I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

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Kili
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I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

Please tell me what to do when a horrible ocd thought pops up at the time of death. Say a memory from a horror movie that was very terrible. What do I do? I have OCD and it forces one to think bad things at times that are important
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Hazel
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Hazel »

Kili wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 5:57 pm Please tell me what to do when a horrible ocd thought pops up at the time of death. Say a memory from a horror movie that was very terrible. What do I do? I have OCD and it forces one to think bad things at times that are important
Work on the intrusive thoughts with a therapist and continue your dharma practice. That's what I do and it's been helpful. There's not a magic button you can press. It takes time and work with professionals of all kinds.
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Hazel
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Hazel »

Also, maybe re-read Johnny's response about the perspective of OCD compulsions/thoughts not being volitional in https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=35522 as you seemed to find that helpful before.
cjdevries
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by cjdevries »

I'm fairly certain that it's your accumulated karma prior to the time of death that most influences your future birth; so from my understanding a few bad thoughts will not necessarily drastically change the direction of your rebirth; a few bad thoughts do not suddenly cancel out your good karma and merit. I'm also answering this as a person who suffers from intrusive thoughts and yes I have thought and worried about this for countless hours. I find that mindfulness practices help focus my mind in the right direction (toward wholesome thoughts) and calm it down quite a bit. I found an exercise in a book by the spiritual teacher Reshad Feild that I use frequently and it's proven to improve my thoughts. It's an exercise involving a penny, a bathroom sink, and bending your body to lean over the sink. He says it's designed to focus your attention; I find it very calming. The book is called "Here to Heal"; it's a wonderful book.
"Please call me by my true names so I can wake up; so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh

"Ask: what's needed of you" -Akong Rinpoche
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

Hazel wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:51 pm Also, maybe re-read Johnny's response about the perspective of OCD compulsions/thoughts not being volitional in https://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?t=35522 as you seemed to find that helpful before.

Thank you, it's true that that idea calms me down quite a bit.
Thank you again ! With regard to the working on the problem with professionals I agree. But I think they would say that you have to let them stay there, that they are impossible to fight, and that you have to see them as a piece of ugly upholstery. I don't know if that defuses their potency in the Buddhist sense. Otherwise people with OCD would be lost. I hope not
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

cjdevries wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:59 pm I'm fairly certain that it's your accumulated karma prior to the time of death that most influences your future birth; so from my understanding a few bad thoughts will not necessarily drastically change the direction of your rebirth; a few bad thoughts do not suddenly cancel out your good karma and merit. I'm also answering this as a person who suffers from intrusive thoughts and yes I have thought and worried about this for countless hours. I find that mindfulness practices help focus my mind in the right direction (toward wholesome thoughts) and calm it down quite a bit. I found an exercise in a book by the spiritual teacher Reshad Feild that I use frequently and it's proven to improve my thoughts. It's an exercise involving a penny, a bathroom sink, and bending your body to lean over the sink. He says it's designed to focus your attention; I find it very calming. The book is called "Here to Heal"; it's a wonderful book.
Thank you for the suggestion, I will check out the book. If you have intrusive thoughts you probably know as well how they operste, that they come up when you least want them and that it's the fear of them that perpetuates and fuels them. I hope you're right about the accumulated karma over time being more important and decicive. I hope that it's not necessary to rehearse actively the good times of ones life as one monk suggested . I was wondering what you would do if one such image shifted right before your eyes? At any rate I hope it's gonna be more about the intention and attitudinal stance one has had than about non volitional thought content. Let's hope for the best .
cjdevries
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by cjdevries »

One idea is that you can pray to a deity that [by your suffering] all the intrusive thoughts of others may ease; that way your suffering goes to a good use.
"Please call me by my true names so I can wake up; so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh

"Ask: what's needed of you" -Akong Rinpoche
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

cjdevries wrote: Tue Jan 12, 2021 11:13 pm One idea is that you can pray to a deity that [by your suffering] all the intrusive thoughts of others may ease; that way your suffering goes to a good use.
It sounds like Tonglen. Thank you - that's a good idea!
GrapeLover
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by GrapeLover »

One technique you could try is actually offering them to a Buddha—you might basically visualise your thoughts like offering clouds, being offered to and accepted by a given Buddha. You needn’t think of them as an offensive offering, since they are intrinsically pure in their essence like all other phenomena.

