Overcoming the Fear of Death – Mastery of Life When You Are Down

It seems when we hit Fiftyish, Sixtyish, and so on, we concern ourselves more with overcoming the fear of death. This subject was a topic for discussion at a conference where I’d spoke in Eureka Springs, AR, and I was astonished how many individuals deal with fear of death anxiety, and how many others seem to be more in tune with their eternal Self.

So, in this article for those who may tilt toward being afraid of dying, I share my own thoughts and experience where there was nowhere to hide from the grim reaper.

When I first entered prison my way of “taking the bull by the horns,” miracle mindedness, I like to say,  was to ask myself what seemed to be frightening: “What is the worst thing that can possibly happen to me?”

After carefully considering this, I accepted the fact that I could possibly be killed in a number of violent ways. 

Facing the idea of overcoming the fear of death by focussing more on bringing my dreams to reality–getting my books published, kept me from stepping backwards, deeper into fear. 

I kept writing about what I was seeing and surely didn’t want to take the “Detour into Fear,” as the Course in Miracles states.

Being Afraid of Dying

This truth alone allowed my fear to wade in shallow water. 

The thoughts I’d have of overcoming the fear of death helped with a clear decision as to how I would carry myself in the event I was approached in a violent manner.

Of course, this most inevitable showdown did present itself, many times, especially more so in the early stages of my prison confinement, and the threats and fear of death anxiety did hang in the air till the minute of my release from prison after 8 long years.

My method for overcoming the fear of death, instilled in me somehow, was to stand there, face to face with the individual and with no weapon of my own, such as the commonly used shank. 

My eye contact has always assured the culprit that I wanted no trouble, however I was always ready to handle myself physically if I had to. But somewhere along the line, I’d learned to communicate with others and build some sort of relationship.

Usually the result had been the confrontation ending in some sort of peaceful resolve. 

The Course in Miracles states, “The children of God cannot abide in darkness, for darkness is not in them.”

Unfortunately, there was an incident where dodging a shank did get me a mop handle slammed into my ribcage, from which I suffered bruised ribs that took six months to heal.  Another event resulted in many stitches in the back of my head.

The Truth about Fear of Death Anxiety

But the truth I decided to live with for overcoming the fear of death was that if I were to be seriously hurt, disabled, or killed—which, by the way, does happen more than just occasionally—I would still be who I am while living in eternity. 

This attitude may seem unlikely, but if you were ever faced with this, with nowhere to run and hide, you would have no choice but to make some serious decisions in preparation for eventualities.

I was able, somehow, automatically it seemed, to develop a sense of not being afraid of dying and no fear of losing my body to any such fate.  

Routinely I would ask myself, “What is the worst thing that can happen to me?”  And let me add that, getting through tough times is why I urge you to learn mindfulness meditation techniques.

Then I would live out my days in that thought and continue to meditate often. 

This type of quickly learned faith for overcoming the fear of death has shown me an Intelligence of the Universe that cannot be topped. 

This may seem to you some sort of brave front I had been wearing as a denial of being afraid of dying. 

It sure is denial, but only to the ego.

I can tell you that from my own experiences there in prison, if we merely ask for the light of truth to come and meet us, it will come in an instant. 

When we really know in a personal way of the light within us, shining bright as we travel our path, fear of death anxiety is impossible. 

But so often we refuse this knowledge, and this is the denial. Yes, it is denying the power of your mind!

How the Fear of Death Restricts us

The dream of life, time, and space ruled by darkened thought in this world has been so misleadingly cruel, and we’re all deep into it as a whole. 

Thus fear of death restricts our eyes from opening long enough from our dream state to allow the light to permeate.

The Course in Miracles expresses this ever so poignantly:  “A little flicker of your eyelids, closed for so long, has not been sufficient to give you confidence in yourself, so long despised.”

So what you can do to side more with your awakened Self, is to enjoy more great times with those family and friends you cherish. Don’t be shy on trying out newer ideas and things that are challenging.

Don’t fear a critical and judgmental world.

Most importantly, always be involved and active while engaging with others. If someone irks you, then get a grip on it!

(Please note I also suggest a related article on overcoming frustration and managing anxiety by opening up your mind to the light of truth.)

To living in this world without fear,

James Nussbaumer

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I hope you benefit from the video version of this article!


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