I am no longer afraid of dying. This was a huge step for me because I had been afraid of dying ever since I was a child, ever since I struggled to understand the reality and finality of death after my cat died.
Several years ago, I read that the best way to come to terms with the fact that you’ll die one day is to plan your own funeral. That way, the idea of your future death will become more real to you and, by confronting your fear of death, you will overcome it.
However, I wasn’t able to bring myself to do this. I shied away from facing my own death yet I felt frustrated that I couldn’t overcome this fear.
Meeting my true self
About a year and a half ago, I started going to yoga classes. At the end of the first session, I lay on the floor, eyes closed, in a deeply relaxed state known as shivasna.
In my mind’s eye, I saw my spirit as an eagle, soaring high into a sunny sky, dipping and diving, as it tasted true freedom. I felt the freedom and strength of being that eagle and knew that kind of freedom was what I wanted in my life.
I recognized my true self. I had connected to my soul or spirit or whatever you want to call it.
Since then, I’ve practiced getting in touch with my true self as much as possible through yoga, meditation, mindfulness and journaling.
Some days I’m able to let go of my emotional and mind-related baggage and connect with my spirit and taste that freedom again.
On other days, it’s harder and my true self seems to be hidden under the weight of many things like worries, fears, anxiety and the past.
Nevertheless, I know that my true self is different from my thoughts and emotions. My true self is strong and free. It sits silently deep within me watching and listening to everything that goes on in my head, my heart, and in the world outside.
When the realization that I was no longer afraid of death hit me, I realized it was because I knew my true self.
What is there to fear about death?
When I die, I know that my true self will live on and who knows what it will discover on the other side of death? I’ve connected with it enough to know that it will be good, or rather better than good.
The sense of love and peace I feel when I connect with my true self will surely be magnified when I die, so what is there to fear about death?
Living in alignment with my true self
This experience has made me realize that I need to live the rest of my life in alignment with my true self.
I need to do what my true self wants me to do rather than what society expects of me, what other people expect of me or even what I expect of myself in my head.
That’s not easy at all. Some days I feel as if I’ve been true to myself for at least some of the time and, on other days, I know I haven’t.
However, over time, I do feel as if I’m listening to my true self more by taking the time to look inward and get to know myself better. I do this by meditating, practicing yoga, writing a journal and reading and reflecting upon inspiring books.
It will be a lifelong journey but I’m glad I’ve embarked upon it. I feel liberated from my fear of death and this has freed me to live the rest of my life to the full, however long I have left on this earth.