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Have you made peace with death?

Death is a scary thing, even more so if you are an atheist (which I am). I am not completely certain its simply just lights out for us but it is a very strong possibility.
Right now the thought of that is scary even though I'm sure there will be no suffering. I believe life is suffering of course and if I die I won't have to suffer from illness, dept, depression, fear, love, loss and I wont have to work. In many ways death could be a blessing. Yet there is something that makes us cling to life. What is it that despite all of the torments of life makes it all worth while that makes the idea of it all coming to an end so scary?
Right now I at 28 the concept of death is still a harrowing thought. Maybe it's because there is still much I have to experience in life, maybe I am afraid of nothingness. I know I'm definitely not afraid of a hell. I am glad that I have the rest of my life and I hope I have many years ahead to make peace with death. I hope when my time comes I can accept it, maybe even embrace it.
So have any of you made peace with the inevitable?

Comments

  • sunya4sunya4 Zaandam Nederland New

    Suggestion: try to forget self {meditate?}

    herberto
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran
    edited August 28

    I believe nature is not wasteful. There is impermanence, yes, but things do not come to an end. What was a cloud yesterday may be a raindrop today, in a water barrel tomorrow and a cup of tea the day after. The cloud has not ceased to be, and may again be a cloud some day... similarly I do not think our consciousness or feelings or memories will be wasted at the moment of death... perhaps these parts of us will go on to become something new when we pass on. But i do believe something will carry on.

    So you see, I do not think death is nothingness. I don't think death as you imagined it exists. Even if it were, it would be an appropriate close to the story.

    I believe I have made my peace with death, it may come when it likes. Of course when push comes to shove I may decide to do just as much yelling as the next man.

    adamcrossleyelcra1go
  • yagryagr Veteran

    I think that peace is impermanent for us mere mortals. I've faced what I believed was 'the end' many times, in fact, my heart has stopped at least four times. Sometimes I've caught myself thinking, 'This is a good day to die' with gratitude and serenity and other times I was imminently defiant, powered by fear.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Have you made peace with death?

    Yes...But "I" don't think the clinging "I" (that has a habit of making its presences felt when least expected :) ) is quite there yet....even though "I" know another "I" will/may arise (with more karmic baggage) after this one has done its dash...

    Alan Watts asked this question...

    "What would it be like to go to sleep and never wake up ?"

    At first, perhaps all of one's self-attachments will rise to the surface in the form of fears, (what "I" will miss) but then the deeper one ventures into it, it's possible one will come to a realisation which brings about peace of mind ...

    @Mingle Atheist just means without a god ...However atheists can and do have spiritual beliefs/understandings, experiential and other wise...

    Or you could just explore "Anatta" a little deeper ...By coming to grips with not having a permanently abiding self, should go some way in helping to alleviate some of those self-obsessed fears....once you get over the initial experiential shock that is :)

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    It depends on the moment. Even my grandmother, who was 89 when she died, was afraid even though she'd asked to die for 30 years prior. Most of the time, I am not afraid of death itself, for myself. I'm kind of interested to see what it's all about (even though I know in the moment I find it, it won't matter anymore). But having young children, and a marriage with a lot of dreams on the horizon, is where it gets hard. If I were to die today, then my family would have to figure out how to go on, I, of course, wouldn't have any feelings about it at that point. But thinking ahead about my children without me (especially when 2 of them lost their father already) is horribly distressing. It happens to kids every day, and they find their way through somehow. But that is where my hangup is. That no matter my personal level of thoughts or beliefs about death, my attachments to my family are where death is terrifying. It's kind of funny to think about, because I wouldn't even be here to see it play out. But it's heartbreaking to consider all the same.

    It does seem to even out as you get older. My parents are in their mid 60s, and their feelings about it are much different than they were 20 years ago. They know their kids are stable adults and would be just fine. But it's the same for me. If I had lost my parent at a young age, that would have been extraordinarily difficult. I have friends who have been through that and they struggle many years later with it. But now that they are getting older, it will still be very difficult, but not insurmountable when it is their time to die. As you get older I do think you come to terms with death in different ways.

    herberto
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    There's not much choice, is there? Whether anyone goes kicking and screaming or serene as a kumquat, still there's not much choice. All the fairy tales in the world, religious or otherwise, can't change the facts.

    lobster
  • IronRabbitIronRabbit Veteran
    edited August 28

    However.......

    elcra1golobstersilver
  • paulysopaulyso usa Veteran

    hi mingle.you ask what is it makes it so worth while this thing called life? to me there is diversity in life.there is beauty in life.and there is heart in life.i do appreciate it .when my times up ,not looking at the prospect of physical pain.fear of death has lessen in time.my mind perhaps will let go. perhaps my body will say,shit!

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    No one knows how they will react when death comes. "And each one there has one thing shared. They have sweated beneath the same sun. Looked up in wonder at the same moon. And wept when it was all done, for being done too soon."

    dhammachicksilver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited August 29

    These days, the way of thinking of death and 'making peace' with it, is more like viewing it as just another unknown in life. How many times have we got nervous and wrung our hands over the many firsts in our lives? Death's just another unknown. Just because we seem to have been conditioned to think of it as the final unknown, doesn't make it so.

