Fear of death is one of the primordial human phobias since the beginning of time. And it’s still one of the most prevalent worries among humans today.
But will we always have it? And should we?
According to Mindvalley’s spiritual teachers, our impending demise is designed to wake us up to the limitations of our mortality, and it is nothing but the most critical moment of our lives.
When you have the intention to face your fear of death, it can help you finally live fully, with a heart full of gratitude and joy.
What Is the Fear of Death?
Fear of death is the fear of non-existence, mortality, or dying.
If you have an intense fear of death, there’s another term for it — thanatophobia, also known as death anxiety.
Although thanatophobia is commonly referred to as the fear of death, it’s not quite the same. You can feel anxious sometimes, but it doesn’t mean you suffer from anxiety. Same with the fear of death and death anxiety.
Although having a fear of death is natural (and we all have it to a degree), there are spiritual methods on how to overcome the fear of death.
Method 1: Lucid Dreaming by Charlie Morley
In the ancient Tibetan Buddhist tradition, lucid dreaming is considered one of the highest and most profound spiritual practices due to its direct connection to conscious dying.
Tibetan Buddhists believe in rebirth after death. But before you’re reborn into your next life, you enter a place in between called ‘bardo.’
You can think of life as the bardo between your birth and death.
More precisely, the term ‘bardo’ in Tibetan isn’t a place but an after-death state of existence between two lives, the current and the next. This intermediate state is believed to be dreamlike.
This is why the combination of tantric processes and techniques they use to prepare themselves for conscious dying is called ‘dream yoga.’
So how do they die consciously?
According to Charlie Morley, lucid dreaming expert and trainer of Mindvalley’s Experience Lucid Dreaming Quest, as the mind separates from a physical body at the point of death, it flips inwardly and experiences the totality of its own projection.
“Since this inward experience is like a dream, by mastering lucid dreaming, you can recognize the moment of your own dying,” he adds.
At least, that’s what Tibetan Buddhists can do. But can WE do it?
Yes, we can.
Most people don’t die consciously because we die as we dream.— Charlie Morley, trainer of Mindvalley’s Experience Lucid Dreaming Quest
Taking a cue from the Tibetan Buddhists, if you pay attention to your mind during your dream — because this is how your mind is during death.
In other words, if you can train your mind to recognize your dreams, you can recognize the bardo state, in which you will see that death is nothing but your ultimate dream.
The process of falling asleep simulates the process of dying, so every night, you get a trial run of death and dying.
To master the art of conscious dying, you want to master the process of falling asleep, consciously maintaining full awareness as you pass through a hypnagogic state into sleep.
Charlie explains that it’s similar to the ‘aha’ moment of recognition that you’re dreaming, but in this case, it’s lucid death. And conscious dying is considered to be the highest achievement of the spiritual practitioner.
Whether you agree with Tibetan Buddhists on conscious dying or not, you can at least lessen one of the biggest human fears — the fear of death — one lucid dream at a time.
At most, you can experience profound spiritual awakening and attain enlightenment.
Method 2: Astral Projection by Jade Shaw
Astral projection, commonly known as an out-of-body experience (OBE), is another powerful method of overcoming fear of death.
When you have an OBE, you experience a so-called ‘over-view effect’ as if you were an astronaut viewing the Earth from outer space.
This cognitive shift in awareness gives you a sense of awe, expands your spatial perception, and reframes your reality and your place within it.
According to a globally recognized expert in astral projection and trainer of Mindvalley’s The Art of Astral Projection Quest Jade Shaw, when you glance back at your physical body during Astral Projection, you realize you aren’t your physical body. Your sense of self expands and you overcome the fear of death.
It explains why having an OBE can radically decrease death anxiety and help you elevate your understanding of who you are.
Even the virtual reality experience mimicking an OBE can decrease the fear of death.
