By Jim Leonard
Nearly every person has a great many negative feelings about death. In general, people try to avoid these feelings because of the discomfort they produce. This means that the feelings remain suppressed in the subconscious mind, where they reduce happiness and exert an adverse influence on behavior. Vivation permanently integrates all of these feelings and eliminates their effects. Because these feelings and their integration through Vivation are so important, I want to share some of what I know from my vast experience of giving more than 45,000 Vivation sessions in twenty-one countries over the last twenty-three years. Besides this experience of helping thousands of other people resolve their feelings about death, this article is based on even more important experiences that I have had integrating my own feelings about death over all these many years.
There are two general categories of negative feelings about death: feelings that create resistance to dying and feelings that direct a person toward dying. Both of these categories are equally important to resolve. Both categories rob people of energy, happiness, enthusiasm, and rationality. In the most extreme cases both of these categories result in premature death from accidents, diseases, suicide, self-destructive behaviors, and self-neglect.
Emotional states related to resistance to death include fear, frustration, anger, boredom, sadness, grief, hopelessness, worry, anxiety, depression and others. On a very superficial level, a person might thing that being negative about death could extend a person’s life, but in truth negativity never serves anyone in any way. All of these emotions, doing their work at the subconscious level, harm performance, health, and happiness. Furthermore, the behaviors that people engage in for the purpose of avoiding these feelings often put the person at risk and always divert the person from the enthusiastic pursuit of their purpose in life. One thing about death is that it is not actually happening to oneself at this particular moment. If we want to be happy, then we need to be able to focus attention on the present. All of the negative emotions about death take one’s attention out of present time.
Then there are also emotional reasons to seek death. The most obvious of these is to think of death as a means of escape. Most healthy people do not think seriously of committing suicide, but many people have suicide in their mind somewhere as a possible solution to suffering, were it ever to become too extreme. This is true despite the undeniable logic that doing physical damage to oneself sufficient to bring about death cannot possibly be a good thing for one to do. I have a great deal of compassion for all who suffer, certainly including those who attempt or commit suicide, but because I know Vivation I also know that there is always a much better alternative. From the point of view of Vivation, suppression is seen as being closely akin to suicide. All suppression results in a reduction of the flow of life-force energy in the body. One thing to say about suicide is that it is suppression taken to its extreme. When part of the mind has suicide as a possible escape from suffering, at least that part of the mind is not going to contribute much to thinking things through well enough to find real solutions. It is better to integrate all of this kind of death urge so that it exerts no further influence on mind or emotions.
These twins of negativity about death, death-seeking and death-avoidance also manifest in people’s feelings about the death of other people and not just about one’s own death.
First I’m going to address people’s fascination with the death of strangers, both real and imaginary. Modern people are no less entertained by other people’s death than were the ancients who loved to watch gladiatorial combats, which were sometimes fought to the death. Nowadays people see a huge amount of death, usually simulated, when they watch television, video games and other entertainment. Only a tiny percentage of all movies contain no death. Even children’s shows are only slightly better and are often full of death.
Many people bring death to mind when thinking about foreigners and people of different political, and sometimes religious points of view. Because of my work, people talk to me about things they don’t often talk to others about. People have much more hatred of various groups of strangers than anybody wants to admit, and in their private fantasies these hatreds often lead to visions of war, mass murder, and death. People also sometimes have fantasies of death for the very people that are closest to them, such as husbands, wives, and co-workers.
Then, too, people have very strong and complex negative emotions activated by the deaths of others. It is normal and healthy for people to go through a period of grieving when someone close dies, but is not normal or healthy for people to continue grieving for years at a time. I have helped thousands of people cope more effectively with grief, and through Vivation, to recover the memories, pleasure, learning, and benefits associated with the lost person’s life, instead of remaining overwhelmed by the person’s death. Some people also engage in grieving-in-advance and obsess about a loved one’s death while the person is still living. This is not a sign or manifestation of love.
So, we can readily see that people do not mainly accept death as a natural part of life, but instead carry with them huge amounts of negative emotions that cause problems not just on a personal level, but also on an inter-personal, and even political and global level.
All of these feelings integrate permanently with Vivation. It is universally advantageous to integrate all negative emotions from all sources–most definitely when it comes to negative emotions connected to death. With Vivation, it is perfectly possible for everyone to develop completely healthy attitudes toward death, neither seeking it nor avoiding it, but being able to face it squarely. This emotional health improves physical health, happiness, and enthusiasm for everyone.
Vivation integrates feelings about death in just the same way that it integrates feelings about everything else, but I also have some additional information to share that is specific to this application.
One thing has to do with people’s beliefs about death, religious and otherwise. Vivation works directly at the feeling level and so does not involve telling anybody what to believe. I have personally taught Vivation successfully to people of all major religions, committed atheists, and of course many people who have invented their own systems of religious beliefs. I have never asked any of these people to change their beliefs about death or anything else. People’s beliefs are just none of my business, although I often find them interesting when people do choose to share them with me.
The vast majority of people have some belief about death to which they cling quite rigidly. This gives people a certain comfort and helps them to suppress their feelings about death. Because of the way Vivation works, it automatically bypasses all suppression, through all methods, including rigidly held, suppressive beliefs about death. Were this not true, Vivation would not work for anybody. As it is, Vivation works perfectly for everybody. Vivation simply bypasses all the traps and complexities of the mind, including rigid beliefs.
There are some people, however much in the minority, who admit that they do not know what death is. They have considered many ideas and possibly religious points of view, and decided not to attach themselves to any one of them. To these people, for the purpose of integrating feelings about death as efficiently as possible, I do have some advice. My advice, for those who feel able to do it, is to keep a completely open mind and to allow death to remain a mystery. For those who can do so, it is best to admit complete ignorance and to acknowledge that they have no idea whatsoever what their subjective experience of death is going to be like. This point of view, although by no means necessary, is ideal, not necessarily for every purpose under the sun, but for simply exposing and integrating all the suppressed emotions about death. I know, of course, that most of my readers will not much care for this point of view–to these many people I give enthusiastic encouragement to attend to their own religious or other beliefs. To the small number whose minds are not yet made up, I am just saying “Keep your mind open.”
In Vivation, we never need to do anything to get feelings to come up. All the feelings are right here right now anyway. This is certainly true of feelings about death. There is plenty of death all around us no matter what anyway. When your feelings about death come up, just explore what they feel like in your body (the feelings themselves are composed of your aliveness), neither hold on to them nor push them away, and make peace with them, exactly as they are. This is the right direction. If you know how to Vive, then you will reach peace and sanity about death far faster.
Jim Leonard was the originator of the Vivation process. During his life he conducted more than 45,000 Vivation sessions in 22 countries.