Notes on Quotes: Life and Death
“Goodbyes are only for those who love with their eyes. Because for those who love with heart and soul there is no such thing as separation.” – Rumi
For most individuals, a goodbye is experienced as the end; bringing sorrow in the discovery that something unique is missing in their lives. We are all ‘tourists’ in Life, sharing a moment with someone who could touch our journey into the next moment. Love from the heart is a type of consciousness, which could take us beyond the sense of individuality and its fears. Only in the perception of individuality we meet attachment, neediness and label those many times as love. However, beyond that perception there is completeness in feeling, in BEING even though someone may be missing in our lives.
“Life and death are one thread, the same line viewed from different sides.” – Lao Tzu
There is no Life without Death, thus it follows; there is no Death without Life. That ‘line’ is truly a circle after all.
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” – Mark Twain
When we fear one side of a coin, fear will also be for the other side, for a side of a coin cannot exist without being the whole coin. Living fully is not a bag of ideas, thrills, or behaviors. Living fully is known by those who love fully with their heart and soul. Truly, that is not a “preparation to die” which is the idea generated by a stoic mind, but a gift received by those who perceive Life from the heart.
“Death is a word, and it is the word, the image, that creates fear.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti
The ones reading these words will not meet his own death. It will be “someone else.” As Life is change, so ‘we’ change with it. For many, the idea of death becomes more acceptable in their old age. Fear does not remain the same. We cannot fear the unknown (Death) but the idea of losing that which has been known. Therefore, Death is simply a word to fear until we meet the reality of it. Paradoxically, there is no fear in the moment of meeting a ‘reality.’ Fear is always there before, in anticipation.
When losing a loved one is unbearable
Autumn arrived. It is the balancing act of Nature. High Summer activity will enter gradually into a period of rest. Some will feel happy because the heat of Summer is over. Others, will remember with nostalgia the great Summer time they had, hoping for that experience to come back again, some day. Summer will be back again. It is certain, just like the cycle of Life and Death.
The disciple was sad. A loving relative passed away. It was unexpected. It was in the midst of Summer. The disciple couldn’t shake that feeling of sadness from his heart. He went to his master and asked:
“Master, why is it so difficult to go over that feeling of sadness? Why does it persist? It is as if my mind brings piles of thoughts which end up in a feeling of despair.”
The master allowed the disciple to weep and when he was ready, the master replied: “ Losing someone we love is another experience in the vastness of Life. There are those who love things after they’ve lost them, and there are those who squeeze things hard so they do not lose them. Observe this: When we live in the mind, it will take us to the past which is gone or to the future which may not arrive. We don’t live in the reality of now, where Life unfolds, where love truly is.”
The disciple was disconcerted. He was waiting for some words to mitigate his pain. He asked: “ Do you think that my sorrow is in vain? I have the right to feel this way.”
The master understood his pain and lovingly said: “I feel your sorrow. Observe that all relationships have value, but when we value one relationship more than another, we set ourselves up for sorrow as all relationships sooner all later will disappear.”
The disciple responded: “Then, it is better not have relationships, for pain will be felt at the end.”
The master remained in silence for some time and then he added: “ Observe that many times we take Life experiences as traumatic experiences. We want to protect our self and by doing that we punish ourselves from the opportunity to forge new relationships. Life is relationship.”
The disciple had enough and he said: “What is the answer then ?”
The master replied: “ That is for you to find out. In a hot and humid Summer day, the wind will blow and clouds will appear turning the sky into a dark, gloomy day. Then, when darkness cannot be anymore, rain and thunder will arrive and lightning may show its anger by hitting things, but then soon it will be over and a rainbow will appear. Like Nature, express at once without holding back and move on into the rainbow for there is much more in Life than lightning and a dark sky. Everything has its own time. All experiences are fleeting. Enjoy an experience while it lasts. Not as a memory but as a heart felt experience while it is happening in the now. That will nourish that self that we try endlessly to protect. Remember that even lightning has its own beauty and that death is not the end but a passage. Summer which is gone now, will certainly return again. Spring time is its own colorful passage. In Life, what goes away comes back and once it is here, it goes away again. It is the circle of duality. That is the game we are offered to play and enjoy or to reject and traumatize.”
Is there life after death?
It was a cloudy day in the middle of nowhere. It was the perfect setting for deep questioning. The disciple asked: “Master, there is a businessman offering prize money for any qualified individual offering proof that consciousness survives after death. Is there life after death?”
