Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

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Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ashley72 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:23 am

Ramana Maharshi had an intense experience of death (fear of death or FOD) in his seventeenth year. His own experience of FOD seems to mimic my own experience of FOD at the onset of my own panic disorder over 7 years ago. The main difference between his experience & mine... was he used exposure therapy on his FOD almost immediately, whereas i didn't surrender to the fear... and as a result my ego identity was transformed into an agoraphobic, whereas he seemed to awakened to his irrational mind & as a result dis-identified with his thinking mind or ego.

Here is a link to the account of Ramana's own Fear of Death Experience
http://luthar.com/on-death-and-dying-wo ... -maharshi/

These days, you here a lot about Ramana's teachings in respect to his "Whom am I?" Self inquiry. But is this type of inquiry really what needs to be done in order to overcome irrational beliefs? Was this the inquiry he used to overcome his FOD? No, what freed him from his panic disorder was the immediate exposure to the FOD.

Fear of Death From Anxiety Attacks
Your heartbeat races. You feel sharp pains in your chest. The room appears to be spinning out of control. You don't know what's going on, but you know that something bad is happening. It feels like a heart attack, and you feel doom, as though the world is about to end.

You feel like you're about to die. Then all of the sudden nothing happens, the fear generally starts to fade away (leaving you feeling drained), and you're left wondering whether something is wrong with your health.

What you may have had was a panic attack, and the fear of death is a symptom of the attack. Here the fear of death is caused by several factors:

Fight or Flight Rush
Anxiety is a poorly performing fight or flight system, which is the system that your body activates when it's experiencing severe danger. An anxiety attack is essentially the peak of this fear. Your body rushes with an intense amount of adrenaline, and this alters your brain chemistry and thought patterns to tell you that you're in grave danger.

It's the same way you would feel if you were holding onto a ledge above a 10 story building. Your body is telling you that you need to be very afraid because your life is in danger. Unfortunately, in the case of panic attacks, your body is wrong, and the result is a feeling of death and doom despite no danger present.

Symptoms of Serious Disorders
Panic attack/anxiety attack symptoms are also very similar to other major health problems. Many panic attacks are so severe that they directly resemble heart attacks and heart failure. Thousands of people are hospitalized every year because of their panic attacks, only to find that their heart is in good health.

But during a panic attack, it's very easy to not believe that anxiety can be causing the problem. After all, the pains and sensations are all real, and many people cannot help but fear that they indicate something very serious and that if left untreated, you may be likely to die. It's a very common problem in those with anxiety, even after doctor's visits.

This is likely to contribute to a long term fear of death, as well as a fear of further panic attacks because of a concern that they're something other than anxiety.
Last edited by ashley72 on Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:56 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby Fore » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:28 am

Birth is far more scary than death.
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ashley72 » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:48 am

Fear of Death Phobia – a Cause

The more official name of the phobia where one fears dying is Thanatophobia. Thanatophobia is not always a phobia. Remember, nearly everyone fears death in some way. While some people fear it more than others, there is some degree of fear that is actually healthy. If you didn't fear death, you may put yourself in many significant dangers.

It's only when the phobia drastically alters the way you live your life that it becomes a serious problem. If you go out of your way to avoid social situations, or you are intensely afraid of anything that even resembles danger to the point where it causes significant disruption in your life, your fear of death may be a more serious problem.

There are also lesser fears of death that aren't necessarily a problem but may develop other problems. Some theorize that many people with panic attacks may already have a fear of death, which is why their panic attacks were so severe. It's important to talk to a therapist if you are unsure whether your fear of death is a cause of a symptom of your anxiety.

Can You Treat the Fear of Death?
Treating the fear of death is a bit tricky, because it's a fear that is generally healthy to have. You would never want your fear of death to go away completely. You simply want it to stop running your life.

You'll first have to find out if the fear of death is a symptom or a cause. If it's a phobia, you'll need to address it like any other phobia – see how your fear of death affects you and try to utilize desensitization techniques so that the fear isn't as powerful.

If it's a symptom, then you don't want to target the fear of death itself. Instead, you want to target the type of anxiety that is causing those death fears. Only then should you successfully be able to live a life where the fear of death has less of an impact.


In the case of both Ramana & I, our FOD was the result of the escalating of an anxiety disorder to a panic disorder.

