I have talked in previous blogs about how the fear of death is the root of all fears, and when you overcome the fear of death, you become fearless. I have talked about how getting to know your true, eternal self is the way to overcome the fear of death. To get to know your true self, you must meditate. By meditating, you can detach from the ego, thoughts, and all distractions, and you are then left with your true self. However, today, I want to entertain and humour the idea of ‘What if death is the end?’. What if your physical death means the end of you?
Well, the first thing to do is to fully accept that your death is certain. The moment you were born, death was assured. Death and life are intertwined. Death is a part of life; you cannot have life without death, and you cannot have death without life. Life is a process, with birth being at one end and death at the other. Most people have not come to terms with their own death. In fact, most people actively avoid thinking or talking about death in general. As a result, people do not realise that a lot of their thoughts, actions and words come from a subconscious fear of death. When you fear death, you also fear life. You prevent yourself from doing what you want to do in life in favour of security and longevity. However, when you fully accept death, you will start to really live. You can see this whenever someone is diagnosed with a terminal illness, and they are told that they only have a few days, weeks or months to live. How do they react? They start doing things that they’ve always wanted to do. They tick things off their bucket list. They stop doing things that they don’t like doing. They start to really cherish every interaction with others. They drop all grudges and begin to forgive everyone that they have been holding anger towards. They make the most of every moment. This is all because they have been forced to come to terms with their own death. In this way, you know how alive someone is by how much they fear death. If someone has no negative views around death, they have come to terms with their own death, and they are not afraid to talk or think about death, they will be really living life. However, if someone is very fearful of death, they are almost dead from within, barely living, living only at the bare minimum.
So the first step is to fully accept that death is coming, and to accept that it can come at any moment. With this acceptance, what is there to do but to make the most of the present moment? There may or may not be a next moment so why waste the present thinking about the future, and why waste the present moment dwelling on the past? And why waste this moment doing something that you do not really want to do. With the full acceptance that you can die at any moment, you give yourself permission to be happy right here, right now. If this moment could be your last, why would you do anything but live from your heart and follow your joy? You begin to live so totally and fully. You take advantage of every possible opportunity life presents, and you ensure that you never have any regrets.
But if you have not fully accepted that you could die at any moment, you end up wasting your life dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, and you end up doing many things that you don’t really want to do and putting off doing things that you really want to do. You will have not yet mastered the art of living. You will not yet be grasping the opportunities life is presenting to you. And this is all so you can try to make your life more secure, safe, comfortable and predictable. This is the mind’s primary aim in life. But living your life according to the guidance of your mind comes at a great cost. You won’t ever consciously think about death until you are old, but by then you will have wasted your whole life. You will have gone your whole life without knowing true happiness, love, peace or joy, and so you will end up extremely regretful.
It is only people who aren’t happy that fear death. When you are happy and are always following your heart, it doesn’t matter to you if death comes in the next moment. You have made the most of life and there isn’t anything you would have done differently, so what is there to fear? You are so focused on the present moment and do not every worry about the future. And when death eventually comes, there will no longer be anyone there to feel fearful. But when you aren’t happy, when you live your life following your mind, you fear death because you fear dying without knowing how to live. You live in hope of one day being able to turn things around and really live, and so you hope death doesn’t come until you have learned how to live properly. So, really, you do not fear death itself, but you fear dying with regrets.
In truth, when you live from your heart, follow your joy, and are fully present, you will be aligned with the whole. You will realise your oneness with existence. With this realisation comes the remembering that you are eternal. When you know that there is no separation, you will know that you cannot die. Then you will never fear death. Therefore, even if you currently believe that your physical death means the end of you, just fully come to terms with it. Fully accept that death is certain and that it can come at any moment. With this acceptance, you will start living fully, and by living fully, you will, as a natural consequence, realise your oneness with existence and remember your eternal nature.