Anxiety is a disruption of the stable environment of our natural state of being known as peace of mind.
There are two classifications of anxieties. There are NATURAL ANXIETIES and there are UNNECESSARY ANXIETIES.
Natural Anxieties are rare, yet oftentimes traumatic. Such anxieties are circumstantial due to natural occurrences beyond our control. A prime example is the loss of a loved one. No person, no matter how balanced in perspective or however knowledgeable regarding the natural process of death, is immune to to the natural effects of mourning. Since Natural Anxieties are due to natural events, the recovery from such is a natural process. Given sufficient time; (which I will grant varies from person to person and from case to case) a person traumatized by the effects of Natural Anxiety will recover and eventually return to the stable environment of peace of mind, provided they understand and accept the source of their anxiety.
Unnecessary Anxieties are chiefly classified into two categories. There are Unnecessary Anxieties due to UNDUE FEARS and there are Unnecessary Anxieties due to UNLIMITED DESIRES. (For the purposes of this article, I will limit further comments to UNDUE FEARS. However, as the conquest of these two concerns are key to living a life of genuine happiness, I shall refer to each of them often throughout my writings in this blog)
UNDUE FEARS regarding Death are so burdensome that they can and do impede the natural process of recovery from the effects of the loss of a loved one. The mind conditioned to believe that death is more than the natural dispersion of our elements back into the environment is oftentimes burdened by guilt, fears, and apprehension regarding the natural process of aging and death. As aging and death are but a natural process for all living beings, the knowledge of the natural sciences is an assurance which assists us to comprehend our own mortality. In the words of Epicurus “at birth each of us was poured a mortal brew to drink”.
Marcus Aurelius spoke of death as “a mystery of nature, a composition out of the elements, and a decomposition into the same; and altogether not a thing of which any man should be ashamed, for it is not contrary to the nature of a reasonable animal, and not contrary to the reason of our constitution.”
Again Epicurus maintained that “correct understanding that death is nothing to us makes a mortal life enjoyable”, for “since while we exist, death is not present, and whenever death is present, we do not exist”. Thus, “it (death) is nothing either to the living or the dead, since it does not exist for the living, and the dead no longer are”.
Once again, Marcus Aurelius quite adequately offers assurance in the light of the most basic of all realities which the Natural Sciences reveal regarding the natural process of death and regeneration:
“Observe constantly that all things take place by change, and accustom thyself to consider that the nature of the Universe loves nothing so much as to change the things which are and to make new things like them. For everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which shall be” (emphasis mine, DL)
A proper understanding of the operations of the universe is truly an assurance in times of mourning. When life and death are understood as being the same natural process for all living beings, then there is no troublesome “guesswork” as to the post life status of our loved ones who have passed away. Nor is there a need to fear our own end, except to regard death as the conclusive natural reality to our limited natural existence.
In the words of Epicurus:
“It is impossible for anyone to dispel his fear over the most important matters, if he does not know what is the nature of the universe but instead suspects something that happens in myth. Therefore, it is impossible to obtain unmitigated pleasure without natural science.” (emphasis mine, DL)
To summarize this discussion of “Natural Anxiety and Undue Fears”, please consider again these specific words of the two great Greek Philosophers (each a worthy representative of their respective schools of thought, Epicurus being the founder of Epicureanism, and Marcus Aurelius my personal favorite of the Stoics) whose writings regarding the subject at hand I have so quoted above.
Epicurus, as quoted above, maintains that: “it is impossible to obtain unmitigated pleasure without natural science.”
Meanwhile Marcus Aurelius, as heretofore quoted, summarizes the reality of the operations of the Universe by stating that: “everything that exists is in a manner the seed of that which shall be”
The natural truths addressed by each of these philosophical giants are adequate to aid us through the Natural Anxiety of mourning the loss of a loved one, and are equally sufficient to deliver us from the Undue Fears of death which so oftentimes burden those who have been conditioned to trust speculative myths instead of relying on Natural Science for a proper understanding of the natural operations of the Universe.
If we would but accept our natural being, then we can enjoy the peace of mind so involved.
“As long as we are on the road of life, we must make the later journey better than the beginning, but be happy and content when we have reached the end.” (Epicurus)
“Pass then through this little space of time conformably to nature, and end thy journey in content” (Marcus Aurelius)
May peace of mind be yours and mine, for such is our natural birthright. (Davey Lee)