The master couldn’t help but laughed out loud and said:” Do you want to win that money?” The disciple said: “ I have no scientific proof even if I knew. How can I do that?”
The master smiled and said:” Science is mostly objective. Spirituality subjective. The world beyond the physical realm is not the study of science. All they could ever have is subjective answers from different experiences of individuals. Consider this: Even if science gives you an answer, something like- Yes, there is Life after death. Consciousness survives- for you, that will be another belief just like a religious belief. When faced with the experience of death, you will be afraid and finally accept it just like a cow does when facing a slaughter house, but the general human distaste and fear of death and the unknown, will be there like a shadow throughout your life. Do you realize that?”
The disciple was anguished by that answer. He uttered: “ There is no hope then.”
The master said: “Hope? There is no need for hope for those who know. A drop of water separates from the Ocean. That consciousness creates suffering. The drop is the Ocean itself. It has been said: ‘Know thyself then thou shall know the Universe and God.’ Right there is the answer, but most are not ready to go inside but rather start their journeys from the outside.”
The disciple said: “ The Universe and God will be known to me when I know myself?”
The master replied: “That is correct. Not before. By BEING that experiential knowing, that living presence, and not intellectually or through second hand information or beliefs, how could you be afraid of death? How could you ask what is there after death?”
The disciple said: “But that person who knows could tell others and help them in their lives.”
The master then said:” The one who knows through the process of self-realization is helping by only saying the necessary according to someone’s path, for they know the path. The ones who had personal supernatural experiences are being interviewed all the time. Their particular experience becomes another belief for others. Everyone has their own timing to start.”
The disciple asked: “Master, where do I start?”
The master said: “By dying from that self. That is the price that few are willing to pay. Most are only curious. They only want answers to be right. Most are not willing to go deep into their own lives to peel off all the layers of the onion of the self. Most are no willing to die from that shell of layers that they have built around themselves and in that perceived comfort, surrounded by their worldly distractions, achievements, conditioning and power struggle; in that sleepy trance, is how they encounter death. Obviously, fear and the desire to be certain will be there. They will cling to what they know by accepting beliefs from a subjective experience or tradition, unwilling to let all of that go. That is, they want hope that a sleepy consciousness will survive.”
The nature of living and dying for the common good
The master was at the beach with his disciple observing Nature without a reason or purpose in mind.
As they were looking, a bird similar to an eagle appeared flying from behind them. It was quite big and descended quickly like a rocket into the sea, to catch a fish with its claws. It was a successful catch. The bird took the fish to a near electric pole and devoured it.
The disciple exclaimed: “Poor fish!” The master smiled and took a moment to respond: “ To put yourself in the shoes of another ’s fate is empathy, that is laudable. The human world has lost contact with the laws of Nature and thus, perceptions are contradictory. In Nature, the hunter and the prey are merely fulfilling a harmonious order, a balance in Nature. Death is part of Living. The population of birds, fish and other animals and plants are in balance and can fulfill their purpose, their roles of living without being extinguished. That holds true for every species except humans.”
The disciple said: “Then it was right for that bird to kill that fish to survive?”
The master said: “ Let us not think in terms of right or wrong. In Nature, things happen without ultimate reason but the common good. The bird did not act in an evil way despite killing. The fish wasn’t a victim despite being killed. There was an ultimate balance, for there wasn’t a purpose other than the common good.”
The disciple said: “ I don’t understand your lack of empathy for the fish.”
The master said: “Observe. It is not about my empathy or yours. When you judge Nature based on human morality there will be contradiction and misunderstanding. Nature cannot be understood through the mind made reality of written moral standards. Harmonious balance for the common good is the song in Nature not a written paragraph. We cannot judge Nature’s methods.”
The disciple tried to understand but had a puzzled look in his face. The master then continued: “In the human world there is an ultimate purpose. It is called profit, gain. That is not for the common good but for the perceived benefit of few above the rest. That is why their killing or any other action behind that purpose is ugly. Look at how people succumb to Nature. That is what is labeled as natural disasters. Balance is the ultimate purpose and humans are in that as well as any other beings on Earth. We are all one. There is no will for profit there. Observe how humans kill each other or other defenseless beings for a reason which only fit their own interests. Remember this: Your intention behind your action is the most important ingredient for the type of Life that you will experience. If your intention is service for the common good, how wonderful your life would be. Life itself will be with you. Knowing that, you wouldn’t live without serving others. You may need to go beyond good and evil to observe a different reality.”
