Fear of Death

123 QUESTION: What about a person who does not fear death for himself, but just for people he loves. In other words, can the fear of death be for other people?

ANSWER: This may easily be a projection. It may also be a reversal of the fear of life. If one fears life, certain other people may represent the security one feels lacking in oneself. One may fear loneliness, or lack of actual or irrational protection, by the loss of others. Just because these considerations are not faced – out of a sense of shame that one may really mourn, not so much out of love as out of self-concern – the fear becomes increasingly persistent and disturbing.

If you have the courage to look at all these possible emotions, after overcoming the initial reluctance, fear of the death of others will diminish; the bitter frightening aspect of it will disappear, and you can then look at the causes of your own helplessness. Attaching the fear, or other negative emotions, to where they really belong, rather than experiencing them in displacement, is always a relief.

But the work begins only then: finding why one fears life so much that one has to cling to others; why one does not use the inborn faculties to live fully and therefore no longer fear life or death. If you fear life, you must also fear death, whether you consciously experience it in incidents when your life is, or seems, endangered, or whether you fear the loss of others. Fear of coping with life can manifest as fear of the loss of a loved one. And so can fear of losing one’s life.

The approaching death of others triggers the reminder that one day death will come to the self, too. But this fear is still so hazy that one experiences it only through the other person. Only when an actual confrontation occurs can one really gauge whether or not one is afraid of dying.

This projection applies both to the fear of living alone and to the fear of one’s own death. Both of these indicate the same thing. All this would have to be investigated.

Wherever fear of life or confronting a certain problem exists, you will be disturbed by the fear of death in one form or another. Often the real root – in what respect fear of self and of life exists – cannot be recognized at once. It may manifest only by symptoms, and one has to look for these symptoms and investigate them for their significance.

Take for example one’s attitude to this Pathwork, professed and actual; one’s attitude to the opposite sex – again professed and actual; one’s reactions to current life circumstances – all this has to be looked at with a penetrating spirit of truthfulness.

When you can determine a fear of – or to use a more psychological term, resistance to – your innermost self, you can be sure that fear of death must exist in equal measure. And so does the fear of loving, of letting go of yourself in this great experience. Find it, see it in yourself, and you will have conquered a great deal. Of course, these words are directed to everyone.

It is also important to note that you are often misled in this respect because in your fantasy life these fears do not exist. You may deny the existence of the fears of loving and of self-surrender because you are acutely aware that you ardently desire this fulfillment and can experience it without inhibition in fantasy. You then believe that outer reasons are responsible for your incapacity to actually realize this fantasy life, and that these reasons have nothing to do with you.

But if you cannot realize this fantasy life, there must be an opposing current of fear in you that prevents the experience. To find it, to lift it out of hiding, is so very important. It is a vast step forward compared to the belief that one is free from obstructions while all the time they continue to exist underground.

Through this lecture, I have given you various avenues to explore the actual state of your soul regarding life, love and death. I showed that the conscious conviction and feeling about these three great forces may be only one side: the other side is applying awareness to unify opposing forces.

I showed the various symptoms by which the hidden, opposing currents can be detected. Discovering them is of the very greatest importance and may lead you out of a temporary bottleneck in your work.

QUESTION: Wouldn’t a fear of being left also account for the fear of losing dear ones?

ANSWER: Yes, this is what I said at first. The insecurity, the fear of having to confront life alone – hence the fear of life in pure form, once it is broken down and analyzed.

Where there is fear of life, there must be fear of love and of death. Where one of these fears exists, the other two must exist as well. When you establish this link within yourself, you are bound to experience growth, liberation, strength, confidence. It cannot be otherwise.


QA124 QUESTION: In regard to the fear of death, I am not aware of my own fear of death in the full sense. I am aware of my tendency toward suicide due to my inability to cope with life’s problems, which I now understand through this Pathwork. My question is in regard to my conflict concerning my mother and her death. On one hand, I think she is very old and ill, and death will be a relief for her. On the other hand, she fears death and clings to life, even though she says at times that she wants to go. I find that I cannot relinquish my desire to keep her and possibly help her in a way that may possibly open the way to a happier or better sphere than she does have. Considering her advanced age and her inability to do the Pathwork as I am doing it, is it possible for me to help her in a way that will really change anything for her at the time of her death?

ANSWER: Well, the only way you can do that is by letting go. If you can, in this respect, start to see your fear. I would say a similar answer applies to you as the one I gave on the subject of hardening of the brain arteries, where I said that this is a blessing.

Your cramped inner soul movement transmits itself so that the natural and organic process is clogged up or stopped. You both have a fear of the unknown. The idea that you think she could be in a better sphere by remaining here is, of course, completely unjustified. The longer she lives in fear, the greater the block will become.

Once the step into the unknown is made, the fear will prove to be useless. Development can then proceed in its own way, in that specific sphere.

