The Fear of Fear of Death
I was Googling for Taoist views on substance abuse and addictions and came across this Taoist blog. We certainly are addicted to life, and while it is easy to pay lip service to the irreverence that the collective Tzu recommend, I personally prefer simply not to think about it. (Please note that this is not by any means an attack on the above blogger's opinions - I am just free-associating.)
By this I don't mean not to think about death, or not to acknowledge my fear of death, but rather not to dwell on my fear of death as being a problem.
Fear of death is natural; dog's fear death. Cats do too, so why should humans be any different?*
I used to think that I had to work to overcome my fear of death. I thought that by meditating long enough and hard enough I would become like the idealised men of the traditional texts who laugh in face of their impending demise.
Poppycock! These men are the stuff of mere legend - you can meditate until you forget you even have a body - but the moment some knife wielding psycho come careering through your window and lunges at your throat - you will fear death.
Or perhaps it is not the death we fear, but the pain of the knife slitting our throats, the discomfort and agony of the cancer slowly eating away at our bodies, the madness and loss of composure that often comes before our deaths - sometimes for years.
I think it perfectly reasonable to feel fear in these situations.
However, I believe that it is unhealthy to obsess over death during life. So my point is: enjoy life in a natural way, without overt concern over one’s impending demise, but release the fear of the fear of death. When your time comes, depending on the situation (you may die peacefully in your sleep or in a slow way whereby you maintain your faculties and repose yourself for the event – I’m not saying that can’t happen) you will feel what it is natural to feel – and this may very well be terror. Why kid yourself?
I could type on for hours about this but it is a broad topic so I will return to it later, possibly to consider the related topics of (what I call) the Christianity Hangover (I’ll explain later) and addictions and/or abuse of substances (a chapter of my life that I am closing the book on right now – or at least turning the page).
*In writing this I am sort of contradicting my own words in the main TCT manifesto, but this is Taoism: embracing paradox.
Flow Like Water...