Q: One and a half years ago I had a lot of problems with my heart, the rhythm of it, and since then I have a crazy fear of death.
John: You’re speaking of your physical heart?
Q: Yes. I cannot do any jogging without fear. Can you say something about it or have a practical exercise for me to overcome it?
John: You overcome death every time you go to sleep. When you are relaxed, you don’t fear dying because you can’t relate to dying. When you are relaxed, you relate to you. What enables you to go to sleep is you relating directly to you. As you cease to relate to your day and to things that matter to you in your life, when you lie down to go to sleep, you end up relating just to you, and you go to sleep.
Q: But in the sleep I’m not conscious about it.
John: But you slip away and you’re not afraid of slipping away. When you die, you also slip away.
Q: I feel like it’s a clinging. I want to do this. I want to…
John: You’ve convinced your self of that. That isn’t what you most know. You’re not honestly afraid of dying. It was through a problem with your body that you took to heart certain thoughts and certain feelings. You drew conclusions within your self and those conclusions conditioned your self to make you afraid of dying.
You’re afraid of a problem arising with your heart because of the experience that that gives you in your body, but that’s not a fear of dying. What that is, is that you’re apprehensive of the discomfort and the strange kind of pain in your body when there’s a problem with your heart.
Q: I have the idea that it must be something to do with death.
John: Yes. You’ve concluded that. When you draw conclusions you make something actual, and in your experience you make it real, even if it’s not real.
You became unreasonably tense in the midst of your physical heart problem and within that unreasonable amount of tension that you engaged in, you drew conclusions. You gave emotion to particular thoughts. It doesn’t matter what those thoughts are, then. Whatever they are, you make them real in your self.
When you have strong thoughts that this difficulty that you have with your physical heart is going to cause death and you give emotion to those strong thoughts, you make clear that you’re afraid of dying. You created that.
Q: But why am I doing this?
John: You do that because it fortifies your experience of your self, even if it’s a negative experience. Fear grounds you in your self. It enables you to immediately strongly experience your self.
Experience in your self is not a true way of being grounded in reality. There’s only one way to be grounded in reality and it isn’t based on experience. It isn’t based on your self. It’s based on you being what you really are, regardless of what you’re thinking or feeling in your self. That makes you more stable than your self. When you are more stable than your self, you’re grounded. You’re grounded in reality. You’re grounded, based in something that cannot be shaken.
Your self can be shaken. Your body can be shaken. If having good health is what makes you feel grounded, that can be easily upset in a way that is beyond your control. As soon as something affects your body, you’re no longer grounded. If you being grounded is based on how you experience your self, your experience of your self can be shaken.
When you realize it can be shaken and you continue needing to find the ground in your self, then you’ll use your own realization of experience to ground you. Then, instead of needing to be grounded in a positive experience, you’ll use a negative experience. When you have negative emotion, that grounds you. When you feel ungrounded, all you need to do if you want to be grounded in your feelings is to become upset and angry, and you’re grounded. If you feel ungrounded, be angry and you’re grounded. But that’s not real groundedness.
Real groundedness is accomplished by you being what you really are, which is not based on any experience of your self. That’s what enables you to be more than your self, so it enables you to be stabilizing your self because you are clearer than your self. That enables you to be within your self in a way that guides your self and your experience.
You’re not afraid of dying. You’re not honestly afraid of dying. What you are is not afraid of dying. For you to die is for you to slip away, out of everything familiar, and what you’re presently in becomes over and gone.
You go through that every time you go to sleep. You have an understanding as a person what happens when you go to sleep. It’s a very superficial understanding. What you understand is that you wake up again, but that’s based on your past experience. When you realize the deeper levels of what sleep is, you don’t understand sleep. You don’t know what sleep is. You know that it is good, but you don’t know what it is, so you enter the unknown when you go to sleep. You are at ease in entering the unknown because you know that the unknown that you enter is goodness. That alleviates you of having to understand what is taking place when you go to sleep.
You may also be afraid of pain, but when you are, even in great pain, you are still able to completely relax as awareness. When you are in great pain you are still able to slip away. You’re still able to turn into just you, regardless of your day, regardless of your person, your self or your pain. When your body is in real pain or when you’re in great emotional pain, you are still able, in the midst of that, to fall asleep. Right there, you fear neither pain nor dying.
You put ideas around dying and ideas around pain, physical and emotional. What you fear are those ideas. The reality of dying or pain, the reality of any experience, does not prevent you from relaxing into you simply being you. Nothing prevents that. You don’t actually fear anything.
Realize the simplicity, the directness of you and, as soon as you do, there’s love. What you really are is not fear; what you really are is love.
You’ve created an idea with your thinking. You given the impactiveness of emotion to those thoughts and to that idea. You tricked your self. You’re so good at what you do that that trick held. It’s like a trap. You made the trap work. You stepped into it, and it held. Anything that touches the idea that you made work puts you into fear. It’s not real because it’s not you. The trap can be undone. It is directly undone by you simply being what you really are in the midst of the trap: you being you, despite being trapped.
When you are you, you are not trapped. You created the trap. You gave the trap reality in your self. It exists only in your self. When you genuinely and deeply relax in your self despite the trap, when that which made the trap unconditionally relaxes, the trap relaxes. But, if you in a strange kind of way have come to appreciate the trap because it seems to hold permanently so you don’t need to do anything and you’re grounded in an experience, the trap gives importance to your self.
You experience that you’re in trouble. When you’re in trouble, your self is made important. Trouble, that trouble, gives you an immediate importance, a self-importance. That makes your self more than you. That makes your self master of you, even though your self isn’t even like your own being. Your self is an incomplete servant of you. If you teach your self to be a monster to you, it will be that. If you teach it well enough, you’ll believe your experience in it.
Look at all the attention that’s come to your self. How many people have you gone to with this great trouble of yours, your fear of dying?
In one way, perhaps you’ve never had it so good!
When you’re relaxed and you hear what you know is the truth, regardless of your experience, you love the truth. You love hearing the truth. You love responding to the truth. You love knowing it, seeing it, being it and doing it, because all of that is what is really you.
You can tell those who are closest to you that you’re not afraid of dying any more, so they can all have their lives back.