Ahh, Death. The Big Endo. La Muerte. Annhilation, Cessation, Darkness and Demise. The Grim Reaper.
Death is no big deal.
That may sound provocative. As humans, we are sooo fascinated by death. It’s the thing we fear most, try to avoid most, and the thing we feel the most devastated by, if we find out that we are dying or that a loved one is dying or dead.
At the Absolute level, these individual bodies and identities are merely temporary projections of the One Awareness, so, like the actors in a movie, nobody actually gets born or dies. It’s simply Awareness projecting form and consciousness for Its own delight, constantly changing, never ending, so there’s nothing to mourn.
And yet we mourn. We identify with our individual bodies and lives, think they are separate, personal and so very real, and then we take our supposed ‘ending’ as a tragic, conclusive event.
The tragedy of tragedies that causes us to experience a level of wailing, devastation, and bereavement incomparable to any other loss in our lives. The event we never want to face, never want to talk about, never even want to be aware that it’s around the corner for every one of us. We live, plan, acquire and tra-la-de-da as if we will always be able to continue in this body and personality forever. We are very good at avoiding all thoughts of our own demise.
Death becomes the passage of which we are so freaked out and terrified that we literally shape every critical choice and facet of our lives around it, consciously or unconsciously. A friend of mine often refers to our current paradigm on earth as “survival domain,” in which our constant foremost concern is our own survival, rendering very difficult the kind of selfless, Oneness thinking and advancement in consciousness that would transform this world.
Whether we are an ordinary workaday unphilosophical person, a deep analytical thinker, or someone who claims to be fully assured and comforted by their religion’s description of an ‘afterlife,’ make no mistake, death is the single most impactful topic of concern on every mind. Even within those religion’s very bibles, aside from God’s creation and laws, the sagas most dwelled upon and tarried over are the deaths of the key individuals, and how dramatic or compelling those deaths were. Virtually every popular story, Shakespearean stage play, movie and TV show has the death of some key character as its core and arc.
So it’s essential to take a look at death in the light of Truth. If we could shift our perspective from death being this horrifying, frightening, mysterious end to us, to death being no big deal, actually an inconsequential illusion, every being, action and state of mind in this world would be immediately transformed. There’d be nothing to fight over, nothing to grieve over, no boundaries or safety to ‘secure,’ and very little to worry about. Imagine a world like that (as John Lennon did;) now imagine all it would take is knowing we never die (not even John.)
Note: The following is an understanding of death from an awake, non-dual, Pure Awareness or Ultimate Truth standpoint. It is not intended to belittle any person’s valid & respected emotion over a recent death of a loved one. We recognize that as long as we seem to be in human form, a significant part of that is to experience big changes & emotions in response to someone’s (seeming) disappearance from this earth.
This website, toawaken, is about waking up. From what? From your false identity to your True Identity. From identifying with your ‘separate’ body, mind and personality – thinking that’s who you are and all you are – to knowing, not just mentally but experientially, that there is only One Entity, Awareness, and that ‘you’ are One with that, and in actuality, do not really even possess a ‘separate’ body, mind and ego identity. That those are only temporary illusions or projections of the One. This is the Absolute Truth, and considering things from this Knowledge can be called the Absolute Viewpoint; considering things from the “I am a separate human” perspective can be called the ‘relative viewpoint.’ We will examine Death from both the Absolute and the relative view.
From the Absolute View, only Spirit or Pure Awareness exists, and what seems like very real galaxies, beings, bodies and separate lives are just projections of that Awareness, having no separate corporeal existence of their own, just as the actors & images on a movie screen are just temporary projections without real lives of their own, which instantly evaporate the moment the projection stops, the light comes on and the pure white Screen appears as the reality behind it. From this View, pining for one’s life or fearing death is a non-issue. We never had our own individual identities or bodies in the first place, so there’s nothing to die, nothing to end, nothing to lose. We ‘started’ as Pure Awareness, we always are That, and we’ll never be other than That. If we seemed to temporarily identify with one specific body, mind and life, and even if it seemed to take countless lifetimes to ‘eventually’ realize our True Identity – i.e., awaken or experience enlightenment – all of that is of no consequence to Pure Awareness. Time does not exist at the Absolute level, so even if it seemed like there was a transition in ‘time’ and ‘space’ where Awareness ‘gave birth’ to many ‘separate’ beings who slowly made their march back to Oneness with It, to Awareness nothing actually happened…or it would have all happened Now. There is only Now.
Awareness doesn’t ‘know’ or ‘understand’ things the way our human minds try to; Awareness simply is everything, or more precisely, the ‘nothing’ behind everything. So It doesn’t ‘know’ that part of its ‘projection’ might identify itself as a separate being who takes itself way too seriously and fears it has an impermanent lifespan. At the Absolute level of Spirit, or Awareness, or God, or Ultimate Truth, or whatever you like to call it, everything just Is, and that Is-ness is absolutely perfect in Itself; It could not be otherwise.
