Fear of death
Some suggest that all suffering results from this underlying fear, reaction to even a stubbed toe is manifestation of fear of death albeit in a much smaller dose.
But what is this fear of death and is it based on truth or another part of the illusion egoic mind constructs on a real time basis?
Death is defined by doctors as the inability of bodies and mind to function in a way that we call living. Upon death we will no longer be able to touch, taste, smell, see or hear. Separately but not certainly, it also means cessation of the mental faculty, i.e. no thoughts.
So the fear associated with death must be our fear of no longer being able to feel pleasant sensations, remember loved ones, fix outstanding life problems we currently face or may face in the future and so on. The list is as long as our lives. We can no longer plan to achieve unfulfilled desires upon death.
The fear often includes anticipation of excruciating pain both physical and mental. Physical pain we have faced in small doses through out our lives from stubbed toes to god forbid, serious diseases like heart attack, aides and cancer. No one wants to experience even the smaller degree of pain like headaches or sore muscles. Physical pains are part of the body’s function. As a child we feel them more intensely but as we grow older we tend to bear them, try to alleviate them and then move on. Fear is minimal. So it is not pain but an imagined unbearable severity upon death that frightens us.
Mental pain fears are similar. For some, just the thought of being separated from our loved ones forever is very scary especially knowing that death is so final, no chance of returning back. Now you can see why belief in reincarnation can be so desirable. It is the finality of death that is most scary for the mind.
This fear too seems like an illusion. Most of us, at least the older ones, have had and lost several loved ones, our grand parents, parents, partners or friends. Mind did suffer pain but as Buddha said, it was impermanent. Rationally a fear of not being able to reconnect with our loved ones ever again upon death is an illusion very similar to many mental anguish we have felt and forgotten. Do you remember the first time you got rejected by someone? It just passes with time.
All of these fears that we have already endured seem transitory but death is permanent. If we look deeper it is not the permanent end to feeling sensations or thoughts of love and pleasures of life but the loss of control over our lives.
Do we really have any control?
Is control an illusion?
If yes, is the fear of death also an illusion?