A very close member of my family has cancer and will soon pass away. When death is this close it requires contemplation. In our world, so many people have died unexpectedly and quickly. It is usually a subject we prefer to ignore, but death stands before us and asks to be looked at.
Every day our bodies change. A fetus grows into a child, who grows into an adult, who becomes old and sick and dies. Death, of course, is inevitable and natural. After death we, according to our karma, take another body – or go some place in the astral world like heaven or hell. The point is, our body may die but our consciousness does not die. The spirit that dwells within the physical body is separate from the physical body. The outer body is destructible and the inner spirit, inner Being, Presence, Awareness, Consciousness is indestructible.
Living In Fear
When we live thinking we are the body and have forgotten and covered up the reality that we essentially are Consciousness, we live in fear. We think we are the destructible and have forgotten we are the indestructible. This is the reason most people are uncomfortable talking about death.
When we think we are the body, when we forget our true nature, and when we live in this sub-conscious fear, we become attached to our actions. All we experience is the ever-changing aspect of life. When we realize our true, unchanging nature, then we understand that nothing changeable and perishable can affect the immortal.
Our True Nature
In the East, death is referred to as casting off an old garment only to take on a new one. The Jiva, the spirit within, casts off an old body to take a new one. Nothing can affect the Jiva, the Self. Our true existence, our consciousness, is not destroyed by death. The transcendental, absolute Self, the unchanging Awareness, can not be affected by the relative, ever-changing body.
The Self is eternal, all pervading, stable, immovable and forever unchanging. We are generally comfortable with tangible things that our senses can see, hold, smell, taste and hear. Spirit is generally forgotten because it is intangible, without attributes and transcendent. Behind the world of change and phenomenal existence lies eternal Consciousness.
Food does not nourish until it is eaten. While understanding is the first step, experience is required to end this fear. Experiencing the reality that we are Consciousness is required. That’s where meditation comes in – Not contemplating, not present moment awareness, not concentration, but the actual experience of transcending the relative reality and being in the silence of pure existence. When thoughts end, pure Consciousness is what is left. While there is value in all practices that are mind-centered, going beyond mind, beyond thoughts, to the source of thought, is required to experience true reality.
All this does not mitigate or decrease the loss. Not even the full experience, the enlightened experience, can lessen the loss, the missing of that person, the decrease in humanity, the breaking of the heart, the tears.
The tears reflect our love, our compassion.