If all that seems hard to comprehend with your mind, no matter. The human mind, incredible as it is, is very limited in its capacity, accounting for only a fraction of what your consciousness actually knows and experiences. More importantly, the mind is part of the illusion. It’s part of the very projection it wants to understand, so it could no more understand what’s behind that projection or wrap itself around its phantom existence, than could a fish comprehend the water that always surrounds it, or your eye see itself. The bottom line is that the ‘seemingly-separate ‘lives’ of our minds & food-bodies are not who we really Are, and what we Really Are has no beginning or end, so fearing your own end or sobbing over someone else’s is all just more of the illusion. An awakened sage simply knows he or she cannot die…not in the ‘religious’ sense, where some part of them like the “soul” or “astral body” will go on in an “afterlife,” but more precisely, because there never was a separate ‘he or she’ in the first place!
This is Absolute Truth, and you cannot comprehend this with your mind. You can only experience it directly, and the paradox is that at the Now when you are having this direct experience and knowing without question that is indeed True, there can be no separate ‘you’ to experience it. That ‘you’ must dissolve in order for you to even enter this experience. So in a sense, it’s not an experience at all, for that would require an experiencer. Since you must disappear, it just Is.
Which brings us to examining Death from the ‘relative’ view, that of you actually having a separate mind & body. From that point of view, it would seem natural to feel great remorse over the ‘death’ or ending of something that really existed and was so warm, beautiful and capable of a brilliant life and great love. But even from the relative perspective, if we examine things closely, we see that it’s not natural at all. Indeed, it makes no sense.
For starters, both Modern Science and Eastern spirituality agree that everything in the material world that seems to have solidness and continuity, is in fact, over 99% space. Even as science has isolated the material components that ‘appear’ to give solid mass to things – the molecule, then the atom, then the individual parts of an atom – and continued to crack each one open to find out what’s inside, and what’s inside that, what they keep finding is nothing. Each time they pierce inside of one of these tinier & tinier ‘shells,’ they find it’s just filled with space…there’s nothing there! In the Buddhist tradition, they have know this for thousands of years. They have directly experienced that, although there appears to be sensations rising & falling in the ‘field’ of Awareness, there is in fact no solidity or continuity to any of it…just empty patterns coming and going in nothingness. Not much to be attached to, there. If our bodies & minds are just bunch of random sensations & occurrences with pure space between them, what exactly are we mourning when those random atoms break away from the temporary pattern they were forming to go on existing as a different pattern or pure space?
The great Indian sage Sri Nisargadatta has a beautiful way of clarifying this. He reminds the mourner that what they are actually mourning as a terrible loss is actually nothing more than random acts of chance. There was no guarantee that a particular man & woman would come together and try to conceive. Then there was no guarantee that their attempts would be successful. It was all chance. Then, from embryo to birth to child, to teenager to young adult to middle-aged adult, that seemingly-continuous person has actually never been continuous, has actually changed thousands of times, with almost every one of those changes brought about by chance, by things the ‘individual’ could not control. So when this ‘individual’ dies, you are not mourning the ‘same’ continuous individual, you are actually mourning thousands of acts of chance you could never have predicted or controlled anyway.
Even at the most mundane level, insisting, “Well, at least to me, they seemed the same person across time and I wanted unlimited time with them,” it makes very little sense to put such an emphasis on this thing called ‘death.’ Death’s significance is inextricably caught up in ‘time.’ If you believe time really exists, you will feel despondent when their allotted time has ended and you can now no longer spend ‘time’ with them.
In the relative view of separate beings existing over time, this Universe is estimated to be a minimum of 5 billion years old. If you were to lay out that 5 billion years across a 24-hour clock, the average human lifespan of 75, 85 even 95 years, would appear and be gone at .000005 (five-millionths) of one second before midnight. Truly, here & gone as if it was never there. All of us. When we are afraid of, or mourning for, death, we are arguing against the natural completion of a momentary existence that had no more significance in the Universe than a mosquito landing on the eternal Sun.
Once again, we are not trying to belittle anyone’s attachment to their own body and life or the lives of someone they feel they’ve ‘lost.’ We are simply providing other ways of holding death, from both the Absolute and relative viewpoints, to make it easier to see that Awareness, your True Nature, is permanent and nothing is lost. Ever.
Ultimately, this does no good for our minds. For minds are the illusion that makes us feel like separate individuals in the first place, and like there really is something terribly lost when the body-mind dies. Complete freedom from worrying about death, our own or our loved ones, can only be experienced when we dwell in our True Nature continuously, having let go permanently of the illusion that these bodies, minds and personal identities are real. That’s is why, through sharing the Truth about Absolute Reality on this website, we invite you…to awaken.