Informative, and General Reading
Cultivate a Friendship with Death
By Dr Tim Ong
Why We Fear Death
"Men fear death as children fear to go in the dark." - Bacon
There may be a thousand reasons why we fear death, but most of all
we fear death because we fear the unknown, and death is an unknown
entity to most people. We fear that dying may be painful and we do
not know what will happen to us at the point of death.
Some people fear death because they imagine the dying process to be
very painful. Death is not painful. In fact, death is often very
peaceful and silent even for those suffering from cancers or other
When the physical body is deteriorating day by day from a terminal
illness, and pain arises from superficial wound such as bed sores,
or deep pain such as bone or nerve pain, death may even be a
welcome relief for the sufferer.
We need to distinguish the pain of the physical body from the
process of dying. The dying process is a distinct process that is
separate from the deterioration of the physical body. At the point
of death, there is no pain.
What happens at death is the cessation of the breath and all other
physiological functions of the physical body. The heart stops
pumping and the blood circulation stops moving. The body stops
generating heat, and thus progressively turns cold.
For those who believe that we are more than just a physical body,
and that we are in fact spiritual beings, the dying process means
much more than just physical death. Death is just a natural process
that allows us to discard the physical body as we move into the
Since our fear of death is due to the fact that we do not know or
understand death, it makes sense to familiarise ourselves with it.
The more we understand death, the less we fear it. We should
therefore cultivate a friendship with death, and be totally
familiar with it, just as we are familiar with our friends.
We can cultivate a friendship with death in three simple steps:
Establish a link with God.
By establishing a link with God, we touch base with our own
spirituality. God can be whatever you perceive God to be. For
Christians, Muslims and Hindus, that may mean an omnipotent God.
For Buddhists, it may mean the Buddha seed within. Atheists may
have to come to term with their own spirituality.
Establishing a link with God means re-gaining your spirituality. It
leads you closer to the spiritual aspect of yourself. Whether we
accept it or not, we are more than just this physical body. When we
die, we leave this physical body behind and only our spirituality
It is therefore essential for us to be familiar with our own
spirituality. It is the only part of us that continues after death.
This 'fact' is in accordance with all major religions.
Cultivate a Habit of Acceptance.
It is funny how when good things come to us, we readily accept them
as though we deserve them or we have worked hard for them, yet when
calamities befall us we quickly look for an external source to blame.
This is especially so when misfortunes such as terminal illness
befall us. We may blame God, and later blame ourselves or people
around us. We should cultivate a habit of neutrality regardless of
whether good or bad things come our way. Otherwise, we can become
very bitter about life when negative things happened. Looking for
someone or something to blame only serve to prolong our own
suffering. Death is an enemy when we resist it, but the moment we
accept it, it turns into an ally.
However, cultivating a habit of acceptance does not mean not doing
anything to correct or improve our conditions. It does not mean,
for example, that when we are diagnosed with a terminal illness we
do nothing about it. It is only sensible to seek treatment, if it
is available to us. On the other hand, it also means we must know
and accept when curative treatment is no longer possible. We fear
death only when we refuse to face it.
Unfortunately, there are unscrupulous people who would take
advantage of our fear of death to sell their 'cure'. In my
experience with the terminally ill, I have come across countless
stories of dying people being duped into parting with their savings
and properties in the hope of achieving a cure.
Be a Blessing to Others.
This is our greatest and most reliable ally at the time of death.
Knowing that we have been helpful to others and that we have tried
to live a blameless life takes away the fear of death. If our life
has been an honest one, free of any conscious intention to hurt any
living beings, we have nothing to fear when death approaches. Our
mind will be at peace, undisturbed.
On the other hand, those who lead selfish lives, and harm others to
get little advantages for themselves, find themselves imprisoned in
tiny, dark cells when they move to the other side.
Therefore, while we still can, we should give our best to the world
and to people around us. Lend a helping hand to others and help to
lighten their loads. Bring joy to the joyless and comfort to those
in need of comfort. There are many who are less fortunate than us.
Count our blessings and be a blessing to others.
- Establish a link with God.
- Cultivate a habit of acceptance, instead of blame.
- Be a blessing to others.
On Death and Dying
This incident makes me realized
that we are all not prepared for death. In fact, we fear death. Our
modern society and culture have always sold us the idea and belief that
death is an adversary - a foe to fight against or resist.
Six Months to Live and
On the day a woman learns she has only a short time to live, she
meets someone who shows her the humorous side.
Spring Forever In My Heart
Some people remain a part of who you are forever. You cannot
possibly go through a day without thinking about them. Their beautiful
spirit gently nudges your heart each time you hear their name. The very
thought of them stirs within your soul like the sweet fragrance of a
Dr. Tim Ong is a medical doctor with keen interests in self
improvement, mind science and spirituality. He also teaches
meditation and volunteers his service to the local hospice
services. He is the author of "From Fear to Love: A Spiritual
Journey", available here