I wish I had run across this earlier.
Yes, fear of death is not easy, but to start, consider WHY you fear death so much. Is it not because you love this life so much? Obviously, if you did not love this life, why would you fear it ending? There are other reasons we will get to, but the simple realization is, “I love this life and do not want it to end… ever!”, and you thereby fear death. You are, in a sense, right to fear death, but you can learn to transform that fear into something amazing. Notice, I am not saying you can “overcome” the fear, but rather, transform it which is a whole different approach, no?
First try to change your perspective and reflect on the fact that you share this love of life with almost ALL living beings. (I say “almost all” because some are caught in truly horrible situations and take their own lives. I pray none of you are in that bad a situation and if you are, please find a way out!) I want you to live, I want you to be happy! You don’t know me, I don’t know you, but I love you and want you to be happy. I hope that provides some relief. If you can generate this feeling for others, you will find that it changes everything, including the way you relate to the certainty of death. Work hard to cultivate this mindset: I want to live, I want happiness as do all beings. They are exactly like me in this regard, so we are brothers and sisters in that desire.
Next, another good reason to fear death is the extreme mystery of it. What happens when we die, after the obvious pain and weirdness of it? The truth is, nobody on Earth knows or has ever known, regardless of our various religious faiths. Death is the ultimate mystery. Normally, most of us love a good mystery, but not one that has no solution! That is such an offense to our conceptual minds and sense of self… “You mean, I don’t get to find out BEFORE it happens what is going to happen? Really?”
That’s it, boom! You do NOT get to find out. Nobody has ever had that privilege. Of course, you will know after you die if there is an “afterlife” or whatever, but you know, until then, you have to learn to live with this mystery or mysteries.
Similarly to the way recognizing that (most) all beings love this life, ALL beings are burdened with facing down and living with this mystery. ALL of them, without exception. So, again, change your perspective and see this not as a personal burden, not a cosmic offense against YOU, but a burden of the human condition. It unites you with all living creatures, those we see and those we have never seen. It’s beautiful, is it not, when seen from this perspective?
Finally, try to sit with your fear without distraction and feel it’s raw energy and intensity. Then, start to breathe slowly and deeply and focus your mind on that. In short, learn to meditate “on death” by calming yourself down as you stare it down. Try not be let yourself become distracted, try not to think about anything else. In fact, you need not think of anything at all. Just FEEL the energy, feel the intensity.
If you can do this once and survive, you can do it again. And again. And again. Eventually, you will find that you can “stay with it” for longer and longer periods of time. Eventually the energy of death will lose it’s intensity or at least you will get used to it. Like anything, look at it again and again without distraction, and it becomes almost boring! What I suggesting here is not easy, but if you want to deal with your fear and anxiety in relation to death, this is the way to do it.
I hope this has been of some benefit to some of you or others who might trip across this thread. Please remember, it is a miracle that we are born! It’s beyond comprehension how this can be happening, yet it is! Rejoice in this miracle and try not to see death as some tragic part of the bargain. It’s nothing new and it’s not personal. It’s just the way it is, so what?