I Stopped Fearing Death
For the 2002 edition of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Geney Jones from New South Wales, Australia, wrote: Twelve years ago my husband died suddenly in a car accident. He was only thirty-five, and I was left with three children to raise. Although I was brought up surrounded by Christianity, I never accepted as fact the concepts and beliefs that were taught to us as children. At the time of my husband’s death, I was still unable to turn to religion as a source of understanding and comfort, and instead allowed my “instinct” to guide me through the grieving process. The only scar I was left with was a strong fear of death and absolute uncertainty of life.
I went back to school, to university, feeling a gap in my life that needed to be filled. Psychology seemed the obvious choice. I thought it would give me the answers about the mind and human behavior. I completed an undergraduate degree and postgraduate degree, then looked back on all I had learned, and realized it felt no more right than the religious beliefs I had rejected when I was younger. I was no closer to an understanding of the true nature of mind than when I started the course. Funnily enough, the knowledge of this did not disturb me. Those around were satisfied that I was “getting on with my life”. But I knew my search wasn’t over.
Six months ago I walked into a bookshop to buy some incense. On coming to the Buddhist section my eyes were drawn to The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. When I glanced through it a line jumped out at me: “It is absolutely certain that we will die, and it is uncertain when or how we will die”. My greatest fear, confronting me in black and white.
A week later, I went back to buy the book. What you say in it has rarely been off my mind since. It rises unbidden, in the most unexpected places, at the most unexpected times.
Before I was halfway through it, something else happened which amazed me. I stopped fearing death. I realized I could think about death without getting the hopeless, sinking, depressed feeling that had always accompanied such thoughts. For the first time in my life, someone was saying something I understood, on a level which no learning had ever touched.
In 2002 Geney was working as a drug and alcohol counselor
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