Sometimes I like to visualise all my thoughts and feelings being offered to Amitabha, becoming flowers etc like those that are described as falling from the sky in Sukhavati. This might be particularly relevant in the context of death. I personally also find that it is a technique that works well with Tara, for whatever reason.

It’s kind of like a visual, transformative way of recognising your thoughts as intrinsically empty and pure, and maybe avoiding the cycle of negativity and judgement that surrounds them. And it’s kind of a way of offering “all that you are” to the Buddha. They arise unintentionally but you do something positive with them with your intention.
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明安 Myoan
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by 明安 Myoan »

:good:

You have nothing to fear when you remember the Three Jewels, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.

The best way for this to become personally true is to remember them while you are actually vulnerable or suffering.
When I have bad dreams, fears, and worries, I think about a buddha.

When I recognize repetitive (anxious) thinking specifically, I think about what I've read recently in a Sutra.
There's a lot of interesting teachings and memorable imagery in them, so it's good to read them often.

For the Sangha, you can remember your teacher and pray for inspiration.
With a heart wandering in ignorance down this path and that, to guide me I simply say Namu-Amida-Butsu. -- Ippen

Reciting the Nembutsu and believing in birth in the Pure Land naturally give rise to the Three Minds and the Four Modes of Practice. -- Master Hōnen
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

GrapeLover wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:09 am One technique you could try is actually offering them to a Buddha—you might basically visualise your thoughts like offering clouds, being offered to and accepted by a given Buddha. You needn’t think of them as an offensive offering, since they are intrinsically pure in their essence like all other phenomena.

Sometimes I like to visualise all my thoughts and feelings being offered to Amitabha, becoming flowers etc like those that are described as falling from the sky in Sukhavati. This might be particularly relevant in the context of death. I personally also find that it is a technique that works well with Tara, for whatever reason.

It’s kind of like a visual, transformative way of recognising your thoughts as intrinsically empty and pure, and maybe avoiding the cycle of negativity and judgement that surrounds them. And it’s kind of a way of offering “all that you are” to the Buddha. They arise unintentionally but you do something positive with them with your intention.
Thank you! The technique sounds helpful! It is kind of comforting to have an image of the buddha that calmly abides and defuses and sees through the thought content. Offering all that I am is also a way of feeling that I am not alone and someone knows how to act skillfully upon these thoughts and images in my stead. Thanks a lot again! :good:
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

明安 Myoan wrote: Wed Jan 13, 2021 1:18 am :good:

You have nothing to fear when you remember the Three Jewels, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha.

The best way for this to become personally true is to remember them while you are actually vulnerable or suffering.
When I have bad dreams, fears, and worries, I think about a buddha.

When I recognize repetitive (anxious) thinking specifically, I think about what I've read recently in a Sutra.
There's a lot of interesting teachings and memorable imagery in them, so it's good to read them often.

For the Sangha, you can remember your teacher and pray for inspiration.
Thanks a lot. Remembering a wise person a the Buddha or even Jesus may help not to feel so victimized by these images. I can use them to create a connection to these teachers and offer everything up to them :good:
Dvs
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Dvs »

I would speak with a professional Psychiatrist and talk with your lama.
This lama has dealt with gripping panic attacks and fear in the past. I hope you are able to find some peace.

https://youtu.be/n6hsQTFNMic
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Redfaery
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Redfaery »

I suffered from intrusive thoughts frequently for many years, so I do want to second the suggestion to seek psychiatric help if it is possible for you. :heart:

Another thing that has helped me with my mental state is recalling the 4 Noble Truths. As grim as it sounds, when I remember that samsara is by it's nature unsatisfactory, I feel better about things possibly going wrong, because things go wrong in samsara! And of course, reflecting on the 4 Truths gives me hope that there is a better way of being.
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

Thank you two for your thoughtful suggestions :)
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Matt J
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Matt J »

First of all, it's a little known secret that no one really controls one's thoughts. They just sort of pop up.

