Overcoming the Fear of Death
By Harold Klemp
If Eckankar can offer people anything, it’s how to get over the fear of death. A woman, who found ECK during Paul Twitchell’s time, disagreed with her former church’s teaching that the dead remained unconscious in a black grave until Judgment Day. In her heart, she simply knew that was untrue. She began a search for books on reincarnation in bookstores and libraries. “Do you know how few books there were on reincarnation twenty years ago?” she asked. But Paul’s message of ECK gave her a hope such as she had never thought to find. He said that Soul is eternal, and that whoever is on “the high path of ECK always dwells in the spiritual planes.”
The consciousness of the public has indeed become broader since then, but death still alarms people. A common belief is that both the good and the evil are in their graves until the Last Day. This means that any of our loved ones who have passed on—father, mother, brother, or sister—are not in heaven at all, but in the ground. Job, the Old Testament figure, must still be there, waiting patiently, thirty-five centuries later.
When I was in college, a pop-psychology quiz made the rounds among the students. The idea was to unlock an individual’s unconscious feelings about life and death. One question was, “You come to a wall in the woods. What kind of wall do you see, and can you get over it?” Unknown to those who took the test, the wall was to signify death. Responses were on this order: (1) “I see a castle wall—and you must be kidding, nobody gets over that!” (2) “It is an earthen wall that reaches to my chest. I could get over it if I tried.” (3) “There is a low rock wall covered with ivy; it’s easy to get over, but the dirt on it makes it messy.”
Any who are like those in the first group see death as an insurmountable obstacle. Fear, no doubt, rules them, and they miss much of the enjoyment that life offers. For those in the second group, death is a minor challenge, but they are sure to go through the experience fairly well when it comes. The people in the last group are not at all frightened. Death is an event of slight inconvenience in the continuity of life. Death is but one line in the Book of Life. Life expands forever into greater circles; death is just a springboard.
Many years ago, a woman suffered a serious accident and was pronounced clinically dead. During her absence from the body, she went to a place where nine men around a table (ECK Masters) made a decision to heal her crushed lungs so she could return to earth and accomplish what she had come here to do. They did not heal all her injuries but enough of them so she could go on with her spiritual unfoldment. She was given a new lease on life because this was the lifetime she was to make great spiritual gains that would not be possible under easier conditions.
Then, five years ago, the Mahanta again took her out of the body, this time to the Causal Plane, where a guardian let her read her past-life records. This spiritual being was so gentle and loving that she begged to remain, but he said it was necessary for her to return to her body. Her learning would be speeded up so that she would never have to return to another earthly life after this one.
Death is simply the end of something in a known form that reappears as a new beginning. There are more aspects to death than the demise of the physical body. Another variation of death is the end of a relationship. This is usually a painful time for one or the other of the two parties, but the spiritual help of the Mahanta is there, if one should ask for it and can accept it.
A man wrote that he loved a woman who did not return his love. Until then, he had been certain that he could calmly accept any test from the Master, but this situation left him helpless, on the verge of an emotional breakdown. When he was about to break, he finally thought to ask the Mahanta for help while in contemplation. On the inner planes, he was put on a beautiful old sailing ship without sails that was moored near a sandy beach. This was his dream boat, but the mast empty of sails meant that all he wanted or desired in this relationship was going nowhere. On the mast was a button, which if he pushed it, would blow up and destroy all his lovely dreams. But he had to do it if he wanted any peace, even though it would be painful to shatter his dreams.
So he pushed the button, destroyed the old ship, and watched it sink to the bottom of the sea, never to rise again. When he realized the finality of his deed, he became quite emotional, and for a moment he experienced intense sorrow and loss. But then, unexpectedly, came the feeling of freedom and relaxation; his burden lifted. The Mahanta, who was his companion in this drama, then lifted him to a higher level of consciousness and led him into “a rich, green, warm, bright land” that the ECK initiate was ready to explore now.
This was a profound spiritual experience that left him detached about that relationship, because he knew it was up to him to do something about it, one way or the other—if he wished. The end of a relationship, like all endings, is really the beginning of a new spiritual chapter for us.
The key to survival here and in the afterlife is the ability to yield. The Shariyat says that “he who can yield, can survive both here in life and in the invisible worlds.” This means letting go of old ideas such as what supposedly happens to Soul after the death of the body. It’s also learning how to regain serenity when our routines are shaken up and we are bruised.
Excerpted from Wisdom of the Heart, Book 1.
A Writing Exercise for You
How does yielding help you navigate through this life and beyond?