A Deeper Understanding of Death
Just as we are born from the formless, spiritual realm into the physical, we also return to it. It is a natural movement of Oneness expressing itself as a person for a little while.
How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:
Put aside everything you think you already know.
Open your mind and heart to receive something new.
Take your time going through each point.
Return to any points that particularly touch you.
In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.
1. The Fear of Death
"What happens to me after I die? Where do I go?
Life has given you a clue. God has given you a clue. What happens to you when you are in a deep sleep? Are you alive?
You are not going to die.
This body will one day complete its term, and will go to where it goes. But you, who you know to be your Self, will not taste what death is. You don’t know what it is. It's not the way in which you presently imagine.
Myself also, I used to have a great terror of death. I used to see so much of it. I thought, Oh my God, it is horrible. Why does it have to be so horrible? At the end of all this it is so horrible. It seems so unfair.
Then it came to me one day. They say, your first breath in life is “in,” and your last breath is “out.” And it came to me one day that the reason why I was afraid of death was, when I saw dead bodies, I always thought there was a person dead in there. Oh no, it’s horrible, I don’t want to be dead in a body.
Then I realised the last breath is out. The life force is gone. All the elements return to their proper place. This body collapses and it gets recycled, not destroyed. Its form is changed.
When you go to sleep, where do you go?
Let these words find their way in you and don’t be afraid."
~Mooji, from the video: Last Breath - You're Not Going to Die
"When you are about to die, you may not be very aware of your body. You may experience some numbness, and yet you are caught in the idea that this body is you. You are caught in the notion that the disintegration of this body is your own disintegration.
That is why you are fearful. You are afraid you are becoming nothing.
The disintegration of this body cannot affect the dying person’s true nature. You have to explain to him that he is life without limit. This body is just a manifestation, like a cloud.
When a cloud is no longer a cloud, it is not lost. It has not become nothing; it has transformed; it has become rain. Therefore we should not identify ourselves with our body.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear
By ignoring, avoiding, and fearing the subject and reality of death, we are missing out on all this great teacher can show us concerning our true nature. There is so much we can learn from death if we are open to seeing with new eyes.
2. The Mystery of Death
"The first thing to discover experientially is that you are essentially invisible.
What I can see of you is the body and sometimes I may be able to see certain things in your mental-emotional field. I can hear the words that you speak. I can see facial expressions that give me a hint of what you’re feeling or thinking.
But anybody who was looking for you in the realm of physicality would not find you.
When your dog or cat dies, which can be a very sad thing for people, you may realize in that moment, that which you essentially loved and related to in the dog or the cat isn’t there anymore. So, the touch is still the same, but something essentially is gone, and that was always invisible.
You might like the way the dog looks and what it does, but when you relate to a dog you essentially love the consciousness of the dog. That’s what you love in the dog. And when you look into the eyes of a dog, there’s the consciousness of the dog looking back at you.
It’s the same with a human. What you love in a human is the consciousness of the other human. All that is invisible because consciousness is the greatest mystery.
Science still has no idea what to do with it. It cannot explain consciousness and, in most cases, avoids talking about consciousness.
The greatest mystery is the fact that the universe is conscious and that you are conscious.
A surgeon looking for you by cutting open your skull and analyzing your brain will not find even a trace of you, will not even find any of your countless memories that you have somewhere.
In what form does a memory survive in you? The memory of your first teacher at school, I just mentioned the word and suddenly an image of the first teacher you had at school comes to you. It was somewhere, but where did that live in you? Was that in a molecule or an atom? What is it? Nobody knows and no one can find even the memories that make up the person that you are.
Even on that level, let alone the deeper level of the unconditioned consciousness, nobody can find you there.
You don’t exist in the realm of the visible. And not just in the deepest essence - even as a person, the person that you are, which is a mental-emotional construct or identity - you cannot find a thought as a material form. You don’t even know what a thought is. It doesn’t exist in the realm of the visible.
So you are essentially invisible."
~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: Is Life After Death an Egoic Concept?
Eckhart's words show us that we do not exist in the visible realm. This is a profound concept to grasp but we do not need to be concerned with understanding this intellectually.
The point here is to know that we are not the body. So when the body dies, who we truly are does not die.
3. The Sacredness of Death
"Any kind of loss or death leaves an emptiness behind when the form is no longer there. Don’t run away from that empty space. It’s an opening into the formless.
One could say every form obscures God and the death of the form enables God, which is the formless One, Life, to shine through.