Then the master sighed and continued: “What I said may be misunderstood for our human conditioning and beliefs are very strong. Just remember this: I am not here to change your beliefs. What you need to understand will come to you naturally without effort, without struggle.”
“Good and Bad” are not separate.
A duality is understood as two separate options when truly is one line of continuity. I am not speaking about the “morality” of what we perceive as “bad” or “wrong” for that is a human value. I am pointing out that our perception of a duality as separate, opposite sides is an illusion in the “reality” of Life. We need language to identify a side of that duality, but if we consider one side valuable and despise or reject the other, we are setting ourselves up for suffering. Language is an identifier but let us forget the connotation that it brings, if we want to go deeper. For example, the word “snake” brings a connotation according to tradition or cultural conditioning (devil, penis, medicine- caduceus-, etc.) if we are influenced by that, we cannot look at the reality of the snake appearing in front us. The mind and its conditioning will give us an illusory reality.
Let me illustrate with the duality of life and death.
The weather is getting hotter because of the increase of carbon dioxide emissions. Superficially, we could say that “Australia is one of the largest per capita emission of carbon dioxide in the world; “ and come up with a “reason” for dead kangaroos and other animals there at this time, due to the recent fires. However, Life does not make distinctions of nationalities, which are man made illusions, part of the conditioning. Is Global warming “good or bad”?
Our moral conditioned mind will say “ It is bad.” Yet, our human “progress” depends on it. In a nutshell, the “economy needs global warming to thrive.” More cars, more coal powered electrical stations, more energy dependent sources on petrol and oil which are used in greater quantities as human population increases.
What we DO is in contradiction with what we say. It is called politics.
Do we see how something which we apparently call “bad” could be turned into “good” after a couple of turns in the streets of Life? We could change our perspective of “good and bad,” due to mass media and political pressures, but we cannot change the consequences.
Every belief and support in something labeled as “good” will bring its “bad” effect as well. Observe the current international situation between Iran and the USA. We are used to take sides based on our assesment of the “good and bad;” however, ego manifested as desire for control, is the “real” cause to observe and that ego is more important in the “normal” human mind than to respect Life. No matter what religious or moral teachings we may have superficially accepted about protecting Life; sooner or later the “truth” of who we ARE will come out. Then, the question of choosing countries and pair them with a label such as “good or bad” seems very infantile. Another example? it is said that the belief in God has brought some social order but many lives have been taken as well due to that belief. Our conditioning will follow what mainstream teaches us, but every belief has 2 sides which cannot be taken apart: To separate a duality to support one side and reject the other is insane; however, it is the “bread and butter” of our spiritual/religious/moral teachings.
Many years ago while I was running, a car hit a deer. The deer could hardly walk and went near the bushes to the side of the road. I looked for help as I didn’t know what to do. A couple of firefighters came with a security guard. They offered shooting the deer with a gun and “end its misery.” The firefighters “jokingly” (but seriously) were talking about eating the deer afterwards. I was in my late twenty’s at the time. I wanted for the deer to be in a tranquil space and asked for help because I thought the deer could get well. Nevertheless, I had to forcefully convince the people around me to let the deer go naturally. The “help” I brought, didn’t help in my view. I could see the face of despair of the deer. I couldn’t understand how some people were not sensible to pain and suffering. There was no empathy. Their “economic interests” were more important. From the time the deer was hit until it finally died, about 1 hour lapsed. I saw the deer die, and then the “helpful” people helped themselves.
Now, I understand that other humans will see Life with different eyes. Where some see despair and anguish; others see an opportunity to eat. Who is to say that my view is “good” and theirs “bad”? Judgment is out of the way in Life. There will be consequences for all players. No matter what we believe is “good or bad.” Life is about the experience of consequences. Are we able to OBSERVE the consequences of our own actions? As a consequence of this incident, I developed a trauma: I had to fight with others to impose my views which I thought were “right,” “compassionate,” etc. Superior than other people’s views. Also, the witnessing of pain and suffering in others affected me as if it was my own. Empathy is different than suffering for others. Their experience is not mine. Those traumas were with me for a long time. I am sure other consequences were experienced by the other “players” of the deer scene, although they may not be aware of that.
