The strange phenomenon of the Unconscious Death Urge

When someone close to me dies I get acutely aware of a phenomenon known as the unconscious death urge. And in the last number of weeks family members and close friends have either died, or came close to dying. One of those in the second category (who came close to dying) is an uncle of mine. In fact he is my last remaining uncle. He is quite elderly and had a stroke some months back and is now in a semi-vegetative state. About a week or so ago I got word that he was so ill it was unlikely he’d make it through the night. However, made of sturdy stuff as he is, he did and is still with us. I spent several days with him when he was at his lowest. He is still having mini seizures but is not in any noticeable pain and is receiving excellent care from the staff at the Erne hospital, Enniskillen. In the meantime another family member and some friends of mine passed away too. All in the space of a few days.

Around this time I noticed my personal lie got activated. Actually it happened a day or so before I got the phone call about my uncle. I thought this strange. Now the reason it started prior to me getting the news is because the subtle body picks up on what’s happening before it enters our conscious knowing. So even before my brain knew about the impending event another part of me did, and I was already in the energy of it.

Like I said I thought it strange, but I sat with it and allowed it to be and just watched to see what happened. This is how I deal with things. My personal lie, by the way, is I’m unlovable. Now while I have dealt with this on my own personal growth journey, our personal lie, which is part of the birth process, and always closely linked to the unconscious death urge, is always with us. When we are unconscious of it it is running us. But when we become conscious then it no longer controls us. It is no longer who we are.

However, as I said, it can get activated at times of trauma, so we need to remain vigilant, especially when we're in a vulnurable state. Just because we've done a lot of self growth work doesn't mean we're 'finished'. Personal development is on-going work. The real truth about loving yourself is to be able to accept who you once were, even though you know you’re not that person any more.

So what exactly is the unconscious death urge and what happens when it gets activated?

If you want to know what the unconscious death urge feels like just go to a funeral! It’s palpable.

I suppose it could be described as a desire to embrace or get close to that which is most destructive to your life. You may have heard it said (apologies in advance for the impending cliche) that 'the thing we fear is what we draw near'. It can be an unconscious willingness to cooperate in our own self-annihilation. I’m not talking necessarily about suicide, although we’re prone to creating accidents at this time, perhaps fatal ones. It’s more like a withdrawing of support from ourselves. Failing to nurture ourselves when we most need it.

Then things have a tendency to go pear-shaped. If you watch your thoughts they may be darker and more pessimistic than usual. When death intrudes in an unmistakable manner on your life a lot of things get stirred up, such as the covert fear of death. The inescapable fact that all personal identity is ebbing away, that we are losing what we call the 'self' forever.

Disappearing into nothingness.

When the death urge gets activated the first automatic impulse is to do one of two things.

One is to get carried away by the emotion of it. However, as soon as we do we’re in it again. The danger here is that we start acting it out, by that I mean we behave in an aggressive manner towards people, or in a passive-aggressive way, accusing them of not loving us or of betraying us, or whatever.

Alternatively we attempt to push it away. We stoically deny we’re going through any trauma. We can cope. We’re tough.

(I have to confess I fall more into the second category).

Of course when we do this what happens is we push it back down into our cells. This means we will continue to suffer and we have to deal with it later. Denial.

My own way, as I said, is to sit and watch it. I just sit with something and try not to judge it or get rid of it. That allows a space to open up that helps separate what is real from what isn’t. I go ‘this is Eoin thinking the world doesn’t love him’, or ‘this is Eoin feeling he can’t succeed’. You get the picture? All the time knowing that I’m the one doing the watching, I am the Greater Self here, and I know everything will be ok.

Of course I don’t always succeed, I’m as vulnerable to being swept away by emotion as the next guy. So that’s something else you have to keep in mind, that you won’t always succeed. And also that it’s not a battle as to whether you will or not. We can transmute our personal lie into love, but we can never fully erase it.

Closing thoughts

Death is a passing from one state to another, a change, a transition, not an end. But it is a big shift of energy. Imagine a great big meteor crashing down into the sea and the huge tidal wave it would create. It is similar with the transformation of energy from one state to another which we call death. It is bound to have a big impact on the lives of those near (it’s hard not to get wet if you’re close to that tidal wave). Death is a kind of inverted birth. The first death occurs at the moment of separation from the mother, the severing of the umbilical cord. The second at the moment of separation from the physical body, where we move into our next state of evolution.

So how am I? Well I find I am creating more negative thoughts than I'd like to but I'm not going to worry about that.

Also I’m slightly moody, irritable even. But I’m fine. Just thought I’d share that with you.

Thanks for listening.


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There is a voice that doesn’t use words - listen!


Reality is merely an illusion - albeit a persistent one.

Albert Einstein