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Like Dr. Lickerman said, entertaining the thought and coming to grips with it are two entirely different things, and once you come to grips with this reality, you can't go back from it, it's impossible. I've noticed that many people who have the fear mention sleep as a way to imagine death, but unfortunately, it is not a way to cope, because everyone expects to wake up from sleep. I honestly feel bad for anyone who has had to rid themselves of their delusions, because life after that is never the same.
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It is not possible, either, to simply accept someone elses belief, although I wish it were that simple. Honestly, being able to live without this torment would be a blessing. I believe that the hardest thing about death to deal with is the fact that you can't live with the fear, but you can't accept dying.
And that tends to create suicidal tendencies in some people. I haven't found a way to cope yet, and I sincerely hope one of you who has would share. Denial is so much more comforting in this instance.
I could get on a religious aspect of it but you're right, you have to ignore the fear of death. Religion helps calm the fear of death by putting all your "faith" into an afterlife.
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My suggestion put it aside and remember that you're alive right now. You may not be tomorrow but you are today alive. I personally get an overwhelming anxiety when I think of the cold hard fact that I one day will never exist again. It is best not to think about it, otherwise your life seems so insignificant.
Just like everyone elses Thank you. Your response was very helpful and hopefully it will help me progress in overcoming my fear. I found this a very interesting read and share the feelings the overwhelming fear.