Here are some suggestions for ways to grasp that death is not a dreaded enemy but an essential part of life:
Allow yourself to be near someone who is dying. Resist the fear that makes you shun them or stay away because you donít want to interfere.
Try to imagine your own death and then try to imagine your own birth. No matter how hard you try, both are impossible in any corner of your consciousness. There is no hint of a beginning or an ending. Consider, then that your parents were not telling you the whole truth when they said you were born on a certain day. Inside we all feel ourselves as always having lived, which is true.
Go out into nature and stand by an old tree. Look up at it and realize that nothing you are seeing is stable or permanent. That solid trunk is a cloud of subatomic particles whirling in space, each one more than 99.9999 percent empty.
Oxygen and hydrogen, for example, exist as invisible gases, yet when they bind into water, those properties cease to exist. There was extinction of old forms to bring about the emergence of new ones never seen before. All creativity works this way. New and secret qualities are waiting to be born. It is the joy of life to be part of their birth.
Death is your greatest friend, because when you shed this body and personality, you are giving back to the source old outworn materials to be reshaped. You are not giving rise to a repeat of you, but to a new being that shoots forth with newly emergent qualities, qualities you in your current state cannot imagine.
Adapted from The Deeper Wound: Recovering the Soul from Fear and Suffering, by Deepak Chopra (Harmony Books, 2001).