Death Is Just A Belief

starlit skyAs a child, I felt terrified at the idea of death. No one had spoken with me about death, and no one close to me had died. Yet there was a picture in my mind of my body floating in an endless night sky, surrounded by stars, completely helpless, painfully alone, and frozen with terror.

This fear affected my entire early childhood. It was more important to play it safe, than learn to ride a bicycle, swim, or meet new friends. I was shy, and spent most of my time reading books. As I grew older, there was an uneasy feeling inside me that I was a coward. I admired people in stories I read, who would throw themselves in front of a bus to save another, and I sensed that I was not one of them.

It became crucial that I overcome my fear of death–but I no longer remembered that it was death of which I was afraid. I was now wrestling with the shame of calling myself a “coward.” This was my dirty little secret–I was yellow.cowardlylion

And cowardice infected my whole life. First, I was afraid of sports, then dogs, then water, then other kids, then summer camp, on and on. In order to feel safe, I had to withdraw from life. Safety came at a high price-loneliness and a great longing to play and participate; but instead I stayed in my room.

Although this was my plight as a child and young adult, paradoxically, I was not alone. Many people suffer from this kind of withdrawal. Lonely, terrified people are probably the majority of human beings. I found this out because eventually I went into psychotherapy–first as a client, and then when the therapy worked, as a professional. And I discovered that every client that walked through my door was lonely and terrified. Even when, externally, their lives appeared successful.

swirly omAs I faced my fear of death, spiritual wisdom came my way. Rather than comforting myself reading novels about lonely people, I started reading mystical literature. “If there is any death, it is that of death itself, for life will not die,” said the great Sufi teacher, Hazrat Inayat Khan. Such elegant logic. How can life die?

A Course in Miracles (ACIM) explains, “The ‘reality’ of death is firmly rooted in the belief that God’s Son is a body. And if God created bodies, death would indeed be real. But God would not be loving.” Again, impeccable logiclaverne-ross-while-adam-slept. If God is Loving, how could He create death? But what did “if God created bodies” mean? Where did bodies come from, if not God?

According to Advaita Vedanta, also known as non-dualism, this world and the bodies in it are an illusion, maya, the play of consciousness. As ACIM puts it, “What is seen in dreams seems to be very real. Yet the Bible says that a deep sleep fell upon Adam, and nowhere is there reference to his waking up.”

What? I read that over and over again, and then checked the Bible. I could not find a passage about Adam awakening. Could this all simply be, as the song goes, “Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream. Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a dream.”?

dreaming aboriginalAustralian Aboriginals believe in “dreamtime,” an infinite spiritual belief about the time of creation. The “Dreaming” is eternal and life exists before a person is born and after the individual person ends.

Quantum physics has theories about non-linear and simultaneous time. There is no past and future. Time is a limited and limiting concept made up by humans. There cannot be death without the grim reaper, Father Time. Yet if God is understood as formless, infinite and eternal, there can be no death at all. It turns out death is just a belief.

“It is not you dying. It is what you are not that is dying. In fact, you are never going to die! Death is a myth. This body, you have to give it up. But you must come to know, while you have the body, that you are eternal,” says Mooji, a contemporary mystic, who teaches self-inquiry.

As I began to understand that I am not a body, and the reality that seems so real to all of us is merely a dream, the fear of death dissolved. The real me-and you–can never die. The spiritual Self in which we are all One prevails. This is the truth that Jesus said would set us free. This is the Truth that dissolves all fear, including the fear of sky

Death Is Just A Belief is an essay in my ongoing series, How to Use the Body While You Think It’s You.  If you liked this, you may also enjoy “Gatita Sparkles,” “Gatita’s Metamorphosis,”Body Health Is Not a Measurement of Spiritual Unfolding,” “How to Take Yourself Less Personally”,Flossing and Feldenkrais,” and “I Am Not My Hair”     Also, be sure to watch Webinar #10, The Purpose of the Body on YouTube :)   And you may be interested in my Facebook page devoted to body issues:

Copyright © 2013 Amy Torres.  All rights reserved worldwide.