What Is the Best Way to Overcoming the Fear Of Death?
by Kelvin H. Chin
Executive Director, Overcoming the Fear of Death Foundation
Our Foundation takes a 2-pronged approach to overcoming the fear of death:
1) increasing understanding about death and dying through the lens of whatever your belief system is, and
2) experientially promoting the teaching of any effortless technique of Turning Within that releases the individual from the limiting effects of fears and anxieties by allowing the mind, body and emotions to relax and balance, which results in more effective thoughts and actions, and greater self-confidence, which is integral in helping people both overcome their fear of death and lead happier, more productive lives.
But before we discuss why we take this approach, let’s briefly describe the approach that is most commonly used in the world now. Because as many of you have heard me often say, “As compared to what?…” So, let’s discuss first the “as compared to what.”
The Other Approach
The most common solution that is currently out there is what I refer to as the “Inspirational” approach.
It is focused on making us feel some relief immediately, which it does. For example, when someone is experiencing a loss of a loved one or a fear of dying oneself, friends often say, “Don’t worry, she’s in a better place now, she’s at peace…” or “You’ll be OK, don’t worry about the fears you have, they’ll pass — you’ll be fine.” And we are fine, perhaps — temporarily. So, it does work. Just not for very long.
That is the most common approach out there. And there are seminars and articles written about helping people with death and dying issues, but if you look beneath what they are saying and recommending, basically it’s a variation on that same message.
Our approach is different.
The 2-Pronged Approach And Why It Works
Let’s look at our 2-pronged approach in greater detail, and see why it works so well.
I have found that based on 30 years of experience helping people with death and dying issues, that a combination of BOTH understanding ALONG WITH the experiential process of turning within yields a much more long-lasting fear-reducing result for individuals, than the inspirational approach.
Let’s look at this further.
Like any other effort to improve oneself: whether it's a professional sales skills training or a personal development workshop, if the workshop focuses only on the skills learning or the “what” you should do to improve yourself — this is what I refer to in some of my other blog essays as the identifiable, concrete XYZ’s — then it will fail. We will fail in really becoming an outstanding salesperson — we will fail at really improving ourselves in more than merely a cursory, superficial “feel good” way.
Because the individual is the critical component of success or failure. And if the individual’s mind is weak, or the individual’s body is tired, the result will be insufficient, unsatisfactory.
No matter how much ‘content’ is forced upon that individual, he or she can only absorb so much. He can only integrate and synthesize as much as his ‘container of information’ — his mind (which is directly supported by his bodily functioning) — can process.
So, the key is how to strengthen the mind to ensure the "target" within that mind that we are trying to influence (in our case, the fears related to death and dying) is hit powerfully and accurately.
And the best way I've found to strengthen the mind in this integrated way with the body is by 'turning within' through meditation — connecting with oneself in that way, resting the body through that process, and allowing the neurophysiology to balance on all levels. By taking this balanced approach — mentally, emotionally, physically — the mind becomes stronger and clearer. And one's self-confidence becomes more unshakable.
And, by combining that along with increasing the understanding about death and dying through the individual's belief system — one’s fears dissipate and eventually disappear.
So, like I said, it is not a one-prong approach.
If either “understanding” or “the ‘turning within’ experience of oneself” are missing, the result will be weaker, and perhaps insufficient to meet the need. In other words, we will likely miss the target. We will remain in fear.
If we only meditate, if we only ‘turn within experientially’ — without increasing our understanding of the issue at hand (in this case, death and dying) — we run the risk of never accomplishing our goal fully. We run the risk of simply falling into a "feel good" state of mind that is not based in substance, not based on anything "real." We never really deal with the issue we had — whether it be about death and dying, or unresolved issues in our relationships, or any other related issues we may have.
On the other hand, if we only pursue the ‘understanding’ route, and ignore the meditation or ‘turning within experientially’ route, we run the risk of only increasing our ability to understand to the extent that our mind — the level of clarity it has at that particular time in our life — will support.
And remember, since our bodies are connected to our minds and they affect each other, if our bodies are tired, unhealthy and imbalanced, they will directly affect the clarity and the level of ability that our minds have to understand — the body will limit the mind's capacity.
So, you see, both go hand in hand. Both need to be there for us to fully experience understanding at its maximum capacity, and to execute our skills in a way that maximizes results in our waking state daily lives.
I hope this has given you a more complete understanding of why our Foundation takes the 2-pronged approach, and how important it is to ensure that the reduction and elimination of fears — whether they be about death and dying or any other fears — is as long-lasting and as permanent as possible. Because overcoming our fears is ultimately the primary way we can ensure our own happiness in life…
Kelvin H. Chin is a Meditation Teacher, Life After Life Expert, and Author of “Overcoming the Fear of Death.” He learned to meditate at age 19, and has been teaching Turning Within and coaching others in their self-growth for 40 years. He helps people understand their life challenges through their individual belief systems, and helps them find their own solutions. His past life memories reach back many centuries, and he accesses those memories in his teaching and his coaching in the same way all coaches draw on their own available experiences for perspective and effective analogies. He can be reached at www.OvercomingTheFearOfDeath.org or www.TurningWithin.org.