I need help

#1
I have a huge fear of death, or rather annihilation. I used to be an atheist. That was just a small step after leaving religion. I didn't really think about consciousness back then, it seemed obvious - we are physical beings. Then suddenly came the realisation of my mortality. That was the worst time of my life. I was going to therapy and it was helping with my everyday problems, but this one persists many years later. There was a time when I really believed life was meaningful and death wasn't the end, but unfortunately I'm losing this belief. It's just not good enough... I observed something interesting - even when I read something I find illogical writen by a materialist, I still am overcome by panic. What if he's right? It doesn't matter that what he's saying is nonsense. I'm terrified. I'm sorry about writing so much about my fears, maybe it's not the right place, but I'd really appreciate your help. If you can link me the best works - scientific or not - regarding consciousness, I'd be thankful. I remember seeing a compiled list of evidence linked on this forum (NDE's, conscousness, etc.) Does anyone know where I can find it? Finally I'd appreciate some thoughts from you on my issue. Thanks and sorry again if it isn't the right place to post this.
 
#2
Here is some information:

https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/summary_of_evidence

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/2012/08/the-materialist-explanation-of.html

http://ncu9nc.blogspot.com/p/articl...by-subject.html#articles_by_subject_afterlife

NDE documentaries thread on skeptiko forums.
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/skeptiko-nde-documentaries-thread-and-other-related.136/

However, sometimes if a fear is caused by psychological factors, information is not always helpful. For example, if someone has a fear of flying, telling them about how safe it is to fly might not help very much. If learning about the evidence for the afterlife doesn't help with fear of death, a person may feel like they don't "believe" in the afterlife even if they acknowledge the evidence is strong. In this type of situation you might find more help if you looked to psychology for help rather than spirituality. You wrote you were in therapy .. did you discuss fear of death? Have you tried therapy recently?

Here is a list of therapists who specialize in spiritual isues:
http://forum.mind-energy.net/forum/...-experience-with-psychic-and-spiritual-issues
 
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#3
I was raised in a house where the dead and dying seemed to announce their departure on a regular basis, so the idea of death as permanent annihilation never occurred. We only had regular contact with my mother's side of the family, for whom pre-mortem communication was a real phenomenon. One could put it down to the neurosis of uneducated women, but as far as I can tell death was repeatedly announced by loud raps, crashes against windows and doors with no obvious cause, clocks permanently failing at the hour of death, even when the deceased was in apparent good health and living miles distant. Why this should be the case, and other families report nothing of the kind, I have no idea.

Neither do I believe it was a religious phenomenon, as most were practicing Catholics though some were not, and it made no difference to the alarming events that announced a passing. Survival is only one interpretation, though perhaps the more likely. In the decades I never gave metaphysical beliefs a second thought, I had no doubt that these events were real, and they occurred in my house when my mother died in the mid 1990s. My aunt is almost 100 years old, I haven't seen her for some years, but I fully expect there'll be phenomena associated with her passing as the last of that generation. It will be interesting to know if it occurs in succeeding generations.

On the OP's existential crisis, I can sympathise as mine lasted a few moments in 1989 and was quite horrifying. A void of absolute meaningless opened up, a tangible absence of anything, a sinister and cynical nothingness I have never experienced before or since. In hindsight I think it was a psychic attack of some kind, from an entity in my first house, a cheerless place haunted by nightmares. The visions which lingered after I awoke were always of cowled monks. Some years after I'd left an archaeology programme on TV revealed a monastery in an adjoining field, of which I had no knowledge.

The OP needs to move away from obsession with the physical and the material as the sole source of meaning, and see life as an important interlude, a kind of psychic university in a demanding but rewarding subject.
 
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#4
I have a huge fear of death, or rather annihilation. I used to be an atheist. That was just a small step after leaving religion. I didn't really think about consciousness back then, it seemed obvious - we are physical beings. Then suddenly came the realisation of my mortality. That was the worst time of my life. I was going to therapy and it was helping with my everyday problems, but this one persists many years later. There was a time when I really believed life was meaningful and death wasn't the end, but unfortunately I'm losing this belief. It's just not good enough... I observed something interesting - even when I read something I find illogical writen by a materialist, I still am overcome by panic. What if he's right? It doesn't matter that what he's saying is nonsense. I'm terrified. I'm sorry about writing so much about my fears, maybe it's not the right place, but I'd really appreciate your help. If you can link me the best works - scientific or not - regarding consciousness, I'd be thankful. I remember seeing a compiled list of evidence linked on this forum (NDE's, conscousness, etc.) Does anyone know where I can find it? Finally I'd appreciate some thoughts from you on my issue. Thanks and sorry again if it isn't the right place to post this.
Here is an index of discussions here at Skeptiko:
http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threads/index-of-skeptiko-threads-related-resources.3851/
It probably hasn't been updated for about 6 months, and since then there has been a restructuring of the site, so please let me know by PM if there are links that do not work for you.

