Afraid of dying? Afraid of living!

by Edward B. Toupin

Over the years, I've heard many people voice their concerns of death and dying. It wasn't that they had any maladies that would cause them to die any time soon, but they were "afraid of their own immortality." The basic idea of death, or the potential of death, created a mind-numbing fear that, in some cases, forced them into isolation to avoid anything that could increase their chances of dying.

Although this might sound like a gruesome topic, it is important, as one of the most common situations associated with a fear of dying is actually a "fear of living." One fears death because they've not learned how to live. They are afraid that there won't be enough time to live a full life and in the process waste the time worrying about not living. Believe it or not, this is more common than you might think.

One of the other, underlying, reasons for fear of death is the ingrained parental voices of society and religion that, indeed, we will perish in the afterlife. One needs to evaluate the realities of their spiritualism to ensure that those beliefs provide comfort and support throughout life. However, why must one examine spiritualism externally since we are our own gods and our own spiritual essence?

From some of the situations I've noticed in my work and studies, many of my clients, and others, have a distinct belief in something outside that creates their essence --- or on which their essence is based. By believing and honoring this "thing", "being", "organization", etc., they feel as though they are part of something greater. It also provides them with "softer answers" to the "larger questions" --- otherwise known as faith. Indeed, there are no soft answers and it is in those realities that we can grow and eliminate fear.

Of course, I can't blame these individuals for feeling and believing the way they do as their ideas have been handed down over the generations by society and religion. If these ideas were to be ripped from them, it would throw them into a whirlwind of confusion and instill hatred that they were misled all these years.

It is seen by society that control is easier to maintain on fearful "lost sheep", or "cattle", that have faith in a supreme being --- "authority". If people believe in themselves and their own internal gods and spiritualism, then they no longer belong to a group and can no longer be swayed to the will of those in power.

In fact, by allowing people to believe, and teaching such beliefs, in their inner gods and spiritualism, they do indeed belong to a group --- a much larger group consisting of everyone and everything --- this instead of segregating groups by concocted, shaky, and fear-inducing beliefs. Could this be the answer to many of today's problems? Instead of pointing to a multitude of greater beings and dictating what these beings tell each group of believers simply to create a rift at the political and religious levels, perhaps by believing in oneself as the creator and understanding that we are all creators that the turmoil might decrease or desist.

Of course, that would eliminate the separations of political and belief-based organizations. Of course, this could also eliminate the desire to move forward in life as the idea of competition on many levels would change. Instead of working to win, become rich, and attain power, we would work for the betterment in ourselves, of ourselves, for each other, and to increase our own internal power.

The idea of using external influences and deities is primarily based on one's belief system and as such is necessary for many to establish a spiritual side. As noted, it is easier to offload one's own responsibilities and destiny on to a faith-based entity than to accept that we choose and define our own destinies. But, to resolve, it is essential to replace that belief with a sense of reality; however, that is a slow and laborious process that will take centuries to unravel as it took centuries to instill.

In the long run, your internal beliefs and desires are the only things that can provide you with a life of wonder and excitement that overshadows the inevitability of death. As they say, the two things you can count on are "death and taxes." So, such circumstances are inevitable and cannot be avoided. Therefore, they should not be planned into your life! Taxes will happen every year on April 15th and death will occur when it occurs. But, sitting and waiting in the interim for the "inevitable" won't make it go away, nor will it make it easier to manage. Life is the only thing that you have control over, so your only options are, sit quietly and die inside until your physical death catches up to you. Or, you can live life to its fullest and not worry about what will happen in 40 or 50 years. Just worry about how well you can live right now and create something solid for the "memory banks."

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