Can a death meditation cure my anxiety? | Death Land #6

Can a death meditation cure my anxiety? | Death Land #6

We’re all scared of death but I’m
somewhat of an extreme case. Death terrifies me. It’s on my mind an
unhealthy amount. So after years of anxiety,
it’s time for a new approach. I’m getting up close to death to find out how we can come to terms with what’s
waiting for us all. Without mortality, I don’t know
what humanity would be. This week I’m going to die. At least, in my mind. It’s like bathing myself in my own anxiety. Can this morbid experiment cure my anxiety? I’m in LA and I’m going to meet death
doula Alua Arthur. Hi! Hi. Not only does she guide clients through the process of
dying, she specialises in treating people with death anxiety like me. So today, I’m going to try her prescribed
treatment, a death meditation. This is where you run your business from?
– Mostly. OK. So, as you know, because we’ve spoken,
I have very bad death anxiety and I’m hoping that you’re able
to help me with that. Death anxiety or fear of death
is totally natural and normal. That’s the thing that tells us to get out of
the way when there’s a car approaching on the street, when we walk to the edge of a cliff,
you feel the fear you back up … That’s the fear of death that’s talking,
it’s keeping you alive. What is it that you’d say that you’re afraid of? Random accidents, that’s one category. The other one is that dying itself is just
much worse than people realise, the actual process of dying could be horrible. The process … what it feels like in the body?
– Exactly. Are you afraid of pain?
– Yes. OK. It sounds pretty tough to be in your head, always thinking about these million different possibilities that could happen. We are going to walk through all this
in the death meditation. How does the meditation work? We’re going to walk through the nine
contemplations of dying and then after that, we’re going to walk you through the process of your body shutting down. You’re going to be safe.
– OK. OK. I’m going to be here. OK.
– OK? Yes.
– Let’s do it. Number one, if you’re comfortable,
close your eyes. In about 100 years all the humans currently on the planet will be gone except for the few who are just being born and will live
incredibly long lifespans. Number two, my lifespan
is ever decreasing. Number three, death comes whether
or not I am prepared. Number four, my lifespan … Number five, death has many causes … Number six … Number seven, my body is fragile
and vulnerable … So easy for it to be wounded … … a mistake can bring life
to a surprisingly rapid end … Number eight … number nine, my own
body cannot help me when death comes. Feel this body, this intimate vehicle that has carried
you through Earth, the blood pumping you feel it sort of slow down a little bit … The entire metabolism of your body
is coming to a halt slowly, your physical body is dying, the consciousness
is moving towards your heart centre. Everything is swirling slowly inward and
you’re aware now that you are dying. Your drive to live cannot carry you forward. You will create no new memories and now you finally have the knowledge
that this is how you will die. And you are no more. And you are safe and alive and aware. You can sit up. But only when you’re ready,
take your time. So …
– Do I have makeup all over my face? A little bit. OK. What did you experience? It’s like bathing myself in my own anxiety,
basically. Yeah, you took an anxiety bath. I have to be honest,
I wasn’t expecting to like … I’m not a meditator but
that was actually quite profound. I guess because you’re in a peaceful
situation, it’s less scary when you’re looking at it straight on than it is
when you’re like in your own head trying to hide from it. That’s one of the real
benefits of doing the death meditation is that you have a chance to practise it …
– Yeah. Yeah. And think it through without being physically feeling like you’re in any danger.
– Yeah. You feel good?
– I feel really good, yeah. You do? I thought I was going to have to pretend
when I woke up that it had been, ‘Oh, yeah, no, that was really amazing.’ But it was actually. Were you thinking of lying to me? Well, I didn’t want to just wake up
and be like, ‘That was shit.’ That’s wonderful. Thank you so much for your
openness and also for your honesty. Would you say that you’re part of the death-positive movement? Yeah. And that’s quite hard for a lot of people
to get their heads around, li ke death and positive together? I think people think we mean,
‘Yeah death, like yeah, die!’ That’s not how I see it at all. I see it as more, like, OK, death. It’s like, I’m going to
die eventually, let me live like it. People think it’s quite a privileged
position to be in, to be able to plan for your death and think about the best way
that you would want it … Do you think that that’s true? We are all thinking about death. All the time. It might just be a privilege to hire somebody to sit with you during the time of this moment. But folks like me are trying to find ways to create more accessibility so
that everybody can have access. Why did you want to become a death doula? I practised law for 10 years. Right. But I had grown really depressed by my practice and I
met a woman on a bus who had uterine cancer. We spend a lot of time talking
about her life and then her death and it felt very universal, like, why is this not
the thing that we’re talking about? It didn’t seem to be a thing out there. So, that made it super clear that I wanted
to support people through dying. You get to be with humans in their, like,
full humanness, like we’re so human when we’re dying. It’s such a vulnerable and intimate space
and to be invited into it is a gift. And how do you take care of yourself in the process? Because death is a really hard thing
for most people and you encounter it day in, day out. Well, I like French fries a lot,
I eat a lot of French fries. Cos they’re wonderful and delicious. I give myself a lot of freedom to feel
what I want, to be who I am. I cry a lot and I’m OK with that. There are lessons in death all the time. I think the greatest lessons
about living come from dying. What have you learned? That this life is so brief. That it’s maybe an opportunity to just experience this whole weird funky ride. That my existence matters to some but that also it’s pretty insignificant
in the grand scheme of things. And that’s OK. It’s hard to explain why that
worked because everything that Alua made me think about was all stuff that I
think about all the time that’s really, really scary and I guess I’ve always
thought about myself dying as happening in this alien world, in this alien body in
this kind of horrible place but when you realise that it’s this world, this body,
stuff that you’re familiar with it doesn’t seem quite as
horrifying in a way. I do feel like I’ve understood something
I didn’t understand before and I’m actually making some
progress to conquering this anxiety. Thank you for watching episode six. Next week is our last episode in the series and in it I meet Joe. Joe’s 34, has cancer and was told
that he had a year to live. I spent the day with him, his wife and
his friends and he has an amazing, interesting perspective on death. Click subscribe if you don’t want to miss it.

