Why Death is Not a Problem
If you were God, the All-Knowing, Omnipotent Universal ONE, what would you do for kicks?
One possible way you could have fun that would be interesting or novel would be to disperse your awareness into a zillion separate parts, each “making believe” that it was the most important ... not quite seeing how it fit into the whole picture. Then you (I, we, he, she,) could watch the drama unfold with great interest (fear, delight, chagrin,) in all it’s infinite variety, conveniently forgetting it’s just THE ONE, playing hide-and-seek with Our Self!
All newborn infants instinctively “know” that they are one with creation. They may get cranky and complain, but the newly-incarnated never worry like we “mature” people do. Naturally fearless, fresh from the womb of creation, a baby continues to directly experience its own cosmic nature. You don't remember it very well, but you too once existed in such a state, not that long ago. The process of forgetting—and eventually remembering -- this universal connection, is the drama of your life and your journey towards enlightenment.
BODY & SOUL
Soon after being born, like most human beings, you underwent the necessary processes of individuation. You were introduced to your family, tagged with a name, indoctrinated into your social role, and bequeathed your cultural identity. Soon forgetting your cosmic origins, you became completely preoccupied with your sexy new existence. The accumulating sensory intake of the present vehicle began to feel like the center of all experience. This centralization of experience and vantage point over time formed memory, and the focus of attention we call the ego, or “self.”
You point towards your body and identify “me,” as opposed to the rest of the world. The conventional and most convenient boundary between this assumed separate “self” and all others is your skin, which you rightly endeavor to protect and defend, and from which you gain pleasure and security. Yet sooner or later, we all will discover that we are more than flesh and bones.
Discovering that “I am not my body” does not require that you renounce it. The only renunciation necessary is of your fear of losing it. As the body ages, the package of meat which your narrowed awareness called home, begins to feel more like a cage. Eventually, it becomes the tomb of the ego. That is why we are well advised to cultivate an awareness of spirit not defined by, but projecting through the material form.
The realization of immortality usually only dawns after death—and only after much tribulation—for the unprepared. In contrast, such an awakening while still in earthly existence is surely a prize worth seeking. With it comes a peace of mind that far surpasses any gratification offered by the temporal world.
HOW TO DIE
Paradoxically, dying is the greatest opportunity to realize enlightenment in a person’s life. The process of dropping the body and passing beyond presents a unique and potentially liberating perspective on the game of human incarnation.
How then can a person die into liberation, consciously, in equanimity, without fear or delusion? The answer sounds deceptively simple, yet it requires a lifetime of practice. The way to enlightened death is the way of enlightened living. It is to LET GO.
LET GO of your expectations. Let go of your position and preferences. Let go of what you think is important. Let go of your philosophy. Let go of your world. Let go of your precious idea of your identity. Systematically let go of your body, and each and every element in it. Again and again, let go of your breath. Let go of your mind. With faith in the Universe, let go of being human. Let go of everything you think of, everything you would grasp for security. The only way out is through. If you stop clutching and clinging for safety, you will discover that you are already safe. You need to let go and trust, to see that you are bigger than your whole life, yet always cradled in the womb of the Universe.
In this way, when we completely and absolutely let go, dying is miraculously transformed from the most horrendous experience imaginable to the most expansive and beautiful. It becomes natural and welcomed … no more tragic or traumatic than walking into the next room, taking
Ah … just like that, death becomes the answer to the riddle of your incarnation. You finally remember that being born and dying are like inhaling and exhaling, and you no longer wish for one without the other. You “wake up” to discover, with considerable amusement, that there was nothing to fear all along. You expand into complete understanding of the ingenious timeless perfection of All.
So don’t worry. Death is the surprise ending that makes the mystery make sense. It’s the pause that refreshes; the punch-line to the joke of your incarnation. And if you’re still fond of your material existence, rest assured you’ll re-enter it, to continue your vividly convincing, Technicolor,
Lonny J. Brown is the author of Enlightenment In Our Time (BookLocker.com), and the online column, “The Holistic Mystic” (TheMetaArts.com). His writings on holistic health have appeared on AOL’s Alternative Medicine Forum and in Alternative Health Practitioner, Yoga Journal, and many other progressive publications. Brown teaches holistic health, mind/body healing, and stress reduction courses at hospitals, schools and businesses throughout the US. www.LonnyBrown.com, email@example.com.