I know death is inevitable, but I’m still so scared of it to the point where I have anxiety attacks. How do I stop this?
In our fear, we think that we are snuffed out by death. Such fearful anticipation is the result of a failure to observe the death process in others and to study that process through systematic education and self- observation. The process of death, like the more ordinary events of a human life, is available to be observed.
There are experiences that take place over the course of a human lifetime that duplicate some of the psycho physical aspects of the death process… including times of sickness, deep meditation over the course of a lifetime of spiritual practice, and the regular act of going to sleep.
The best way to study the death process is to serve those who are dying. Such service allows us to observe and to even psychically participate in the process with the dying person. Death is not what we think it to be.
We must come to know about the death process as we live.
It is good to know and feel that death is inevitable. That is true. Ultimately, however, we must come to Understand that we are born, we live, and we die in Deathless Consciousness. This Realization is the answer to mortal fear.
It would be good to explore why you are so afraid of death. Have you experienced a traumatic or sudden death of someone close to you? Have you had a brush with death yourself? Do you have strong fears of facing the unknown in other areas of your life?
Learning more about the death process may be helpful to you. Avatar Adi Da writes in his book, Easy Death “Fear of death is anxiety (or emotional recoil) experienced in anticipation of the event. Such fearful anticipation is basically the result of a failure to observe the death process in others and to study that process through systematic education and self-observation. Death is a necessary, purposeful and (ultimately) benign psycho-physical process.”
He compares it to giving birth and says that we should relax and release as when going to sleep. Just as a woman who is approaching childbirth will study and prepare for it, everyone should study and prepare for the death transition.
If you are having actual panic attacks when you think about death, you should pursue treatment for that. Medication, counseling and relaxation exercises may help since death is all around us and inevitable, as you said.