40 thoughts on “Can a death meditation cure my anxiety? | Death Land #6

  1. This is very interesting. I have a fear of it also. I can send myself in the most frightening panic attacks. I'm actually on medication because of it. I have tried meditation but it did not work for me unfortunately. It could have been more to do with the person who was carrying it out on me. I dont know. I like this lady. I definitely hear everything she is saying. She seems like she could maybe make me feel better about death & life.

  2. The gender paygap is a myth,
    But the gender suicide gap is real!

  3. I'm not afraid of dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens. (Woody Allen)

  4. I really liked this video… I have had so many close family members passed these last two years that death has actually became "Real" to me…. Realization that everyone passes over… Its kinda took the scary part out of death just a little bit💕

  5. Are you a vegan? Vegans tend to have a thing about death, due to low energy I think.

  6. Nope but it will make u worse.

  7. anxiety happens due to damage to nervous or myocardil tissue due to toxins released by harmful bacteria or virus that the immune system has been unable to remove permanently. Better hygeine and clean water, air, and foods are the only solution.

  8. this kind of wacky visualizations may actually be fatal. You can not demystify mortality. Mortality is the end. You can not visualize it. Our nervous system allows us to visualize different ideas, but that is only as long as the cells are viable. Stop giving people dangerous misinformation.

  9. Death here is life in eternity , just another type of birth in my opinion …

  10. Suppose we consider that the 5 senses are illusions, hallucinations, in the mind, or that this apparent existence is a dream. So the body is an illusion and therefore so too is death.
    Perhaps Leah's problem is that she believes too much that she is a body.

