I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain. - Frank Herbert, Dune
In the night of Saturday 5th November 2011 I died and was reborn. In that night I was facing the deepest fear I ever experienced in my life: the fear to fail in something I wanted to achieve. The thing what I wanted to achieve was quite trivial, I simply wanted to pass the first of three math exams I had to pass to finally finish my studies after studying for nearly a full decade. The issue was that ever since school my mind was programmed and condition that I am not good in maths, thanks to one of them great math “teachers” which are the main reason why mathematics has its bad repuation. On that night I failed to solve a problem in preparation of the exam until exhausted I went to bed where I could not sleep and repeatedly got up to try again - failing again and again. I could not sleep, the fear rising inside me, my mind screaming in self doubt that I might be too stupid to pass this exam, that I am not good enough, that I will fail.
And then I died: I completely gave in to this fear and the fear completely consumed me and I went into the darkness. I went down into the deepest Abyss inside me, where it was darkest surrounded by screaming blackness and chaos. Time stood still and I was wrestling in this Abyss with my fear, with myself, with my own darkness. And then I was reborn. Out of nowhere into the darkness came light, in the form of the Logos, manifesting a thought: enough of this fear, enough of this self doubt, I will give my best and this will be enough - I am good enough. Gone was the fear, gone was the self-doubt, I was reborn, transformed into a new being which overcame an existential fear.
This profound experience tranformed me deepely and set free a tremendous amount of energy: I went on to pass all math exams as well as statistics (which was way harder), followed up with a Masters Degree and a PhD. I believe that I would not be where I am today without this death and rebirth and I truly believe that such processes were intentionally used as (sometimes literally deadly) initiation rites in old spirtiual traditions for character building and strengthening the mind and soul.
I wonder and am curious: will there be another death waiting for me in the future, and if yes, how will it look like and will I be reborn again?