What Am I Afraid Of?

SO MANY EVENTS, I’m finding now, ideas that I should have learned in high school.

When someone’s angry, for instance, I didn’t learn what one needs to say to them (except get away, to myself).  Now I’ve learned that the question for me, if not to the Angry One, is: What am I afraid of losing?  Anger is always fear.  And fear is always about losing something that matters to one.

I am almost never angry, but when that happens and I ask what am I afraid of losing, there’s an answer right top of all that emotion.  I’m going to lose my freedom; I’m going to lose my right to be by myself; I’m going to lose my independence;  I’m going to lose the company of a friend.

When I answer what am I afraid of, my earth mind is quick and true: “I’m going to lose my…” and the answer is one or two words.   I can explain those words or not, I can fight (which has never physically been necessary in my life) or flee, which I’ve done time and again, this lifetime.

Even while I was with the Air Force, the guns were never loaded to fire at human beings…just targets in the wilderness.  While flying, I was never angry, nor can I remember any of the other pilots angry, either.  We could be frightened, but never did it jump to angry.

That was a good thing to learn, no matter how late it came for me.

Nowadays, or Thenadays, something that threatened loved one’s lives, or my own, would tick me off.  Not so much now.  Nothing threatens the one friend I care about, and as far as I can tell, nothing threatens my life, either.

There’s a odd thing that happens to most near-death-experiencers…they come back from dying and they’re no longer frightened of it.  Maybe the definition of Death has changed for them.  It has for me!  It changed because there was nothing painful, waiting for me, I didn’t even realize I had died.  The airplane crashed and I didn’t know it till a week or so later.

The illusion that I was making a wonderful soft landing on a farmer’s landing strip continued for a minute after the airplane was caught in the wires and slammed inverted onto the ground.  No crash, no sudden change in her flying.  I was a spirit pilot in a spirit airplane, both of us perfect.  I had no shadow that anything was wrong until a week later, when I woke in a hospital bed, of all places.

Nowadays, something threatens to kill me, I’m not angry: “Oh, time to go home?  Fine!”  My bags are packed.  How is it that people hearing a medical verdict of death can keep from smiling?  We’re all heading home, and sorrow is a mortal’s game, not a spirit’s.  Try it.  Shift into your spirit’s mind, right now, and ask if your spirit is sorrowful about dying.

What can we lose, here, as mortals?  Our houses and airplanes, the things of our lives?  Not necessary at home.  Lose our lives?  Funny…but impossible.  Our friendships, our loves?  Can’t lose love from dying.  It may seem to end to a mortal survivor, but it’s there all at once, soon as they fly home.

A long time, being separated?  Hardly.  Take your memory of your life – does it seem a long time ago, when you were six or ten?  It’s a few minutes gone in time.

Sure enough, our belief of days going forward in time is awfully slow, like a horizon we’re driving toward, in a car, while the past is lightning gone.  The slow time is necessary for us to care for the details of the future.

Long waits to bear between friends?  Not true at home…how often do dear departed friends tell us they can’t wait to see us again?  As far as I know, never; while we mortals can miss them terribly, year after year.

A big change for me: since the crash, the belief of death is nothing!

If I were going to move through an arched doorway into a room of old friends, into a delight of beliefs, into a homecoming, would it seem like a strange event for me?  Welcome, certainly; but strange?  Not a moment! We’re there in a second, we don’t miss the ones who are connected to us, the ones who stay as mortals for a while… we’ll see them in dreams every night, which they mostly forget but we as spirit, never do.

The only times I’m afraid, now, is when I’ve forgotten home, and tune to the beliefs of mortals.  And a mortal I guess I believe I shall be, for a while yet.  Soon as I remember home, though, there’s no fear.

Mortality is a lonely place for a few of us.  We live since most of us promised to hang on even when we found that home is infinitely to be preferred, but leaving here is not for a single second a sad event for us.  Some things to do, and do them we shall, but going home?  That’s a rainbow!

7 thoughts on “What Am I Afraid Of?

  1. “The only times I’m afraid, now, is when I’ve forgotten home, and tune to the beliefs of mortals.”

