The Inner Life, v. I/Third Section/XV
THE FEAR OF DEATH
The fear of death is a stern reality in the minds of many people. A far larger number suffer from it than one would suppose, and still more from the fear of what may happen to us after death. Naturally this is especially to be found among people who have ideas of hell, and of probable punishment if they do not believe this or that. It is a gross and degraded form of superstition, but still the suffering is real, and what is even worse is the fear as to the fate of others after death. Many a mother's whole life is embittered by doubts and fears as to what may happen to her son. He goes far away from her, perhaps; he falls into the ordinary habits of men of the world, and does many things contrary to the narrow religious teaching in which she has been brought up, and so she thinks that he must suffer eternal torture. While it is true that there is no eternal hell for him, there is certainly much real earthly suffering for her.
But we know the law of karma, and realize that the states after death are simply a continuation of the life which we are now living, although on a higher plane and without a physical body; and when in addition we learn that what we commonly call life is only one day in the real and greater life, then all these things assume quite a different perspective. We know then that progress is absolutely certain. A man may stumble, he may set himself against the forces of progress, but he will be carried on by them in spite of himself, though when he resists there will be much of bruising and trouble for him. We see at once that this knowledge eliminates fear.
The so-called loss of a loved one by death is really only a temporary absence, and not even that as soon as a man developes the power to see on the higher planes. Those whom we think we have lost are with us still, even though with our physical eyes we cannot see them; and we should never forget that, although we may sometimes be under the delusion that we have lost them, they are not in the least under the delusion that they have lost us, because they can still see our astral bodies, and as soon as we leave the physical vehicle in sleep we are with them and can communicate with them exactly as when they were on the physical plane.
We need not worry ourselves about saving our souls; rather on the other hand, as a Theosophical writer once said, we may not be entirely beyond the hope that some day our souls may save us. There is no soul to be saved in the ordinary sense in which the words are used, because we ourselves are the souls; and furthermore there is nothing to be saved from except our own error and ignorance. The body is nothing but a vestment, and when it is worn out we cast it aside.