Principle number three: Life is all there is; and death is illusion.
So, principle number three got a lot of people thinking and thinking deeply—some even got their cage rattled a bit.
As mentioned, my experience tells that there are 5 primary fears that we all experience and feel on a regular basis. Now anytime you speak of primary there are always subcategories or secondary qualities beneath them. Are you with me?
It’s not the purpose of this series to deal with (or explore) the 5 primary fears. That topic will be addressed in an upcoming online program currently in production entitled, “How to Understand, Overcome, and Utilize Fear.” (Stay tuned)
But what I will suggest is that the biggest and baddest fear of all… what I label the “overarching fear”… is the fear of death.
The fear of death is without question the number one fear that confronts all of us. No exception. In fact… I’m going to suggest to you… that properly understood, every single fear is ultimately a subset of this one primal fear.
In the Toltec tradition it states that when one has conquered the fear of death they have absolutely no enemies in this life or the next. I’ve always loved that premise… because it makes so much sense to me.
And it should to you as well, as you begin to understand the fear of death as the overarching fear of all fears.
The question is… how and why do we have such a fear of death? Now that’s the million dollar questions isn’t it?
As we’ve discussed in great detail, the human species has been obsessed with death all the way back to ancient Egypt if probably not sooner. The ancient Egyptians had this fear at least as much, if not more so, than any other culture… and they were totally obsessed about becoming immortal.
This practice of running from death was adopted by the early Christians with a twist. The Christian tradition—to this day—is still obsessed with “eternal life” and “immortality” with a few fundamental changes from the Egyptians.
And please know that I’m not taking any shots at religion or religious beliefs. Certainly I’m not.
What I am doing is attempting to get you, as a thinking and rational individual, to notice that the human species has been obsessing with death and more importantly, a quest for immortality, way longer than you and I have been around.
And frankly… they probably will be long after we’re gone.
“Judge not by appearances.” ~ John 7:24
So let’s think about this…the reason we’re so afraid of death is due to our resistance to the fact of impermanence in the physical world.
Everything in this world is impermanent… and that’s just a fact… no matter how strongly or valiantly we attempt to change this… we can’t. Physical life is impermanent… we know this, we just don’t like to think about it.
One of the three major causes of all human suffering is resistance to the fact that all things physical are impermanent.
The reason we fear death is because we’re identified with our physical bodies instead of being identified with who we truly are. Who we truly are is not our physical body or our personality.
Our essence is energetic, and even science tells us that. As we discussed previously the first law of Thermodynamics is the Law of Energy Conservation. (reference IAD 11)
In simple terms energy can change form but it can never be added to or taken from. In other words, all that ever was or shall be is already here. Energy can never be created or destroyed. I know we’ve discussed this but it bears repeating. (After all, death is the number one fear).
So now let’s think this through and fully understand it… if your body is comprised of energy—which it is—in fact, science tells us everything in this universe is comprised of energy—everything—including your body (Even your thoughts and feelings).
So logically you can understand that you never really die… you just change form. Please read that again (and again), (and again).
The energy which is you—at your core—can never go away. In fact, it always has been… and always will be here. Only the form changes.
Now this may or may not give you any comfort because we most often want to hang on (remember we resist impermanence thus causing our own suffering), we don’t want things to change because uncertainty brings fear of the unknown, which translates into (you guessed it), the fear of death.
In other words… If I move into the unknown James… it might be worse, in fact it might be dangerous, which means I might not make it, which means I might be broke, which means I might be homeless, which means I might not have money for food, which means I might starve, which means I might die!
Do you see how this works?
Now understanding this fear does NOT mean we won’t have it. There’s nothing you or I can say or do to make fear go completely away. Nor do we want to—we want to learn to USE it. Utilization is one of the key factors of true productivity and power. (Reference the Alchemy series)
When we begin to understand it… we can start the process of dealing with it.
Let’s revisit the Toltec tradition and another one of their fundamental teachings. It’s called the “Awareness of Impending Death.”
According to the Toltec tradition the angel of death is over our left shoulder with its finger poised at all times just inches above that left shoulder. This dark angel is ready to tap you out at any time… at the precise moment of your departure (Take a look he’s there).
Now for the Western mind this may seem morbid… but for the Toltec it’s NOT about death at all… in fact it’s about life!
You see we do our best to ignore and/or live in denial of the fact that we’re physically impermanent don’t we? We don’t even want to think about it… much less talk about it. Let me ask you… is this topic making you somewhat uncomfortable?
Nonetheless it’s there… like a nagging little splinter in the back of our minds. And so unconsciously it’s running us… controlling us… impacting us whether we like it or not.
Many confuse existence with living…
They’re not the same; in fact, they’re distinctly different.
For most, they’re so afraid of death, and so consumed with doing their best to escape and deny it… that they actually forget to live. But not the Toltec—and not us if we choose to adopt this concept.
Imagine for a moment that you hold the awareness that every single moment, every single day, every single week just may be your last… do you think you might just be more inclined to live and live fully?
If you knew… that every single thing you did might be for the very last time… would you possibly bring more energy and joy to it? Even the so called “crappy stuff?”
This is where an understanding of this principle becomes very powerful.
So how do you conquer death in the way the Toltec advise? Two ways:
First, you understand that in the absolute sense you ALREADY ARE immortal… you’re an energetic being—a field of energy in a larger field of energy… there is no death, not really… just transformation. You see to trans—form literally means to go beyond form. Remember:
Principle number three: Life is all there is; and death is illusion.
Simultaneously you realize in the relative sense… that YOU ARE going to die. In other words in your current physical form… so as a result you live big! You live epic!
You take risks that get the blood pumping… not completely irrational things mind you… for those who continually tempt death are actually attempting to escape their fear of death. Now there’s something to ponder.
But in really truly living you take the leap towards your dreams for you realize that time is short and of the essence… and living an inspired life is the only thing worthwhile; and ultimately the only thing you can take with you is who you are inside—nothing outside.
Okay I’ve given you several things to ponder here (that’s an understatement to say the least). A lot of deep stuff I know.
Until we speak again… live each and every moment as if it were your last…
Stay Awake, Love Life, and Be Epic,