You no longer identify yourself with the physical body. You come back with the understanding that you have a soul that will go on after death.— Jade Shaw, trainer of Mindvalley’s The Art of Astral Projection Quest
Like in the case of lucid dreaming, it can also be used for conscious dying.
For example, Tibetan Buddhists practice it to be able to choose where they want to be reincarnated next and receive spiritual guidance from masters that have passed away already. They fall asleep consciously and then project their consciousness to a favorable rebirth.
You don’t need to go to such spiritual extremes in your astral projection endeavors. But if you can transmute one of the greatest fears, you can reap the greatest benefits.
Method 3: Transcending Your Ego by Michael Beckwith
Call it ego death or ego transcendence; you won’t die in this process. What’s going to die is your sense of identity — everything you know to be you, including your beliefs, opinions, and ideologies, as you have them now.
How will it help with the fear of death?
Your ego is an evolutionary part of you operating out of instinct. It helps you navigate this reality to survive, and fear of death is the ego’s most potent tool to do its job effectively.
According to Michael Beckwith, internationally renowned spiritual teacher and trainer of Mindvalley’s Life Visioning Mastery Quest, when ego dominates your perception and governs your actions, you don’t live fully because you operate from fear.
Moreover, you dwell on the illusion of separation from others and life itself.
He calls this stage of consciousness ‘victim consciousness’ — when you believe that life is happening to you and your destiny is dependent on external circumstances.
Contrary to victim consciousness, when you surrender to life and allow it to happen through you, you will see life as it is — eternal and unaltered by your experiences and perceptions.
The more you surrender yourself to being a channel, the less you will be governed by the ego.— Michael Beckwith, trainer of Mindvalley’s Life Visioning Mastery Quest
And death no longer threatens you because you will be governed by your higher self with a broader perception based on the qualities of unity, love, and generosity.
You will move from fear to excitement, awe, and enthusiasm, living in the present moment. And what can be more real and eternal than now?
Method 4: Celebrating Being Alive by Sadhguru
Modern mystic and trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide to Joy Quest Sadhguru explains that most people are miserable because they are half-alive.
“Look at a mango tree,” he says. “It’s fully alive and sweet without you asking it to be so. When you are fully alive, it’s natural for you to emanate sweetness and joy. Only when you are joyful do you have no fear of suffering.”
How can you be fully alive?
So you should celebrate being alive and practice gratitude for just one thing — that you are alive right now. Every moment you must appreciate just one thing — the most important thing — that you are alive right now.
Above all other things you prioritize, your aliveness is what makes other things important – your family, your job, your country.— Sadhguru, trainer of Mindvalley’s A Yogi’s Guide To Joy Quest
You are afraid of dying because you don’t focus on living. More precisely, you don’t practice being alive every day.
As Sadhguru jokingly puts it, death is always efficient, so you don’t need to practice it. When you die, you die. Yes or No?
But living with the idea of your mortality every day is what will make you exuberant and ecstatic because you don’t know how life is happening and why you wake up every morning.
How long does it take to overcome the fear of death?
It can take one instant realization or a lifetime, as no single method can give you precise timing. But as you intentionally move towards greater awareness, taking full responsibility for your life, you can live your life fully. You can finally live without fear of death simply because living joyfully takes over your entire existence.
Know Your Spiritual Self
Overcoming the fear of death helps you break free from one of the biggest human illusions — the physical nature of this reality and yourself. But you can only see what you are by seeing what you are not.
If you want to unlearn everything you’ve known about yourself as a mortal human being and get closer to your true divine essence, Mindvalley is a place to be.
The world’s most renowned and recognized spiritual teachers like Jade Shaw, Charlie Morley, Michael Beckwith, and Sadhguru are just a few of them whose mission is to awaken humanity to elevated consciousness and help them live their lives with joy and a deep sense of purpose.
Most importantly, you will become an indispensable part of Mindvalley’s community — students from across the globe who aspire to grow, transform and change the world together for the highest good of all.
If it deeply resonates with you, welcome in.