    I think that’s the key, and it makes perfect sense to me. Maybe a fear of death is nothing more than an attachment to physical objects. I don’t know. Yet I do enjoy believing in dangers sometimes, maybe to relearn something I’d forgotten? Far more questions than answers.

    Looking at it from the other direction, I’ve never understood grief. Those close to me who’ve died don’t seem far away. Yet to others, it’s a huge loss. I respect that, but I can’t figure out why I should be any different. I’ve never considered myself to be particularly advanced spiritually, if anything I’m still in spiritual kindergarten! So many things to think about! Which is good, my mind needs the exercise. 🙂

  2. I started learning this lesson soon after my divorce. I was hanging onto my anger thinking that is was helping me to move on with my life. Shortly after I moved to my new home, my new friends talked me into going to a workshop called “Love Is Letting Go of Fear” with Jerry Jampolsky and his partner. While he was talking about how anger is actually fear, he caught my eye and came over — telling me what I was feeling and why, mentioning the divorce. I felt like he could see inside me — and I knew he could. Already believing that teachers come to you when you’re ready to learn from them, I really listened and did what he asked us to do. Before hand I had been assigned to be the volunteer who drove him back to his hotel so we talked some more; I saw him again several years later when we both attended an author talk you did. here. As we both lined up to talk with you, I mentioned that workshop and how it had helped me, He smiled and gave me a hug saying he remembered that workshop.

    One of the new friends who had guided me to that workshop was a man named Tom Crum who teaches conflict resolution skills and aikido. While he teaches people to look beneath their anger to find what they really fear, he uses an acronym that defines the word “fear” as F,E.A.R. is “False Evidence Appearing Real”. I try to remember that.

    The first few times I experienced someone I cared about departing from here I was really sad and cried a lot even though I believed that they were going Home. Then later in life, especially after reading “Jonathon” the first time, I came to see that (at least for most if not all of them) their departure from here was a time of joy and peace for them. Now when someone departs I still feel some sadness but I also find myself feeling happy for them because they’ve gone Home. For me this is especially true if they had a lot of problems and were really unhappy staying here — like my friend who departed a few days ago — because I hope that now they can find answers to their problems when they are ready.

    Like I said before though, I am still very happy that you decided to come back for a while!


  3. The definition of death changed for me the night my mother died. One minute, she was telling me from her bed just two feet away that she needed to sit up. By the time I crossed those two feet, she was gone. I reached for her hands, she didn’t reach back. I asked her to blink if she could hear me, she didn’t blink. There was love and reassurance shining out of her eyes for a few more seconds, and then, her soul left, and only her frail, worn-out body remained. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen, except for the moments when I’d first held my newborn children. A soul arriving on earth and a soul leaving earth….awe-inspiring.

  4. I couldn’t agree more. Home is a beautiful place where the people I love await my return. Fear is forgetting we have such a home to return to.

  5. Richard:

    Like yourself I experienced my death in a plane crash, last July. I was only gone for 20 minutes, or so. I no longer have a fear of being killed or dying as I did. Surviving does hurt like hell, and I would rather not endure that again. It has taught me a great appreciation for my family and friends that cared for, and looked after me. I, also have found that I do not have the energy, nor time, to let small things distract from enjoying life, and the people in my life. I saw Puff while at Sun N Fun and she looked radiant and ready for adventure. Is she home yet? I know how beautiful the Islands can be this time of year. I have many hundreds of hours chasing the winds of Puget Sound. Wally Olsen taught me to fly in 1972.

  6. Richard, what a beautiful und comforting post!

    As a wise man once said: “The fears we feel are in direct proportion to our attachment to the World of Appearances.”
    or simply:
    Perfect Love casts out fear… 🙂

  7. One of my favorite articles about life and death is a transcript of a talk called “Death Does Not Exist” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, the death and dying expert, that she gave in the 1970s. There are some wonderful stories and phrases in her talk: “I’m going to talk to you about love today. Which is life, and death; it is all the same thing.” And “[my] real job … is to tell people that death does not exist. It is very important that mankind knows that, because we are at the beginning of a very difficult time.”
    I first read this in Coevolution Quarterly, Summer 1977, but it’s now online:

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