What I mean by that, is you initially start to think about your immortality, which is often triggered by the loss of a loved one. Which was the case for both Ramana & I. We then treat this thought of immortality as "dangerous". This in turn triggers the fight or flight response and we get increased Heart-rate, shallow breaths etc. unwanted physical sensations and more unwanted thoughts of death. We then further treat this symptoms as "dangerous", which is the 2nd order anxiety condition... This is what creates the positive feedback loop or panic cycle... Which greatly escalates the unwanted physical & mental symptoms of anxiety.

The sufferer needs to be fooled by the anxiety trick on two occasions in sequence in order to activate a positive feedback loop or positive gain... Whereby our belief acts on behaviour and our behaviour then acts back on belief in a vicious cycle. You recover by suspending you belief (FOD) and conducting exposure to the "thought" of immortality!
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby peas » Sat Feb 15, 2014 6:27 am

Self inquiry is exposure therapy in its true application. Not a means to an end, psychological tool to minimise pain. But an end in itself, to evaporate pain once and for all.
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ihavemorethanenough » Sun Aug 03, 2014 12:14 am

How is the fear of death suspended?
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby Scouser » Tue Aug 19, 2014 6:37 pm

We are hard wired to fear death, it's a biological thing. I recently read a book called "staring at the sun" by Yalom, Which talks about FOD in some detail. It had lots of helpful insights, you may some comfort in this..

One of my own favourite quotations by Mark Twain " I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it..

From non being to non being
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby Webwanderer » Thu Aug 21, 2014 4:48 am

Scouser wrote:From non being to non being

Or maybe from one perspective of being to another.

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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ihavemorethanenough » Tue Sep 09, 2014 7:38 pm

ashley72 wrote:
You recover by suspending you belief (FOD) and conducting exposure to the "thought" of immortality!


How is the fear of death suspended?
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ashley72 » Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:57 pm

ihavemorethanenough wrote:How is the fear of death suspended?


The same with all Fears. You stop treating the "object" of your attention as "Dangerous". In this case the object is "Dying". But it could be "flying", "Driving" or nearly anything.

To do this you need to first expose yourself to the thought of Dying (the object of your attention).

So just start thinking about Dying should automatically trigger the fear response if you have a pre-existing fear of dying. Now, rather than try and avoid the thought of dying you need to stay with the fearful thoughts until the fear subsides. If the fear gets stronger, its because you're now treating the symptoms of fear... "increasing heart rate, more intrusive thoughts, sweaty palms as dangerous". By treating the symptoms of fear as dangerous you are creating a positive feedback loop. i.e you are treating the symptoms of danger as danger in an increasing loop.

As long as you stop treating of the symptoms of danger as danger you will be able to sit with the thought of death until the fear subsides.

So to Summarize;

1. Expose yourself to the object causing fear. In this case the thought of Dying.
2. Let the fear symptoms arise, sweaty palms, increase heart-rate, obtrusive thoughts
3. Don't treat the symptoms of fear as dangerous... otherwise the symptoms of fear will increase (positive feedback loop).
4. Stay with the object until the fear subsides.
5. Repeat exposure until you no longer have a fear of object.
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby Webwanderer » Sun Sep 14, 2014 6:36 am

ihavemorethanenough wrote:How is the fear of death suspended?

Is it death you fear, or is it dying? Your answer will be helpful in finding more clarity.

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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby karmarider » Sun Sep 14, 2014 1:22 pm

ashley72 wrote:Ramana Maharshi had an intense experience of death (fear of death or FOD) in his seventeenth year. His own experience of FOD seems to mimic my own experience of FOD at the onset of my own panic disorder over 7 years ago. The main difference between his experience & mine... was he used exposure therapy on his FOD almost immediately, whereas i didn't surrender to the fear... and as a result my ego identity was transformed into an agoraphobic, whereas he seemed to awakened to his irrational mind & as a result dis-identified with his thinking mind or ego.


It's an interesting theory. It's plausible and consistent with my experience.

When fear comes up, what happens if, instead of recoiling from it as most of us do, we go right into it?
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ihavemorethanenough » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:39 pm

ashley72 wrote:
ihavemorethanenough wrote:How is the fear of death suspended?


The same with all Fears. You stop treating the "object" of your attention as "Dangerous". In this case the object is "Dying". But it could be "flying", "Driving" or nearly anything.

To do this you need to first expose yourself to the thought of Dying (the object of your attention).

