Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Dealing with ghosts

I recently visited SeaWorld in San Diego, and saw a children's 3-D film about ghosts. Watching the film made me realise that we all have to deal with the ghosts in our lives. A ghost cannot "scare you to death" - after all, a ghost is made of ectoplasm and can do nothing by himself. However, if you are scared of a ghost, this fear can scare you into jumping out of the window and leaping to your death. I guess many fears and worries in our lives are like ghosts - and once we realise they have no power over us except what we choose to give them, our lives will become more liveable ! A good example of such a ghost would be the fear of death amongst many patients. It's an irrational fear - after all, there is no reason to believe that death is unpleasant or painful. Why then, so we worry so much about it ? Maybe we need to treat this fear as a ghost and say "Boo " to it !

1 comment:

  1. Dear Doctor,

    Namaste. I have experienced the fear of death and also what I believe to be a near death experience.

    The fear of death is very tangible. You automatically fear death and also the process of death. To realise this we need to study the process of death.

    As per Sogyal Rinpoche in his classic, "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying", the process of death entails the separation of the elements air, water, fire, earth and space. When these elements start separating a lot of discomfort is felt. The senses loose their power, there is extreme insatiable thirst, a clammy cold sensation grips the body, the body feels extremely heavy and then, as the prana starts withdrawing from the body, everything becomes numb.

    I have gone upto the clammy cold sensation which crept up from the feet and travelled upwards. When this icy cold sensation reached my heart region I felt uncontrollable fear.

    Moreover the person at his death bed starts viewing his entire life in retrospect. If he has not prepared for death by leading a highly spiritual life, the repentance of having wasted a wonderful oppurtunity to seek the meaning of life can be very very disconcerting.

    Next as the prana starts leaving the body (this process may extend beyond clinical death), an extreme fear of loosing ones distinct identity engulfs the unfortunate person. This fear of loosing EVERYTHING cannot be described in words.

    Therefore we have to recognise and respect the fear of death. It is no ghost that can be booed away. It is very tangible, very real.

    The best anyone can do for any terminally ill person is to prepare him for death by allowing him to practice his religion in urnest and urging him to detach himself from the individual ego and merge himself into the Universal Consciousness. Then the death process becomes easier to bear.



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