Beyond duality, there is the common good which cannot be perceived by the conditioned mind. It is only felt when there are no reasons or interests at stake.
Dying is the way of Living
The significance of Death changes according to consciousness.
For most, there is only one death; at the end of Life. Typically, we will perceive death as something “bad”, which we need to delay even though quality of Life may be lacking. These are the individuals “fighting Death.” We hear: “After a long fight, he lost the battle with cancer” (or some other disease.) From that nonsensical perception, we don’t realize that “we will always lose to death.” Always.
Our petty fighting attitude only brings animosity towards the inevitable. A trauma.
Embrace death. After all; it is part of living. The duality of life and death will be experienced. Why reject one side of the same experience?
Death brings fear to the unknown. However, what we truly fear is to lose that which is known. Thus, we may need to learn to die from the known.
It is in that understanding, how a different consciousness could perceive that there is no better way to live Life than dying psychologically while living.
In one lifetime, the one who was born, is not the same as the one who dies. That may require a bit more awareness to understand. The one who experiences death has no part of him identifying with the one who was born: The body is different, the mind is different. Nevertheless, what creates the linear identity of ‘I am the same,’ is the attachment to different things in Life. That could be names, people, objects, positions, ideals, beliefs, etc. That creates the sense of “self.”
Therefore, the greatest attachment is the perception of “self.” We greatly cling to it.
Life will bring many experiences where we feel that we “have lost” something but then, we DO things to gain something back for ourselves. That game, we usually call Life.
“Self” is being built through that game.
When Life brings the experience to “lose” something; we don’t see that this brings the opposite as well, automatically once the old is “lost”, newness is gained. We “win” newness through that duality.
If the above is fully understood, we could observe that dying from something is the way to gain; but the hardest part is the mental clinging of the past, for that which is gone. Then, we live in the past and we are not able to die from the past. We fight. Thus, there is no newness.
Observe. Become aware. Accept. Move on.
Life will “give” but also will “take away” to give something else. Are we willing to play that game?
“Willingness” means our capacity to die from who we were and accept the newness of who we could be. “Losing is winning.”
That game when fully experienced, will change that sense of self; reducing its size until one day, we have died from “self.”
Then, there is nothing to be attached to. We dropped the burden by dying psychologically from a static sense of “self.”
When the psychological “self” is not there, Who is going to die?
Learning to die at every moment, is the way to live.
Conditioning in Death
Is there Life after death?
Generally, no. Neither for “you” or “I.”
What is death?
The complementary state of Life.
Is death painful?
Once “you” are death, No.
What happens after death?
You will find out, but “you” will not remember.
How does rebirth happen?
When “you” are no longer there, someone else is.
These kinds of questions will fill our minds. When a dear one dies, then we say : “How lucky I am !” and we will continue on with our “objectives,” “goals,” and “successful activities” as if there was no death at the end of the road, to wash away all of our “accomplishments.”
Our society has sold us the idea that there is a permanent “Me,” an unchanging “I” that needs to continue on in “heaven,” the “afterlife,” in another realm, even if it is “hell,” but “I” must continue.
In another realm, “I” will take a new label as a name: “Spirit” is good, “atma” (soul) is better…
A religion is nothing else but insurance for the “afterlife.” Your monthly payments are due now, while alive and then you are promised that “you” will get the pay off “over there.” What a sweet deal!
“The office world” will sell us “insurance” to be prepared for those events that we cannot control. With a little money back, we believe that we could compensate any “loss” from any “act of god.” But it doesn’t finish there. “I” have to take care of “my” family too, even though “I” am no longer here. The message is clear: “Live for others.” Worry, preoccupy in making sure that “part of you” survives very well, despite “you” going away.
Your heirs may not give a damn about the little cash you left, but “you” think that “you” have fulfilled your duties. A golden star in your chart when God counts your virtues for the final judgment, hell vs. heaven! Yeah It is all about “you.”
Our Life is filled with fear and then we fear death. Isn’t that a sorry state to be in?
If that “I” dies while living Life; who could die, when death arrives? That is the riddle!
I know, it is hard to “get it.” However, it is not meant to be “gotten.” It is meant to be experienced.
When? When you are ready. Until then, enjoy “your” Life.
Questions have been answered straight to the point, so free “yourself,” let your mind go for a walk, a long walk…. to enjoy. 🙂