Fear is natural, but it can feel overwhelming. We provide some suggestions to address it.
In dying, as in any other phase of living, it is normal to feel fear sometimes. Fear is an inbuilt mechanism that warns us to be alert: danger could be at hand. So it is not something to be ignored. However, when fear threatens to overwhelm us or when we are chronically anxious, fear is counter-productive. Then it is no longer protecting us but blocking our ability to live as we’d like to.
There are several ways to reduce fear or even to have it disappear altogether. The first step is acceptance. Only in facing whatever feeling might be troubling us can we go beyond it.
When we stop fighting with what is, miraculously the problems we had created can disappear. If, in spite of acknowledging fear you feel you need more support, here are four suggestions to consider.
1) Talk to a good listener
A good listener doesn’t judge you or leap in with advice when you’d rather they just let you talk – or cry or whatever. They understand that by your talking about your feelings, those emotions move from the basement of your mind into the light of day and that that can help you to find some clarity and understanding.
The ‘good listener’ might be a friend or family member. Yet in some instances you might feel more comfortable talking to someone you don’t know, such as a professional counsellor. (Maneesha and Sudheer offer individual counselling sessions in person or by Skype.)
2) Let it be – and Watch!
Osho suggests that if fear is creating a trembling inside, rather than trying to ignore it or repress it, just tremble. Try this Trembling Meditation….
Allow it to happen. It will go by itself. There will be a shaking and a trembling; it will be just like an earthquake. The whole soul will be disturbed by it. But let it be. Don’t try to do anything with it because all that you can do will again be suppression. Just by allowing it to be, by letting it be, it will leave you – and when it has left, you will be altogether a different man.
The cyclone has gone and you will now be centred, centered as you never were before. And once you know the art of letting things be, you will know one of the master keys that opens all the inner doors. Then whatsoever the case is, let it be; don’t avoid it.
Remain a witness and allow whatsoever happens to happen.
Fear has to be faced to go beyond it. Anguish has to be faced to transcend it. And the more authentic the encounter, the more looking at it face to face, the more looking at things as they are, the sooner the happening will be there.
It takes time only because your authenticity is not intense. So you may take three days, three months or three lives – it depends on the intensity. Really, three minutes can also do, three seconds can also do. But then you will have to pass through a tremendous hell with such intensity that you may not be able to bear it, to tolerate it. If one can face whatsoever is hidden in oneself, it passes, and when it has gone you are different because all that has left you was part of you before and now it is no longer a part.
So don’t ask what to do. There is no need to do anything. Non-doing, witnessing, effortlessly facing whatsoever is, not even making a slight effort, just allowing it to be…. Remain passive and let it pass. It always passes. You will come out of it new, with a new glory and dignity, a new purity and innocence. 
3) Stay in the Present
Fear is generally about something in the future – such as having a certain procedure, or being in pain, or about dying itself. When you notice yourself ‘Awfulising’ – imagining scary possible situations – bring yourself back to the present moment.
Doing something that gives you a sense of connection with your body is helpful because – fortunately for us! – the body can only be in the present. It’s an anchor in the moment. Try an activity such as running or even just walking very mindfully, feeling your feet making contact with the ground with each step. Or, if you are weak or confined to bed, watching your breathing can have a similar anchoring effect.
Rather than awfulise about what hasn’t happened yet (and which might never happen), just take things one moment at a time….
Once there was a great king who asked his magician to find him a courageous man for a dangerous mission. After a long search, the magician brought four men before his master. The king, wishing to choose the most courageous of the four, asked the magician to arrange a test.
The king, the magician and the four men went to the edge of a large field, on the other side of which stood a barn. The magician gave instructions: ‘Each man shall have his turn. He is to walk to the barn and bring forth what is there inside.’
The first man walked across the field. Suddenly a storm came up: lightning flashed, thunder rolled, the ground shook. The man hesitated. He was frightened. As the storm increased, he fell down in fear.
The second man walked across the field. The storm grew worse, until it was a tempest. The second man passed the first man, but finally he also fell down.
The third man started with a rush, and passed the other two. But the heavens opened, the ground split, and the barn itself waved and cracked. The third man fell down.
The fourth started slowly. He felt his footing. His face was white with fear. But he was more afraid of being thought afraid than of anything else. Slowly he passed the first man, and he said, to himself, ‘I’m alright – so far.’ Foot by foot he went on until he had passed the second man, and again he said to himself, ‘So far I’m alright.’
Little by little he closed the gap between him and the third man, while the storm got worse. When he passed the third frightened man he said to himself, ‘So far I’m all right. Nothing has happened to me. I can go a little farther.’ So little by little, an inch at a time now, he went towards the barn. He got there at last, and just before he touched the latch he said, ‘So far I’m alright. I can go a little farther.’ Then he put his hand on the latch.
Instantly the storm ceased, the ground was steady, and the sun shone. The man was astonished. From inside the barn came a munching sound. For a moment he thought it might be a trick. Then he thought, ‘I’m still alright,’ and opened the door. Inside he found a white horse eating oats. Nearby was a suit of white armour. The man put it on, saddled the horse, rode out to the king and the magician, and said, ‘I am ready, Sire.’
‘How do you feel?’ asked the king.
‘I’m alright so far,’ the man said. 
Meditation provides a way to move inwards – beyond the mind where scary thoughts are created – to the dimension of simply being. The Zen people call this ‘no-mind’ or ‘your original face’; others call it ‘your true nature, your ‘ground of being’ or, simply, ‘consciousness.’ Whatever the label, the reality is one, and the same: vast, silent, timeless and peaceful. Meditators invariably report ‘That space feels like the real me.’
Constantly returning to who we really are keeps everything on the periphery in perspective.
There are literally hundreds of meditative techniques available. If you are new to meditation read our Meditation section. We’ve assembled a varied and growing selection of meditations, loosely categorised as four sections – Health & Ageing, Pain, Illness and Dying. Find them here.
When you are unburdened of fear it’s as if the brambles have been cleared from a pathway that was always there but which you couldn’t see.
Then you can find that the way forward takes you to an unexpected clearing – one that reveals aspects of yourself, of life and love and the search for meaning that you had not been aware of. You can begin to appreciate that there is a positive dimension to dying; that even while outwardly dying, inwardly you can grow.”
Experientially facing our fears
Our approach in our OSHO Sammasati workshops is to work with fear through discussion and the use of specific meditative methods. They can open the way to an experiential understanding, one that can be literally life- and death- changing. That’s what so many of our workshop participants and individual clients confirm.
One expresses it like this: ‘The Osho Sammasati Support-Person training* has been an exercise in sobering me, in grounding me more, in bringing my understanding closer to basics facts in life about this body, this life, this human nature. While I would have thought that abandoning so many old dreams, fantasies and beliefs would create a sort of desperation and vacuum, interestingly enough, this process has not made me sad. Quite the opposite; in practical terms in my daily life it is making me bolder in that I am asking for what I want/need, very well knowing that this is the time (and no other in a future to come), that there might not be other chances, that there is no space for stupid fears or polite limitations. A window has been opened where I can be more real.’
And another: ‘… I feel as if I have died and been reborn into my own daily life; so it has a different feel, there is a slightly different edge to everything, as if I am a stranger in town seeing all that is going on impartially, dispassionately, and I am also here enjoying it all the more, at the same time.’
*The Support-person training is now The OSHO Sammasati Experience.
1) The Book of Secrets: 112 meditations to discover the mystery within Osho
St Martin’s Griffin
2) The Divine Melody Osho (MLD)