I've spent a little time obtaining teachings on death from a Tibetan Buddhist POV.

There are three bardos or stages: the bardo of dying, the bardo of dharmata, and the bardo of becoming. During the bardo of dying, the body breaks down and eventually releases the mind from its grip. It is reported that the ailments of the body are also left behind. This is confirmed in near death experiences, such as blind people who regain the ability to see, people with impaired memories regaining them as so on. So if you have OCD while alive, you won't have it in the bardos.

If you are concerned about your next life, that is generally determined during the third bardo, the bardo of becoming. It is here that your karmic tendencies, developed not only through your last life but lives before, leads you to your next life. Again, at this stage, you are free of your physical body, so there is no need to worry about your OCD. Some people direct their thoughts to a pure land they wish to be reborn in, call upon a deity, etc. It is also said that the buddhas and bodhisattvas will come and help at this stage, so there is no need to worry.

So my advice is to do your best in this life, and the next life will take care of itself.
"The essence of meditation practice is to let go of all your expectations about meditation. All the qualities of your natural mind -- peace, openness, relaxation, and clarity -- are present in your mind just as it is. You don't have to do anything different. You don't have to shift or change your awareness. All you have to do while observing your mind is to recognize the qualities it already has."
--- Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
cjdevries
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by cjdevries »

:good:
"Please call me by my true names so I can wake up; so the door of my heart can be left open: the door of compassion." -Thich Nhat Hanh

"Ask: what's needed of you" -Akong Rinpoche
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

Matt J wrote: Fri Jan 22, 2021 7:06 pm First of all, it's a little known secret that no one really controls one's thoughts. They just sort of pop up.

I've spent a little time obtaining teachings on death from a Tibetan Buddhist POV.

There are three bardos or stages: the bardo of dying, the bardo of dharmata, and the bardo of becoming. During the bardo of dying, the body breaks down and eventually releases the mind from its grip. It is reported that the ailments of the body are also left behind. This is confirmed in near death experiences, such as blind people who regain the ability to see, people with impaired memories regaining them as so on. So if you have OCD while alive, you won't have it in the bardos.

If you are concerned about your next life, that is generally determined during the third bardo, the bardo of becoming. It is here that your karmic tendencies, developed not only through your last life but lives before, leads you to your next life. Again, at this stage, you are free of your physical body, so there is no need to worry about your OCD. Some people direct their thoughts to a pure land they wish to be reborn in, call upon a deity, etc. It is also said that the buddhas and bodhisattvas will come and help at this stage, so there is no need to worry.

So my advice is to do your best in this life, and the next life will take care of itself.
Thank you that made me relax a little. I may look into pema chodrons book on this topic. I love all of her work
Kili
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Kili »

Redfaery wrote: Sun Jan 17, 2021 6:50 pm I suffered from intrusive thoughts frequently for many years, so I do want to second the suggestion to seek psychiatric help if it is possible for you. :heart:

Another thing that has helped me with my mental state is recalling the 4 Noble Truths. As grim as it sounds, when I remember that samsara is by it's nature unsatisfactory, I feel better about things possibly going wrong, because things go wrong in samsara! And of course, reflecting on the 4 Truths gives me hope that there is a better way of being.
Thank you! May I ask are you afraid of death and if not what helped you lose that fear? I am wondering if it's okay to be afraid when the time comes or if fear itself is bad kharma? I understand what you mean by what you said about the effect of the four noble Truths. Reviewing them is sobering and clears the mind.
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Redfaery
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Redfaery »

I was terrified of death as a child. Nowadays, I still have great anxiety that I might die before I'm ready, or that dying will hurt. I'm not actually as worried about the possibility of an unfortunate rebirth as I am about the process of getting there!

It is good I think to have some amount of fear or anxiety about death and dying, because this can help our practice. You mustn't let the fear paralyze you or make you feel helpless, but it can be a useful motivator to keep in mind the reasons we seek the Dharma.
NAMO SARASWATI DEVI
Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever. - GANDHI
I am a delicate feminine flower!!!!
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