Every age and every phase of an entity’s development has its own functional reasons and needs, wherever one stands. It is fear of the unknown and holding on – a harsh movement of the soul – which block the life process that could bring a soul organically, as it is right, into a new dimension of feeling.

As to yourself, there may be other reasons connected with your personal problems which are responsible for this. Perhaps even fearing that if you now then confront life as a free person, the question you ask yourself will be, “Will I now be capable of obtaining a little joy for myself, or will my old unjustified fears and guilts and inhibitions still prohibit me, while now as long as I am with her I have a good excuse to remain in the pseudo-safety of unhappiness, for happiness seems risky, do you understand?”

QUESTION: In Lecture #123 [Liberation and Peace by Overcoming Fear of the Unknown] and #124 [The Language of the Unconscious], you spoke about unconscious fear of love and unconscious fear of death. Can you explain the connection between these?

ANSWER: The common denominator is that in both instances, the person has to let go and cease to be afraid of an unknown factor. For in true union with the opposite sex, the over-control of the outer little ego must cease.

The same holds true of the process of dying. The little ego has to stand in the background. In many instances of daily living, a strong ego force is necessary, even essential, but there are, for constructive and productive living and the full unfoldment of the psyche, those areas of the human life – if the life is harmonious – where this ego has to go into the background.

Therefore the tone of the psyche must be a courageous spirit of meeting something unknown, of taking a risk, of going into an abyss. This applies to both dying and loving.

How many times are these words used – for the human language is far from very apt – that loving is like dying? And he who has successfully died in an unafraid way finds himself in a new realm of consciousness with very similar feelings of elation and bliss as he experiences in the love act, but only if this letting go is not blocked.

The bliss of the universal Yes force, of the constructive forces, the forces of life and unfoldment, are of such a tremendous force that the little scared ego battles against it. This is, after all, what all you human beings do and where we help you to eliminate this in the healthy, harmonious way – not in the sick, distorted way that runs into the excesses and into the escape.

QUESTION: In my mother’s lifetime, she hasn’t had a happy, joyful, good life. She’s had many heartaches and hardships and the like. Does this necessarily mean that the next sphere that she enters into, that she’s still going to be in this state of suffering?

ANSWER: No, my dear, you see, again you’re asking a question that also reveals still the image of punishment and reward. But where you do have an indication, is her fear of death.

QUESTION: But the fear of death comes out of this feeling that she has not lived a righteous enough life to be worthy of something good.

ANSWER: This is a distortion. In actuality, the answer to this question is also an answer to the question our friend has asked just a moment ago, which is this: the fact that she had such an unhappy life in which all joy, all love experience, was deliberately blocked, that is the same that creates fear of death, because both are a result of fear of the unknown. And the strict rules of sin were then only superimposed to explain away her fear of the unknown.

So it is her fear of death which is not a result of, but the same manifestation of, her fear of love. It does not necessarily mean that she must be unhappy or just as unhappy. Perhaps the experience of dying might open her eyes that one does not have to live in cramped fear, that one can open up to life, that one has nothing to fear from life.

Only one’s own errors, illusions and misconceptions are fearful, not life or death, which are both the same. This she may experience through the traumatic experience of death. For, as you know, birth is traumatic and death is traumatic and love or the fear of it may be traumatic. Any change in transformation may be traumatic if one blocks against it.

Coming back to your original question, I think the best hope for her to change is going through the process, and once she’s only half way through the process she will learn to let go. There will come the moment when she will let go and will find it blissful.


QA124 QUESTION: I don’t seem to have a fear of death, although I know I have a fear of life. I look forward to death as something quite beautiful.

ANSWER: Now you see, your unhappiness with life produces a fear of life and a desire for death, but wanting death and not fearing death out of a despair with life does not mean a healthy non-fear of death. It does not mean a healthy, constructive approach to death. It becomes a way out as an escape and therefore it is an illusion.

If you would be happy in life, you then would fear death. But when you resolve these problems that make you unhappy with life, you will not fear death any more than you will fear life. You will embrace both, each in its own function, bringing you what is an organic development.

Your fear of life is a result of confusion, of not knowing what to do, not knowing what alternative to choose in the neurotic constellation you are beginning to grasp, more and more; your work is going very, very satisfactorily. It has to, at times – it cannot help doing that – puzzle you and apparently depress you, but it is not the work that depresses you. What depresses you is what comes to the fore and what you now see clearly. Flight into death is not a healthy nonfear of death.


QA149 QUESTION: I got the impression from the last lecture [Lecture #149 Cosmic Pull Toward Union – Frustration] that the nature of man, being a physical entity on this level of consciousness, inherently has a limitation in a way, on a higher plane. {Yes} Because if he didn’t have that limitation, he wouldn’t be at this level. {Right} Is this something that we must accept? {Yes} And how do we know when to accept it?