    I think it's best to think of death as another adventure.

    ShoshinKerome
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Death is a scary thing

    😂👻💀😹

    My mind is far more more scary ...
    Watch yourself death, I come to empty your mind ... o:)

    yagrherberto
  • herbertoherberto Arizona Explorer

    I have a lot of thought on death, I'm 62 so death is looming closer and many friends and loved one have already passed on. I was recently thinking about my Christian friends and their belief of an after life versus my beliefs, actually I don't have beliefs, only thoughts and ideas that comfort me. I'm kind of fond of the Pure Land Buddhist view of heaven, probably because I was raised a Christian. Anyway when I think of friends that have passed on I hope the beliefs that comforted them in life came true for them.
    I was anesthetized for an operation a few years ago and when I awoke I didn't know who, what or where I was. As I became more conscious I wondered, "What if I'd died? I never would have even known.". Of course my consciousness could have continued, but either way I would have been fine. The thing that really struck me was how the end of consciousness is the end of worry and fear. No worries about the people that I've left behind or who gets my stuff, no worries at all just peace. That's not so scary.

    KannondhammachickvinlynMingle
  • @Mingle said:
    I hope when my time comes I can accept it, maybe even embrace it.
    So have any of you made peace with the inevitable?

    As a Tantrist I carry a skull everywhere. Yep it is my own. ;) Soon enough it will be fleshless ...

    Death is inevitable? Makes our living kinda of important? Embrace life - a good plan.

    herbertosilver
  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran

    So far as I can tell, I have made peace with death, but I could be wrong. What I have not entirely made peace with is all the fuss, bother and nuisance that can so often precede death.

    I have an egotistical and defiant fall-back position on death itself, reflecting that since every living thing that has gone before me has died, I can sure as hell do it too. Easy as falling off a log.

    herberto
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    @Fosdick just a friendly word: stay away from those pesky Zen Enthusiasts asking you about trees falling, and if they make a noise if no-one's there... Don't go check it out on their behalf, ok? ;)

    Fosdicklobsterdhammachickherberto
  • Making peace with death is a very personal thing. Good luck!

  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran

    After my own dealings with death and coming to terms with my illness, I'm at a stage where I'm not scared to die - I just don't want to do it for a loooong time.

    herberto
  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    from a pure land poem:

    While walking along the mountain path, how I enjoy smoking!
    I sit by the roadside for awhile, I take out the pipe in peace and
    with no trouble beclouding the mind.
    But let us go home now, we have been out long enough, let us go home now.
    How light my steps are as they move homeway!
    My thoughts are filled with a return trip to Amida's country.
    "Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

    But let us go home now, we have been out long enough, let us go home now....

    http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/mcb/mcb10.htm

    lobsterherbertoFosdick
  • If a kid can do it ...

    donate dead kid

    silver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran
    edited September 8

    That little girl is a hero. That's how I see it anyway.

    Sometimes, we use the fear of death to try and manipulate people:

  • I have not totally made peace with death.
    When I try to envision my death, I notice that inwardly there is a resistance, a tensing-up. Almost like a sharp intake of breath followed by tension ... on an emotional rather than on a physical level.

    But then I notice that this is really no different from any other aversion that I have. The answer, I think, is not that we need to do away with fear or aversion or unhappiness ... these things are inevitable, as Buddha outlined in his first of the Four Noble Truths. Suffering happens.

    What Buddhist practices attempt to do is change HOW we respond to these situations. We cannot alleviate our fear, pain, etc.
    But we can endeavour to be mindful and observe them .. and then relax into them. In psychological terms, this would be called "reframing our experience". In Buddhism, it is called mindfulness.
    This is easier said than done, and is the work of decades, perhaps of lifetimes. It comes slowly, little-bit by little-bit. Through persistence, attention, practice.

    So this is what I do with my fear of death (and as an unhealthy senior with a bad heart, I have plenty of occasions to face that fear) ... I notice it, I relax into it. I remind myself to stay focused on THIS moment. After all, in THIS moment I am NOT dying. And when the moment changes such that I am indeed dying, then I will deal with that moment. Hopefully I will do so with mindfulness .. but then again, maybe I will panic and fall apart! It does not matter.

    “One can appreciate & celebrate each moment — there’s nothing more sacred. There’s nothing more vast or absolute. In fact, there’s nothing more!”
    Pema Chödrön

    silverSnakeskin
  • RefugeeRefugee San Francisco Explorer

    Perhaps it is a sign of my precarious mental health, but when I do my best to conceive of nonexistence, I feel a sense of relief.

    herbertoSnakeskin
  • BlueSpruceBlueSpruce Oregon New

    Not yet. I continue to have an irrational fear of death-at least me "ego" does....

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    I saw this cool quote (doesn't say who):

    "Death is like a coat - I'll wear it one day but until then, it stays on the hook."

    herberto
  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Isn't "making peace with death" just one more fantasy desire to be able to foretell the future? Pretty arrogant, I suspect -- claiming to know what death is and then making peace with it.