You certainly aren't the first person to join Skeptiko with fears of this sort. I began as a Christian, then abandoned that at age 20, while at university. Since I was studying science, being atheist seemed an obvious choice. There is something about the scientific view of the world that gives the impression that everything is explained by science in principle. In later years I have come to realise that the scientific view of life has huge gaps that it barely acknowledges, or actively fudges over. I also came to realise that much of the 'scepticism' about psychic forces, life after death, NDE's etc, doesn't come from a careful dispassionate assessment of the evidence, but a desperate attempt by materialists to squash all known facts into a box which clearly cannot contain them.

There is no better place to observe this than with the subject of NDE's. Here you have a vivid phenomenon, experienced by many, that is apparently not even mentioned in psychology textbooks. It clearly doesn't fit conventional ideas about the brain, because the mind seems to become vividly aware at a time when its cells are supposed to be barely hanging on to life at all. Also, people who suffer concussion (say) generally don't remember much around that time, yet when the brain is really in peril, the mind can experience an NDE, which is vividly remembered.

Listening to materialists explain phenomena such as these, is remarkable - they twist the evidence this way and that, to try to force it back into the materialist mould.

Obviously Skeptiko is not a religion, and many of us don't follow any religion. When I left Christianity, I felt it was a well meaning religion, but the dogma was clearly false. By now, I feel that Christianity can't be seen as well meaning if you average it over time and over the whole globe. Therefore I have no wish to return to it.

I suggest the real answer to your problems is to get beyond the traditional religious idea of belief. Belief of that sort alternately comforts people and scares them witless as they see evidence that it may not be justified. Here you will find lots of evidence for various phenomena, but no proof - at least not proof a materialist would accept. That isn't because they have better explanations, but because in various ways, science has adopted broad brush explanations of things it really doesn't understand. Thus for example, they will tell you that consciousness is created by the brain, in a fashion that is loosely compared with a digital computer. The obvious problem with that, is that computers don't experience anything, or indeed have any inner experience. Many materialists also adopt a viewpoint that says that non-materialist ideas are so extraordinary that only extraordinary evidence would change their minds. In practice, this is just a clever way of saying, "I'll never believe that, ever, ever, whatever the evidence."

I find that open-minded interest in these phenomena is far more comforting than religious belief - because it can't be overturned by events or discoveries (many of which later turn out to have been hyped in various ways).

David
 
#5
I have a huge fear of death, or rather annihilation. I used to be an atheist. That was just a small step after leaving religion. I didn't really think about consciousness back then, it seemed obvious - we are physical beings. Then suddenly came the realisation of my mortality. That was the worst time of my life. I was going to therapy and it was helping with my everyday problems, but this one persists many years later. There was a time when I really believed life was meaningful and death wasn't the end, but unfortunately I'm losing this belief. It's just not good enough... I observed something interesting - even when I read something I find illogical writen by a materialist, I still am overcome by panic. What if he's right? It doesn't matter that what he's saying is nonsense. I'm terrified. I'm sorry about writing so much about my fears, maybe it's not the right place, but I'd really appreciate your help. If you can link me the best works - scientific or not - regarding consciousness, I'd be thankful. I remember seeing a compiled list of evidence linked on this forum (NDE's, conscousness, etc.) Does anyone know where I can find it? Finally I'd appreciate some thoughts from you on my issue. Thanks and sorry again if it isn't the right place to post this.
This podcast may be helpful to you. The three people that were engaged in this dialog seemed to have gone through the exact same thing you are going through now. I hope this helps.

http://www.wheredidtheroadgo.com/sh...441-the-dark-night-of-the-soul-october-6-2017
 
#6
Thank you all so much for your responses!

You wrote you were in therapy .. did you discuss fear of death? Have you tried therapy recently?
I did discuss my fear of death. Unfortunately it was at the time I decided to end my therapy. It wasn't a bad decision, because it gave me time to learn to deal with many issues on my own. Today I contacted my therapist, and I'm planning on going back. I agree, the fear is psychological, and has to be dealt with.