So just start thinking about Dying should automatically trigger the fear response if you have a pre-existing fear of dying. Now, rather than try and avoid the thought of dying you need to stay with the fearful thoughts until the fear subsides. If the fear gets stronger, its because you're now treating the symptoms of fear... "increasing heart rate, more intrusive thoughts, sweaty palms as dangerous". By treating the symptoms of fear as dangerous you are creating a positive feedback loop. i.e you are treating the symptoms of danger as danger in an increasing loop.

As long as you stop treating of the symptoms of danger as danger you will be able to sit with the thought of death until the fear subsides.

So to Summarize;

1. Expose yourself to the object causing fear. In this case the thought of Dying.
2. Let the fear symptoms arise, sweaty palms, increase heart-rate, obtrusive thoughts
3. Don't treat the symptoms of fear as dangerous... otherwise the symptoms of fear will increase (positive feedback loop).
4. Stay with the object until the fear subsides.
5. Repeat exposure until you no longer have a fear of object.


from what I gather, what you're saying is this:

to suspend the fear of death you must bring it about, and when it leaves you no longer have it.

to bring it about, you must turn on the thought of the fear of death, and after the thought and the symptoms it produces leave, you know that you have suspended the fear of death.

if we suppose that the thought of the fear of death is the object itself, the fear of death, and that we turn it on, look at it for a while (see the sweaty hands and increasing heart rate, etc) and do this for a while until the thought and the symptoms subside, we no longer have the increased symptoms and the thought therefore we know that the fear of death is suspdended.


that is if I've understood you correctly


has the fear of death been suspdended? the thought of the fear of death was turned on but has the actual fear of death been touched, at all?
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ihavemorethanenough » Sun Sep 14, 2014 3:45 pm

Webwanderer wrote:
ihavemorethanenough wrote:How is the fear of death suspended?

Is it death you fear, or is it dying? Your answer will be helpful in finding more clarity.

WW


Both, but death would be at the top of the list. Dying not as high on the list. Death while dying would be the absolute worst.
Is it death you fear, or is it dying? (or is it neither)
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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby Webwanderer » Sun Sep 14, 2014 5:24 pm

ihavemorethanenough wrote:
Webwanderer wrote:
ihavemorethanenough wrote:How is the fear of death suspended?

Is it death you fear, or is it dying? Your answer will be helpful in finding more clarity.

WW


Both, but death would be at the top of the list. Dying not as high on the list. Death while dying would be the absolute worst.
Is it death you fear, or is it dying? (or is it neither)

If it's death you fear, then what about it do you fear? Is it the concern over non-existence? Or is it a concern over potential punishment/exposure/judgment/hell/etc.? Or is it something else entirely. If you want to overcome your fear, let's explore a little.

As for me, I have no fear of death. Rather I look forward to it, kind of like going home after a long and arduous journey. Dying is another matter and I don't relish the potential for pain and lingering illness. I don't linger on the concern however. I'm sure it will be okay however it happens.

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Re: Ramana Maharishi's Fear Of Death Experience

Postby ashley72 » Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:51 am

The human fear circuit springs into action whenever we treat some thing as "danger". The thing we treat as dangerous doesn't need to have a physical presence (in the Now) even "mental thoughts" can trigger our fight or flight response. Simply thinking about future consequence can make a person shit themselves!

So if we are sitting thinking about "death" and we treat it as dangerous our body will react with symptoms of fear... Increased heart rate, sweaty palms. If we then treat the very symptoms of danger as danger we have a panic cycle... increase in fear symptoms. This kind of response to fear is a disorder of sorts... once you see the pattern you stop falling for the anxiety trick.

Repeated exposure to learnt fear.... and staying with the fear until it subsides is how we overcome any kind of panic cycle, OCD or GAD. If one tries to make the fear subside by avoidance the fear will actually be more intense on the next fear exposure. People that become prone to disorders usually habitually use avoidance to reduce fear. This is exactly what you don't want to do if you want to overcome irrational fear for good.

I'm almost 100% recovered from a range of disorders I use to have . I succeeded in doing this by exposing myself to those fears until I no longer got symptoms. I now almost completely zone out or switch off in situations I use to be extremely hyper vigilant & panicked. My brain primarily uses the diffused thinking mode rather than a focused mode in those situations.

Neurologically speaking I'm using my ventral stream not my dorsal stream in respect to attention.
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