  11. These Yanks will find anyway to scam money out of anyone..

  12. i've got something that can cure your anxiety in my pants

  13. I would be sad only when my mother dies before I do. I don't know if I would be able to handle the distress. I love nothing in this world, but I love my strong, caring and intelligent mother.

  14. Alua was so wise and inspiring, I could listen to her talk for hours! Thank you Leah for creating this series, I've been finding it really helpful in cultivating my own relationship with death from a place of acceptance and embrace rather than denial and fear.

  15. Hyperbole Central.

  16. Thanks for covering this topic. One of the best pieces of coverage I have see in a while.

  17. Remarkable and very valuable. The bit that really got me was her saying "You will form no more memories". Such an intimate part of oneself to have to renounce.
    Alua Arthur sets a high standard for us as human beings and I am sure that. as a result of this video, the number of people to whom she matters, will grow.

  18. Dear "The Guardian" angel 👼
    Thank you for posting.
    Fear of dying?
    Not Really
    True Stories
    Age 8
    Year: 1980
    Near drowning as a child in my backyard swimming pool.
    1990 –
    Locked away in a drug rehab 6 months, different homes each night with bars and locks.
    Overly strict rules.
    1993 –
    Navy wife, raped.
    1996 –
    Near fatal plane crash
    1997 –
    Held up at gunpoint at a pizza job.
    2000 –
    Dad passed away.
    2012, 2014
    Near death from pneumonia
    Survivor –
    2015, 2017
    Forced drugs in a hospital locked away until released
    2x survivor
    Today, I'm still alive.
    Where did these things happen?
    In the United States of America 😳
    I tell my current husband from time to time:
    "I'm not human"
    My memory is like a Pandora's Box.
    I keep it locked away.
    Therapy has failed me as well.
    Love from 💕
    USA 🇺🇸
    Peace 🌿🕊

  19. Would The Guardian please just send this narcissistic woman to an anaesthetist for a dose of propofol, a cheap and easy experience of death.

  20. Try thinking about how incredibly good we are living compared to lots of people! Especially historically…

  21. Mexican culture isnt afraid of dying in general. We talk about it without any kind of sadness. When mom is kind of feeling sick we usually say to her “dont die tonight, wait till the morning” just for laughing

  22. Ima die a legend.

  23. Just take DMT

  24. No, but Xanax can.

  25. Very interesting

  26. Spread the love everyone ❤❤❤

  27. I really like the jewellery the lady in the yellow dress is wearing…

  28. We aren't all scared of death.

    I'm amazed people are afraid of it.

    Death is grand as long as you lived true to your hopes.

    Which isn't always exciting

  29. Only one more episode?? I will miss this series, but I'm glad Leah is getting the help she needs 🙂

  30. Mmm why is the guardian so quiet? Did you not see the election results? Let me help you out… YOU LOST 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂😂

  31. Dear Remainers,


    Yours sincerely,
    The Brexiteers.

  32. Suspiciously quiet on the elections.. lol

  33. Brilliant. Needs an hour long special.

  34. Death is losing consciousness to this world. We do that every day when we go into deep sleep.

  35. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏
    1:41 🔥🔥
    2019 dec?

  36. This series has been so wonderful because of you and your vulnerability, Leah! I am not afraid of death (I'm a secular Buddhist so death is just throwing off this meat sack – as it were) but I've been VERY interested in your experiences. Thanx bunches!

  37. Sometimes I visualise a peaceful death where I become like compost, slowly rejoining the earth. I find it very comforting. But I have little or no connection with other people; I'm alone and have essentially been that way for the 60+ years of my life. Childhood neglect made me this way. So while death may be preferable to life for someone like me, I'm in no rush. I just watch compost breaking down and giving life to new plants and wait my turn.

  38. Her heart beating through her neck 😲 I feel that fear

  39. Alua's perspective is so reassuring. Also, the editing on this episode was incredible. Excellent job on this and the series overall. So incredibly impactful.

  40. watch how your surprised you’ll be when u die and still realize you are still conscious and still have a “life”on the other side.

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