The OP needs to move away from obsession with the physical and the material as the sole source of meaning, and see life as an important interlude, a kind of psychic university in a demanding but rewarding subject.
I actually do that a lot, but there is always a time when my fears become so strong, I fail to see meaning in life.

I suggest the real answer to your problems is to get beyond the traditional religious idea of belief.
To be honest a belief was never good enough for me, but the only thing that seemed to really comfort me was hard proof, which I obviously won't find. I still think like a materialist sometimes. That's a cultural thing though; scientists have some sort of authority I have trouble questioning sometimes. It's absurd, I know.

Sometimes It's hard to tell if the amazing experiences people have are true. The things we do for money... But that's just my fear.
I'm sure going back to therapy is the best solution for me.
Your responses mean so much to me. Thank you again. You really helped me today.
 
#7
It's clear from forums like this that some people crave absolute certainty, which is something life can't deliver. Materialists are as guilty of this as religious fundamentalists, demanding there is only one truth and any other is intolerable, even bending the rules of proof to favour their preferred metaphysic. I wouldn't place my trust in scientists for any but the most immediate observations. When scientists makes pronouncements on the nature of reality you can be sure they're dealing in ideology, not science.
 
#8
To be honest a belief was never good enough for me, but the only thing that seemed to really comfort me was hard proof, which I obviously won't find. I still think like a materialist sometimes. That's a cultural thing though; scientists have some sort of authority I have trouble questioning sometimes. It's absurd, I know.
Its not absurd and you aren't alone in craving proof. While perhaps not as strongly felt, I share in that desire even as I know the desire is a futile one (at best!).

I have lost my fear of questioning the authority of scientists as Gabriel covered quite eloquently in the post following yours. It has become clear to me that they really have nothing to say at all about the true nature of reality from a scientific perspective. As human beings they certainly do but from that perspective they lose their "priest class" status and become just like you and I.
 
#9
I suggest, SirLlama, that you have an OBE. When you have your own experience of your independence from the body, it can change you as it has changed so many others.

I am not talking about lucid dreaming, or imaginative experiences, or intellectually accepting the possibility of spirit and survival. Those all have their place but they are not conscious OBE.
 
#10
I think of it this way: I am going to die, no escaping it. At that time, I'll either be annihilated, or find out that I continue to exist as an experiencing being. If the former, I won't be around to experience any fear. If the latter, I will experience new and different things, a possibility I find quite exciting, something to look forward to rather than fear.

Being an agnostic means I don't know for sure what will happen. However, I believe I'll carry on in some sense, and I'm persuaded of that not because of psi or religion, so much as the absolutely amazing fact that I know I currently exist as an experiencing being. Why would that be, if I'm a deterministic robot devoid of free will who only imagines he's conscious? Why would I experience anything at all? Why would I cease experiencing just because I die?

I certainly don't think it's worth worrying about when I could instead be making the most of life. I knew someone who was always afraid of dying, but in the end, she passed away peacefully. A nurse I know says it's always like that: but this person wasted so much of her life fearing death. My advice, FWIW: don't waste any more of your life than you have to.
 
#11
My advice, FWIW: don't waste any more of your life than you have to.
Very good advice indeed. If we realised the precious nature of life, that it is an interlude in a longer story, the fears that limit us would be gone. Most people are to some extent governed by fear of pain, hunger, aging, failure and death, which makes us retreat into the banal attitudes and behaviours that restrict our lives. If we knew that death was irrelevant, the equivalent of removing one coat and putting on a nicer one, we wouldn't waste a moment in negative thoughts. We are truly our own jailers.
 
#12
I have lost my fear of questioning the authority of scientists as Gabriel covered quite eloquently in the post following yours. It has become clear to me that they really have nothing to say at all about the true nature of reality from a scientific perspective. As human beings they certainly do but from that perspective they lose their "priest class" status and become just like you and I.
Yes, keep that up! It isn't that all scientists do not have authority, but many take what they know and try to generalise it in ways that don't make sense, and others consciously or unconsciously bend the truth to suite other assumptions.

David
 
#13
I just wanted to say, I know all about being positive about life and treating it like just a short time in a possibly infinite existence. Of course worrying is pointless. "Just do what you truly want, there is nothing stopping you" I used to say to my depressed friends, but the reality is that mental issues, which I've been struggling for years, can really overpower you. It's easy to say "Just change the way you think". In reality it took me years of therapy just to be able to function in society. I'm not complaining, and I very much agree with what you say. My life is governed by fear. It's true. I fight it, and sometimes it all makes sense. Fortunately it doesn't stop me all the time anymore, from taking risks, and enjoying the journey.
 