ANSWER: Well, the simplest way to put it would be death. That death is a phenomenon that applies to the human being. This is a limitation, this process of dying, of going into an unknown, that every human being must accept and come to terms with.

For although every entity eventually comes to the point where death is no longer a necessary phenomenon – and it may even be so that enlightened individuals know this to be so, not as an intellectual knowledge, but as a deeply experienced truth from within – nevertheless, the process of dying has to be accepted and met just in order to make this inner experience of knowing the truth about death – that it is not an inevitable fate – possible. In that sense, this limitation has to be accepted, absolutely – yes.

QUESTION: In what sense must it be accepted? Psychologically? Physically?

ANSWER: On all levels. Death must be accepted psychologically and physically, as a phenomenon you go through. No matter what theories you accept intellectually, there will always be an inner doubt until it is fully accepted. Through this full acceptance, the inner knowledge will come that it is not an inevitable final end.

But superimposing this truth will not squelch the fear and the doubt man has of it. To the extent man learns to fully accept himself and his life, his immediate Now, and no longer runs from the nucleus within himself, to that extent, the acceptance of death is not a hardship or difficulty.

That is perhaps a much more important limitation on his consciousness than he realizes, because most of the time he doesn’t think about it. And every other limitation is only secondary from this limitation. If the other limitations are really followed through logically to their end, it will always amount to that, as you will see if you try it out.

QUESTION: What is this fear of death that I have, or mankind has?

ANSWER: Well, it is really the fear of no longer existing. This is a much more important aspect than fear of a fate beyond life that one is distrustful about, or even the fear of pain in the process of dying, which many people believe is the major part of their fear of death.

The real inner fear is not pain – it is nonexistence, which can seem to be so when you ask an individual who has managed to numb and deaden himself while he is in life. The apathy is infinitely worse – and he suffers infinitely worse from it than any experience of pain – even though he has instituted it to begin with, in order to avoid pain.

Once he is involved in the self-perpetuating process of numbness, the apathy, the numbness, the nonlife is of infinitely greater terror than any pain. And any person in that state will readily tell you, “I would rather have any kind of pain than the state I am in now.”

So what man fears is that. The fear of death is directly connected with his attitude to himself and to life in this respect. In other words, you will find – and I can promise you that, if you look closely enough, you will find this undoubtedly and without exception to be so – the more alive a person is, the less the fear of death exists.

The more fear exists in an individual, so that he has numbed himself in any part of his inner makeup, to that extent, fear of death exists. Now this fear of death may not be conscious – it may be projected; it may be experienced in roundabout ways, such as fear of illness; or he may unduly suffer by the death of others.

These are all transposed, misplaced and mischanneled aspects of the primary fear of death, which is in direct relationship and connection with the process of deadening one’s self. The more alive you become – body, soul and spirit – the less you can ever fear any aspect of life, including what is called the process of physical dying.

Making yourself alive is possible only when you no longer fear pain or disappointment or hurt or happiness or anything. When you fearlessly trust the universe and allow the involuntary processes to enliven you, to that extent you will be wholly alive; and to that extent, fear of death cannot possibly exist.

Usually, man kills his life processes, and therefore he is afraid of death – which he does not want to face, so that he then superimposes beliefs he clings to desperately. But they are only intellectual beliefs. He is afraid to question, because he fears his own fear of death, because of the fear of life.


QA195 QUESTION: Can I ask about my husband? When he was alive, he had a great fear of death. Now, can you tell me his experience in finally facing death? Was it as bad for him?

ANSWER: The fear is with him.

QUESTION: It still is?

ANSWER: Yes. The fear takes time to come out of, because the fear is a product of other things that have to be faced. It is a great mistake of human beings to assume that after your true personality steps out of the body, that everything will be entirely changed. You have to work your way through.

To the degree there is stubbornness, there must be fear; and to the degree this stubbornness is not relinquished, the fear persists. Only as the stubbornness is being relinquished does the light of truth come in, where in truth there is no fear. This happens in stages. It fluctuates; it comes and goes with an entity in the body, and it may be the same with an entity out of the body.

The state of fear is not very much different where he is now than when you knew him. There is a lot of tendency to escape from this fear, which, of course, only lengthens the way. But the path of every created entity evolves inexorably, and neither you nor anyone else need to fear that one day you must come into light. You must shed the shackles that bind you within yourself.

Time is but another illusion. It matters very little – and yet so much. It matters so much from the point of view of suffering humanity. It matters little from the point of view where you have an overall vision of the truth of being. The best thing you can do, my dear, is not morbidly hang on to him, for he is not your problem.

Use this crisis to open up, to seek another pathway within yourself. Free yourself of your morbidity, for that is another aspect of what ties you down within yourself. Let the truth come into you so that you can find the way where you can rejoice again. In that way you help more, yourself and him and anyone else around you. For your morbid clinging in a useless guilt creates but another tie for him that is not helpful.

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