‘Every fear is fear of death.’ ~Stekel
The most taboo subject in our culture is death. People speak about almost everything, except death. The fear of dying is our deepest fear, but one has to wonder why this is so, since death is a natural process of life, just like birth is. Everything that is born is bound to die, and yet we seem not ready to accept the reality of death.
Life is a flux. Everything changes: we change, our friends change, our possessions change, everything that we know of changes. Only one thing does not change: change itself. Now this creates a problem to us. We don’t like change because we are deeply afraid of the unknown. We easily get used to things and don’t want to let go of them. We are attached to our possessions, friends, job, and our whole lifestyle. So the moment we come to face any big change in our life, we are so shocked we feel like we’re losing ground under our feet.
To leave the old behind would mean to destroy our very selves, the ego or identity we have created after a long time of effort and pain. And this happens even for relatively little things in life, so imagine how one would react if he knew that he will die in a short time. He would be utterly shocked. But whether we want or not, this is how life is – sooner or later everything that we know of will pass away into infinite nothingness.
What is alive is subject to illness, old age, and death. The more we are living, the closer we are approaching death, so looking at death from that perspective, death is intimately connected with life. In fact, life could not be if there was no death – death always makes way for life to be. It is just like leaves on a tree – the old leaves fall from the tree so that many new leaves can flower in the future. But the leaves don’t seem to be worried about it, they simply follow the Tao, the way of life. Humans are the only beings that have problems with letting go of themselves and floating with the river of life. But as we have seen, this creates tremendous anxiety within them.
If we want to be truly carefree and relaxed, we need to face death, our deepest fear. And once we do so, our life will be totally transformed.