#14
Fortunately it doesn't stop me all the time anymore, from taking risks, and enjoying the journey.
Good. I'm glad to hear that. You appear already to be wasting somewhat less of your life than you need to. Keep whittling away at your fear. What's the worst that can happen? Can you do anything to prevent or ameliorate it? If yes, do it. If no, make the best of it you can.
 
#16
My life is governed by fear.
Have you thought about trying hypnosis - even possibly past-life regression under hypnosis?

David
Hey, just to clarify - I'm a very confident person, and I take risks in my life. Maybe I shouldn't say fear stops me from doing things, it just makes everything harder. Past life regression is something I could consider, but I'm not sure I'd find someone I trust with it here in Poland.
 
#17
Hey, just to clarify - I'm a very confident person, and I take risks in my life. Maybe I shouldn't say fear stops me from doing things, it just makes everything harder. Past life regression is something I could consider, but I'm not sure I'd find someone I trust with it here in Poland.
Well maybe if things aren't quite as desperate as the title of this thread might indicate, your best approach is to explore the resources here at Skeptiko, and see how you feel after a bit.

The important thing to realise is that there are a lot of phenomena that are best explained by a larger reality outside of materialism:

NDE's
Reincarnation evidence
Lucid dreams (e.g. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lucid-Drea...=1510399479&sr=8-1&keywords=waggoner+dreaming)
Out of body experiences

I think if you explore some of those, you may come to something like my conclusion - materialism is very unlikely to be right/complete, and consciousness is probably only tied to our bodies for a period and then breaks free and continues.

David
 
#18
Well maybe if things aren't quite as desperate as the title of this thread might indicate, your best approach is to explore the resources here at Skeptiko, and see how you feel after a bit.
David
Thank you for your replies. Sorry, If the title seems dramatic. It reflects the state I was in when I wrote it. A terrible panic attack. Right now there is an unhealthy amount of extreme ups and downs in the way I feel, so one day I feel like I won't make it, and the next one is just fine. I realised, that therapy is the best solution for me. In the past 2 years I've been reading a lot about consciousness and the experiences you mentioned. I had this unhealthy habit of looking for reassurance online when feeling low, only to come across some sceptics, which feeded my panic attacks. It didn't even matter if what they said made any sense. Ah, what a self destructive thing is my own psyche :D
 
#19
I know this fear well. Even though I am not a materialist at all. I still fear the day "my" consciousness will have to leave this body. Anyway, judging by all the NDEs I've read it's not a bad experience. In fact most people experiencing a NDE don't want to get back to the Earth plane, they just want to exist permanently as pure consciousness. On the other hand, I know we'll all reincarnate - the different emanations of consciousness, based on the planetary and cosmic archetypes, will build a new "me" at some point. And I will be conscious as me again, yet 99% of my old memories will not be there. But some will be - unconscious or conscious, it depends. And so on ad infinitum in the eternal evolution of the form.

What I suggest might not appeal to you judging by your materialist background and possibly skeptical worldview, but I suggest you build your natal chart and check the transits and your most recent or up-coming solar return. The period of my most powerful existential crisis happened in the beginning of this year, just a month before my birthday. On this most recent solar return I have Saturn exact conj. IC. This also means death of relatives. My grandpa and grandma died. Additionally, Pluto is transiting in square to my natal Moon. And I have a Saturn return because I'm 29. So yeah, maybe check the astrological side of things.
 
#20
This page on youtube has nearly 200 genuined NDE's as told by the experiencers in person. They are deeply comforting.


https://www.youtube.com/user/NDEaccounts

You can also converse with people on the Near Death Experience Facebook page. TONS and tons of experiencers on there that you can openly communicate with. Ive made several good "friends" on their and it helps to put NDE's into a greater and more intimate perspective when you are communicating directly with those whom have experienced them. Search "Near Death Experiences" on Facebook. Its the group with some 26,000 members.

Heres one of my favorite NDEs:


We also have medium evidence, evidence for re-incarnation, and ghosts (angels/demons/pet/human spirits) You can check out my thread on demons, and to a lesser degree ghosts and angels.

http://www.skeptiko-forum.com/threa...rmal-entities-based-upon-years-of-study.4031/

The BIGGEST line of evidence to me is the SHARED death experience. People who arent even sick but are around a dying person, can sometimes "share" in their death and move towards the light (as example) with the deceased. Check this video out. It is stunning.


Hope this helps. Bless you friend.
 
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