As human beings, the fear of physical death is our largest innate fear.
Even if we are seemingly rational, intelligent, and have emotionally worked through a lot of our material from early childhood and beyond we have this fear.
This fear is entirely natural– we are here on Earth for a short period of time, and as we grow older the realization that this is likely an even shorter period of time than once thought sets in. Maybe it is due to a medical diagnosis, or for the first time having family members, friends, or acquaintances no longer be amongst us.
When we come into direct realization that we, or the people who surround us, are not always going to be present with us physically it can cause this fear to go into overdrive.
Most of us have no idea of what happens after death, and this combined with this innate fear of our own physical demise has created an opening for new-age “gurus”, authors, and teachers to attempt to placate this fear for their own purposes.
The response to this fear needing to be placated has allowed three types of gurus to emerge:
1. The guru who says that we can become immortal. If we only eat right, think right, act right we can do so… we can prolong our physical existence to the point of immortality.
This guru type will typically either be focused on one of two things: that either we die because we “think we are going to die” and if we didn’t think such dire, negative thoughts we wouldn’t die… or
That if we only ate perfectly and learned some “tool of the ancients” that said guru has come up with (which is generally focused on functional nutrition or brain-based nutrition that has only been around for 10-20 years) that we will become immortal. This is typically shown through said gurus “cheating” of death through some sort of prognosis of physical death on their part with only months to live and them now supposedly in perfect health.
This above is typically done, however, with no doctor, lab reports, or anything of actual substance to back up their claims of imminent death, by the way.
2. The Near-Death Experiencer who tells us that Death is all about light and love.
As someone who has had a near-death experience I can tell you that death, for most people, is an incredible release. There is a lot of light. And in fact, there is love.
So why am I mentioning this one? It is because many of the teachers and gurus who emerge in this category are sincere, they really are. Might they be overstating a few things, sure. And there are many near-death experiencers who do not have the “light and love” experience. But those types don’t generally get book deals.
I have no doubt that the experiencer of such a difficult thing as a near-death experience has logically created a story upon return that allows for them to make sense of such a trauma. Might their experience have been wonderful, sincere, and full of heart? Yes, it likely was. But there are also cultural expectations of near death experiences and experiencers by this point, and the near death experience itself has become hyper-focused on that “light and love” experience to the exclusion of everything else.
This means that the near death experience has been commoditized and people are willing to listen to these gurus to alleviate their own fears around death. And so the near death experiencer hyper-focuses on the “love and light” aspects of the experience, possibly creating illusions on top of the experience to fulfill their own expectations, societies expectations, and the “love and light” communities expectations of such an experience.
Death experiences can be an experience of beautiful light, of peace, of well-being, of release of stress, trauma, a realization that all things will be okay… of that I have no doubt. But where are the people who mention how difficult it is to transition back into human form? Where are the people that talk about how 3-5 years after the person comes back are the highest rates of suicides? About the depression and inability to integrate back into the world? About how hard it is to function realizing that this world, in our “meat suit” is full of stress and struggle? Where are the people talking about how to integrate these experiences into the life of the person who returns? Where are the people talking about how this knowledge can help us live a more embodied experience on Earth?
They are nowhere to be found. This myth is pervasive to the point that after my near-death experience I went to a group focused on supporting people who had such experiences to receive help for the difficulties I was having. The speaker went over how great she was because she was saved by dolphins and then proceeded to talk about how special she was and how she was the “chosen one” to sell her book. (The chosen one is a common mythical element taken up by new-agers in support of selling themselves to the public).
The rest of the group sat around after and I was reminded of addicts talking about their last high. The gleam in their eye, the talks of “ascension” and being without a body. None of these people wanted to talk about integration, or being alive, or being in human form… like addicts they all wanted to talk about chasing the high of the “light”.
3. The Psychic or Guru who says they know everything about Death, or what happens after Death
This is a popular one. Anyone who says that they know everything about the cosmos should be a complete and total warning sign when looking for a teacher of any sort. Nobody knows everything about everything. If they say that they do they are lying.
The Universe is a big place. A lot of things happen in the death process. For one person to come forward and state that they are a Medium and so know everything about death, or for a parent (one particularly atrocious example I am thinking of) to after the death of their child think they are communicating with them and bring forward their “messages” which are repeats of old Osho sayings (when the kid was not very educated in life) to convey what it is like to be dead is such an example of this capitalizing on fear of death. But people love this sort of stuff.
The idea that someone knows and can tell them exactly what happens after death is incredibly comforting. It soothes this fear.
But like all fears we recognize on some level that what we are being given is like being given a single potato chip. The author/teacher/guru must come up with new realizations, new books, new sayings in order to further state what death is like. And this will placate those who choose to believe in it for a little bit longer… until that fear begins to arise again.
Because on some level, no matter how illogical or emotional we are over the subject we realize that this one person doesn’t know everything about death, and what they are saying is just meaningless fluff.
So we go on to the next piece of fluff, or the next teacher that will tell us exactly how it is to placate us a little further.
No matter who we are or how in tune we are the Universe is a big place. Gurus can construct illusions out of their grief to capitalize on this fear of death, they can state that they know everything, but deep down people still realize that death is an unknown variable.
So when you see these illusions, these creations of teachers and gurus I hope that you will question them. Would you really want to become immortal? Do you really think that every single near-death experiencer who gets a book deal repeating the same rhetoric (in some cases word for word pretty much) is all that happens in the death experience? Do you really think that a grief stricken mother is actually talking to a young kid who somewhere in the death process suddenly gained fifty IQ points and the hugely expanded ability to comment on everything about the death process in trendy new-age syllogisms? Do you believe that any one person can understand everything in the Cosmos?
If you are able to see beyond this sort of constructed reality that plays towards placating our deepest fears you can move beyond it. In the next blog, I will discuss how to move past the fear of death and reconcile your life on Earth.