Sunday, May 8, 2016

Don't Be Afraid of Your Fear of Death (An Excerpt)

I talked a little about "scary" stuff back at the beginning, and that darn elephant is no doubt still in the room with us. Did you happen to notice that huge, quivering pink creature in the corner?  It's just our old companion, Fear.  
Fear is like a bad relation who shows up uninvited and moves in with you for an unspecified length of stay. Or just comes walking out of the guest room unexpectedly one morning, scratching his heinie and asking what's for breakfast. You don't want to have to feed him, but it's always hard not to when he moves in like that.  After all, it's only the human thing to do.
If I knew how much time I'd spent in my life fearing things that never happened, I would be stunned, I'm sure. It would be one of those statistics like how much time I've spent stuck in traffic, or what percentage of my life I've slept in total.  
At this point, I've probably spent years fearfully worrying about one thing or another. Yet when I think back on it, a good 98 percent of what I was worried about never came to pass. And if the other two percent did come to pass, it just kept right on passing without too much consequence—or even left me better off than before.
Sometimes, my fears were answered (especially if I was helping them along, as usual) or small fears came out of nowhere and suddenly became unjustifiably huge and seemingly insurmountable. But then even those dark, looming threats turned into something self-imposed and imaginary—not based on anything real. But Fear certainly can feel plenty real, especially when a fearful situation appears on the horizon ahead, or suddenly and unexpectedly seizes you by the neck.
Still, the one thing that has remained true at the end of all those fears is this:  At least nowin this momentI am still here (as well as can be expected) and things are okay. So I know those fears weren't as real as I am. And if you're with me now, reading this book, you are more real than those fears too. Yet even with this understanding, this wisdom of everything's being just the way it's supposed to be, it's still very difficult not to let fear rent space in my head.

It seems to be even tougher to accept that Fear has almost always been good for me, because it's forced me to take some action that I'd been needing to take for some time. That's actually been the most real aspect of fear in my life. Then, simply recognizing the actions that I needed to take helped deflate the fear, and actually taking those actions gave me relief and renewal, and often took me to a new level of consciousness that I had never expected to find in such a "dark" place.

I imagine I would've been afraid of my Near Death Experiences, if I'd known they were coming. But I didn't. Unless we're very old, or very ill, or find ourselves in a very dangerous place, I don't think we ever see a chance of it coming. In any case, it never serves us to make up scary scenarios about death. Instead, you might try inventing something based on my testimony, as long as we're making things up. Like there's a good chance you may not even know when death is happening, or feel it much when it does; or that it may come quickly, as a pleasant, or even amazing thing.  So, as usual, much of that preliminary fear is not necessary at all.   
Occasionally, however, fear really is necessary—especially if you're being chased by a bear, or, God forbid, by a crocodile. I hate that. Now that's real Fear. But if there isn't a bear chasing you, then what you really fear when it comes to death is probably just the “Great Unknown," and that's understandable too.

What has always been the biggest question when it comes to accepting an unknown? Will it be good or will it be bad—right?  Am I going to be better off after this or not?  I've got a very simple answer when it comes to this one particular unknown: From my personal experience you have nothing at all to fear, except the harsh, but temporary, discomfort we might all have to expect in such a case. In the larger context, your outlook is excellent. If you're in the midst of unpleasantness and pain, the moment immediately after your transition you will instantaneously feel greatcompletely free of any of the painful physical circumstances that led up to that moment. And, on top of that, if your spiritual condition is already good here, everything will be downright delightful "there." If it isn't, you'll have a chance to improve it, since that is always the nature of the process. So the answer to your big question, "Will I be better off after this?" Is this:  Yes,  you will.

Of course I can only speak from my personal experiences. But keep in mind that thousands and thousands of people have gone on the record on this matter, and report incredibly wonderful things after their transitions. In fact, more often than not they have reported ecstatic releases, joyful reunions, and transcendent surroundings. They have reported experiences of a miraculous nature.  
Yet there are some rather bad reports as well. For example, my third experience was much darker than my first, or my second. But I believe that was because I'd become more and more blocked from Love in my life, and was carrying almost nothing but self-centered fear.  In one way or another, I believe that's the case with anyone who has a dark, or in some way hellish, transition. My experience didn't last long enough for me to delve deeper into that darkness, thank God; but I do understand a little something about Hell, having definitely touched on a bit of it myself. 

If you're living in that kind of self-centered fear in this life that I was, without Love in your heart, you're probably living in a kind of hell already.  Hell, as compared to how nice life can be.  Heaven is an open-hearted world full of Love and light; Hell is a self-centered world without it.  It is always so.

Excerpted from the book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond —now available everywhere, but ask for it it at your local bookstore!