People across the globe fear death mostly because they are ignorant about what death is. Death is associated with pain, misery and loss. People consider death to be something ugly and unfortunate, and they dread it. The fear of the unknown, or the loss of the known at death, terrorizes most of humanity. When a person dies, we see a person who was alive is suddenly no more. Life has escaped that person, and that person’s dead body lies in front of us. We start wondering – what happened to that person? Where did that person go? Now the dead body will either be cremated or buried.
The aura created by death fills the atmosphere with negative emotions of worry, fear and sadness. While there are various beliefs and theories about what death is and what life beyond death is, it is quite natural for the fear of “beyond-death experience” to haunt and trouble us. However, very few people stop to analyse death, to look deeper at what this phenomenon is. Rather, we continue to fear this inevitable and uncontrollable natural cessation of life.
Doctors describe death anxiety as “thanatophobia” – the fear of death. Although it may not be commonly discussed, the fear of death greatly troubles people. What makes human beings so concerned about death? In fact, sometimes the phobia is so great that people literally stop living. Old people are close to their graves dreading possible death, and the young ones not far behind. Is it because of the fear of the unknown? We don’t know what will happen to us after death, where we will go and whether we will be happy. Or rather, is it because of the
loss of the known? Death will make us lose all our possessions and the people that we love so much.
We human beings live with desires and cravings and our ego creates fear. Fear itself stands for False Expectations Appearing Real (F-E-A-R)! The expectation is that death will destroy one’s life completely. In fact, the fear of death makes us live with so much worry about tomorrow that often we forget to live today.
Several rituals and customs around the globe only emphasize the fear of and all that follows. Because of our gross ignorance about death, people all over the globe perform different kinds of rituals and believe in many superstitions that further complicates death.
Deep ignorance about death mystifies and complicates it. We need to study and understand what death is, and go beyond to realize the truth. By realizing what death is, we would be able to accept death gracefully.