How I escape the fear of death.
I believe even the bravest man in the world fear of death. In fact, death itself is not terrible, but the process of death is torturing. We must leave everything when our life comes to end. The one you love, your property, your reputation and your body will vanish at that moment.
What’s terrifying us is no one knows about the afterlife. Where will we go after we die? Do we really have a soul? What happens to our consciousness after death? No one can give us an accurate answer. It is an unknown and we are so far from the truth.
What I did on my early journey is that I escape discussing about it. I know it would happen anyway but I reject to think about it because I hate the feeling of helpless and impotent. After I start learning about Buddhism, it provides me a better mindset to face death with calm and peace. Let me share you.
Imagine you are looking at the ocean, you observe that each wave has their own beginning and end. You compare them with other each, you find out some are more or less beautiful, higher or lower, longer or lasting. But, if you look deeper, in essence, those waves are water.
While living the life of a wave, we also living as water. We like the waves that don’t know we are water, thought one day we will arrive the shore then die but in fact, we merely back to water. Therefore, there is nothing terrible about death. We only go back to our own nature.
If this sound too abstract to you. Consider the view of Zhuang Zi, a Taoist, about the truth of death. When his wife died, his friend visits him and saw he was sitting on the ground and singing. His friend was confused that why Zhuang Zi was unfeeling to his wife.
He explained that being affected doesn’t change the truth. Then, he continued stated that at the very beginning, she was not living. But, somehow nature brings life to her and by further change, now she is dead. The whole process is just like the change of four seasons. Why we must weep and wail if this is the law of nature?
Therefore, we should face death like we face the change of weather. This mindset is similar to the perspective of stoicism about death. In Enchiridion written by a well-respected Stoic, Epictetus, remind us that always remember the nature of the things we love.
Embrace the truth that it’s not going to be there for you forever. We create a sense of likeness toward them, but it shouldn’t turn back to hurt us. For example, you like the cup you use to drink coffee every day. Then, you should keep in mind that, if it is made of glass, then it will break eventually. When it really happens, we won’t feel distressed because we know this is how nature works.
Furthermore, he suggests us to apply this mindset to your family and even yourself. The aim is not to be emotionless, but free ourselves from the wrong mindset.
Death is a big topic which related to every living being in the world. There is no a correct answer about it. We should develop our own view and keep refining it until it fits best to our purpose. My own philosophy about death is the mixing of these 3 perspectives from Buddhism, Taoism, and Stoicism.
How about you? How do you guys view about the truth of death? Share with me!