I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

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Johnny Dangerous
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

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

The fears etc. experienced in meditation, ( getting deeper enough into it, I noticed the same as I fall asleep), I've been told is a rough "mini version" approximation of a bardo experience upon death. We are already in a bardo of sorts now, so practice now directly relates.

One "prescription" is pretty simple, become practiced at letting thoughts dissolve of their own accord, don't interfere with them, don't try to make them go away, add or take away from them. Just let them be and watch them dissolve. This really requires some teachings I think.The more I grasp or push away certain thoughts, the harder this is to do, and the more important it is to become truly well practiced in letting them be and do their thing.

Other things I've seen recommended are praying to Deities, there are some sleep yogas etc. that are also bardo instructions, then there's Phowa instructions and whatnot. A lot of this is down to methods you've been shown by teacher(s) and what your disposition is personally.

A person who really gravitates towards Kriya tantra practice and whose disposition is primarily devotional practice is going to end up with a pretty different strategy (and the strategy for death shouldn't be different than the strategy for now, by my understanding) than a person who is more focused on meditation of the nature of mind, etc. I think most people are a combination of approaches, but the important thing is to work with a teacher or teachers until you have a set of stuff that you have some serious confidence in and have practiced well long before death-time thoughts become an issue.

Purely in my own experience with OCD/Anxiety and meditation:

Don't expect any practice to "take away" intrusive thoughts, they typically don't work that way. If we have intrusive thoughts they have to be part of our practice, and we have to have some acceptance of them to move past the idea that they are some mortal danger to us, ironically. One basic instruction is simply to view them as lost children or something similar, and approach them with that attitude, rather than seeing thoughts a threatening things.

The conclusion I've come to is that these kinds of thoughts are the karmic result of something, who knows what. Whatever the case, a practitioner has to deal with them as they would other thoughts, and to some degree we just have to view our minds contents with some level of compassion and expansiveness, rather than with apprehension that the contents will harm us if we don't push them away or "do something" about them.

So not to sound harsh, but people with OCD or intrusive thoughts are not particularly special. We just grasp onto certain thought patterns, the instructions for dealing with these kinds of thoughts really shouldn't be different than anyone else. The only caveat to that is that if you are having full blown severe anxiety and panic, you may need professional help to stabilize before worrying about meditation. Other than that fear of death is just a default setting.

Years ago during a very difficult time I saw a good therapist who was also a Dharma practitioner and she had me just put this up on my wall somewhere, it has always helped remind me of some simple truths about thoughts:
That Guy Mila wrote: I can contemplate the sky,
But clouds make me uneasy.
Milarepa, tell me how
To meditate on clouds.

“If the sky’s as easy as you say,
Clouds are just the sky’s play.
Let your mind stay
Within the sky.”

I can contemplate the sea,
But waves make me uneasy.
Milarepa, tell me how
To meditate on waves.

“If the sea’s as easy as you say,
Waves are just the sea’s play.
Let your mind stay
Within the sea.”

I can contemplate my mind,
But thoughts make me uneasy.
Milarepa, tell me how
To meditate on thoughts.

“If your mind’s as easy as you say,
Thoughts are just the mind’s play.
Let your mind stay
Within your mind.”
"...if you think about how many hours, months and years of your life you've spent looking at things, being fascinated by things that have now passed away, then how wonderful to spend even five minutes looking into the nature of your own mind."

-James Low
PeterC
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Re: I'm crying in fear of thoughts at death

Post by PeterC »

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
It seems that your problem isn’t what might happen when you die, but what your mind is doing right now. There’s a lot of good advice further up this thread but one way to address the root of the problem is to get control over your mind, which is the thing that produces these fears and obsessions.
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