Therefore, death has long been recognized as sacred in ancient cultures that had not denied it, whereas the modern, western civilization denies death. They don’t know it’s sacred. They don’t even want to talk about it.
Death is hidden because the western culture is totally identified with form, with mind, so the worst possible thing for it is death.
Every old people’s home, if they accepted it, would be a spiritual center. The greatest ashrams would be old people’s homes because that is the potential of old age. But it’s not recognized yet. They would be the most sacred places.
These ancient cultures had recognized the sacredness of death, not knowing perhaps why. Intuitively, they knew it to be sacred. But now we can see why it is sacred.
Because the formless shines through where there was the form."
~Eckhart Tolle, from the video: Beyond the Form - Allowing Loss
Death leaves an emptiness of form which is filled with the sacred shining of the formless. What a blessing to see the sacredness of death!
4. The Unity of Death
"How would you describe the place where our dear ones go?
I would describe it simply as your heart. They were always in your heart as your heart. That’s why you loved them. That’s what the feeling of love is: you and I are one.
Your father always lived in your heart. It’s where he only ever lived. He seemed to live down the road or in the next city but that’s not really true - that was just at the level of appearance.
He always lived in your heart. He always was your heart. He always is your heart.
Now you can’t find him down the road anymore so the only place you find him is in your heart. That’s how to understand death. That’s how to understand the ones you lose.
You don’t lose them, you gain them.
My father passed away 18 months ago now and I mean this honestly, really honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever felt as close to him as I do now.
You are feeling the shared being that you eternally are. The separation between you was just a temporary appearance. It lasted a little while, like a play on a stage that lasts a few hours. The unity that you always are is now evident in your experience.
Sometimes, for some of us, we have to lose someone before we really feel that about them. But having understood that now, don’t feel that you need to lose any other people before recognizing this about them. And allow that understanding to be your father’s parting gift to you.
So, when you now find yourself relating with friends, with neighbours, with family, with close people, people who are not close, people you like, people you dislike, everybody, don’t wait until they die to realize: Oh, I shared my being with them all along!
Realize that now. Express that to them now - to the strangers, to the friends, to the family, now, to everyone.
Sometimes we have to lose someone before we really gain them. It’s like that sometimes."
~Rupert Spira, from the video: Where Do Loved Ones Go When They Die?
"That's how to understand death," Rupert tells us, "You don't lose them, you gain them." It's worth sitting with these words in a silent way, letting all our initial thoughts, reactions and objections pass through.
This is a matter of the heart. It has always been a matter of the heart. If we could put aside all the conditioned mind thinks it knows and tune in to our experience, we would find that those we love do indeed live in our heart. And this heart has the capacity to hold all of humanity.
5. The Oneness of Death
"A wave is ocean, and when it rises up, it is given the name ‘wave’. When it is given this name, it is like it has an independent existence. It seems to roll along the surface, which is all water—water flowing in water—and this we call life. Then it subsides and this is called death.
Actually, nothing happened to the water. It is just a natural movement, but because name and form are attributed to it, it appears as a separate existence or entity.
All the while it is only the play of water rising, flowing, subsiding—no story. Mind makes the story by creating an illusory identity.
In true understanding, it is all one.
When the identity rises up, we celebrate it as a birth and when it flows, we call it life. When it subsides, we call it death and grieve. But really, if you look from the perspective of the True, nothing really happened except the dreamed life of a ghost comes to an end."
“A wave has a right to live her life as a wave, but she must also learn to live her life as water because she is not only a wave. She is also water. And water lives without the fear carried by the wave.”
~Thich Nhat Hanh, No Death, No Fear
The cycle of birth, life and death is beautifully described here as the natural movement of the water in a wave. Just as we are born from the formless, spiritual realm into the physical, we also return to it. It is a natural movement of Oneness expressing itself as a person for a little while.
6. Death As the Greatest Teacher
"Death is the greatest teacher of all.
Greater than all human philosophies.
Truer than any religion.
Death strips away the lies, the pretense.
Death makes a mockery of our resentment.
It burns our greed, grudges and grievances.
Death invites us to be utterly present.
To let go.
To meet, without history.
Death makes it plain that only love matters.
That only love makes life worth living.
And all else is dust.
Death is a ruthless portal.
Worldly riches are powerless against it.
Hatred cannot survive it.
Only love can pass through.
We return to our True Nature.
The cycle is complete."
Death "strips away," "makes a mockery," and "burns" all that is not true in us. Such harsh words and yet, what remains is love.
At the end of our earthly journey, nothing really matters except the love that we have always been and the falling away of everything that hides it.