    I thought one of the characteristics of the future was that IT CANNOT BE KNOWN. Or maybe there are some good drugs I don't know about?

    herberto
  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    It's probably one of those things you have to do many times, make peace with death. You may feel you have done it, only for the fear of death to make a comeback when the moment is close.

    Snakeskin
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    The only person I could say hand on heart, I very much suspect has made his Peace with Death, is this fellow.
    Anyone who has been what he went through, must have a better handle on it than most....

    Hozan
  • A truly insiteful reference, @fredrica
    In truth, death is but part of life. It is the time between when we close out eyes and when we open them again. It is the cycle of birth, growth, maturity, decline, death or "ku" to birth, growth,...
    To accept death is to accept life. To accept life is to accept death.

  • sunya4sunya4 Zaandam Nederland New

    neti neti

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    The whole notion of death is a wrong idea. Why fear a wrong idea?

    Kerome
  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    @seeker242 said:> The whole notion of death is a wrong idea.

    I don't see how, it's a fact. We see life forms dying all the time, plants, fish, animals, people. I'm not convinced by these attempts to muddy the water, we know we are going to die, it's better to accept it and come to terms with our mortality.

  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran
    edited September 17

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @seeker242 said:> The whole notion of death is a wrong idea.

    I don't see how, it's a fact. We see life forms dying all the time, plants, fish, animals, people. I'm not convinced by these attempts to muddy the water, we know we are going to die, it's better to accept it and come to terms with our mortality.

    Your body will die. The ultimately wrong idea is that the body is you.

    "Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever form, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that form must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

    The idea that this body is me, is itself, the muddied waters.

  • KeromeKerome Did I fall in the forest? Europe Veteran

    @seeker242 said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @seeker242 said:> The whole notion of death is a wrong idea.

    I don't see how, it's a fact. We see life forms dying all the time, plants, fish, animals, people. I'm not convinced by these attempts to muddy the water, we know we are going to die, it's better to accept it and come to terms with our mortality.

    Your body will die. The ultimately wrong idea is that the body is you.

    And then even there is the question of what death means to the body? It's non-self parts will continue on to become parts of other collections of molecules.

    The self-organising and renewing entity known as "human" will cease to function. It's consciousness component will move on, experiencing dream like after shocks and going on to other states beyond.

    silver
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @Kerome said:

    @seeker242 said:

    @SpinyNorman said:

    @seeker242 said:> The whole notion of death is a wrong idea.

    I don't see how, it's a fact. We see life forms dying all the time, plants, fish, animals, people. I'm not convinced by these attempts to muddy the water, we know we are going to die, it's better to accept it and come to terms with our mortality.

    Your body will die. The ultimately wrong idea is that the body is you.

    And then even there is the question of what death means to the body? It's non-self parts will continue on to become parts of other collections of molecules.

    The self-organising and renewing entity known as "human" will cease to function. It's consciousness component will move on, experiencing dream like after shocks and going on to other states beyond.

    Makes sense to me, @Kerome. At least now that I'm 'older', heh. When I was a kid, I found an injured bird and put him in a cardboard box, didn't know what to do with him so I slid him in the box under the formal dining table - came back a day or 2 later and he had worms crawling around in his feathers and I went screaming the hell away from there, the poor little thing! I was impressed, needless to say, with what had become of my little friend.

    In 6th grade, I decided I wanted to be an archeologist. These days, the closest I get is watching Bones the TV series and I watch enthralled - anything like that - I guess as long as I don't have to smell death, I'm okay. Visuals are okay. Reading about is okay. XD

    I can't help but wonder if being fascinated with others' deaths is a way to come closer to making my own peace with my own eventual death. I mean for me, there's no way to deny death is interesting. We wanna look, but not too closely. And yet...wow.

  • Making peace with death? Maybe. Most definitely a lot of whistling past the graveyard.

    silver
  • dhammachickdhammachick crazy Aussie BUJU Sydney, Australia Veteran
    edited September 17

    I don't think we ever really make peace with death, no matter how hard we try.

    I spent months (almost two years) preparing for death when I was first diagnosed with my illness. I honestly thought I was at a stage where I completely accepted the process, understood what would happen and that it's a part of the lifecycle and happens to all of us.

    Then, Friday morning when I'm having my asthma attack, not being able to breathe and having my brain scream at me that this was it, get ready - I fought with every fibre of my being NOT die and to get any minute amount of oxygen into my body that I could. And with every struggle I took the PAIN was incredible. It took me 3 hours afterwards to regain feeling in my limbs and three days later I still feel tired, sore and am bruised on my legs.

    Nah, acceptance of death is always going to be a lifelong work in progress for most people, no matter what they say.

    lobsterShoshinHozan
  • @dhammachick

    [lobster faints] O.o

    Well done on not dying. Keep up the good work. :p [I iz so wikid]

    Sounds very intense [ understatement? o:) ]

    @yagr is good at not dying and pain and stuff. Dukkha. Still have doubts anyone? Pah!

    Thanks @dhammachick for sharing. <3

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