Near Death Experience
Avatar Adi Da cautions us against taking the popular literature on life after death too seriously or too literally. People who survive near-death states will inevitably interpret their experience in ways that bring them personal reassurance.
Such interpretations are necessarily colored by the individual psyche, with all the deeply embedded influence of culture and religion that it carries.
While the people who share these reports may have begun the death transition, they clearly did not go through it fully, because they are still alive.
People who have nearly died commonly report being surrounded by other people, and sometimes by key figures from their own religious tradition.
This is a very hopeful idea - our friends and loved ones will meet us at our death! But no matter how much we want it to be so, is this the whole story?
Universe is Mind
Avatar Adi Da gives us dazzling insight and guidance into the nature of our visions in the near-death state, as well as the range of what may follow. He suggests that these figures may really be dream-like projections, personified aspects of our own mind.
His purpose? Not to leave us in despair but to liberate us from false hopes. To dissolve the chaos of mere belief that temporarily consoles us, but ultimately keeps us limited and bound.
He makes it abundantly clear that our experience is limited not only by our human structures, it is limited to them. In the after-death state we are looking at our own mind.
But Adi Da suggests an even more startling truth - this is also the case even while we are alive.
At any moment, including right now, we are only looking at forms of our own mind. We usually see only the smallest portion of mind, just the tip of the entire "iceberg". The greatest part lies at a depth, below the waterline of our waking attention. That hidden part comes into play in a very potent way when we die.
Avatar Adi Da explains:
"Mind is not merely in the brain and less than the brain. Mind is universal, infinite in extent. And if you put yourself into a position to explore the roots of experiencing, you are going to enter into a realm of mind in which you realize mind to be greater than mere daily thinking and social consciousness.
"The spontaneous experiences of people in the near-death condition are really impure perceptions of the mechanism wherein experience is arising, because those who experience them are not completely responsible for attention, and therefore, for mind.
"Likewise, in the ordinary waking state, because of the conditional limits of attention, people are engaging an impure perception of the present phenomena of ordinary waking consciousness."
Easy Death, p. 178
Mind Is More than the Brain
As we shall each find out some day, our physical brain screens out many layers of mind and vast realms of experience. This screening is essential to our functioning and sanity while we are alive. But after death we no longer have protection against the vast chaos of unlimited mind-form, because we no longer have a body or brain to filter, anchor, and control our experience of mind.
How lucid is your ordinary dreaming? What ability do you have to intentionally affect the situations where you find yourself? Now multiply this relative helplessness many times over by removing every physical touch-point. You begin to sense how overwhelming the death transition can be.
Only our previously acquired responsibility for our feeling and attention can help us in death.
To appreciate how profound this discipline must be, just notice how easily we are distracted. Even while our physical body lives, offering the advantage of an anchor for our attention, we are nevertheless adrift. Even though we may intend to be concentrated in love, we are easily caught up in almost anything at all!Adi Da observes,
"You cannot even hold on to your philosophy or your mantra when you pass by a cross-legged nude on a couch! So what do you think happens from life to death and back to life again, in the midst of such a profound event as physical death?"
After death we move about in mind realms, essentially random and helpless. We are involved in various situations much as we are in our nighttime dreaming - pushed and pulled by the primal forces of our desire and fear. This can include the creation of nightmare destinies and other experiences that we would not intentionally choose.
What commands our attention in the after-death state has everything to do with our experience and habit while we were alive. This is what Avatar Adi Da means when He says, playing upon a Tibetan Buddhist adage,
"Before death, you make mind.
... After death, mind makes you."
This may also be likened to the Christian scripture, What you sow, so shall you reap - an aphorism that is true in a far more literal way than many people commonly imagine.
The key is to recognize that all of life has the same essential nature as the realms we will know after death. That ultimate nature is the only One Reality - Love Itself, beyond any expression in apparently separate forms.
To come to this understanding - not as a belief or a consolation, but as a direct realization - we must live our life in wisdom, in right action and in the fullness of love. Only such a life prepares us for the radical transition of losing our loved ones or losing our own physical body. In Adi Da's words, we can learn to love so profoundly that the fear of death vanishes on the strength of love alone.
Can We Prepare for Death?
If we hope to be prepared for the radical revolution in our state that we call death, then we must live our lives purposed toward a Greater Reality that is beyond all conditions, that is beyond anything temporary:
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: "You should live your life not merely for the sake of improving the situation of this present body. Live your life in the context of Eternity relative to the Great Matter in Real God, because the situation in which you are existing currently can change dramatically tomorrow, even as a bodily circumstance.
"It will certainly change dramatically at the point of death - and what is experienced at that point has everything to do with your state while alive. Therefore, those who are best equipped to die are those who live in Divine Communion and who have established a motion in the midst of things that is auspicious.
"The purpose of existence is Samadhi, Divine Self-Realization. The process of existence, then, is ego-transcendence, or a process of purification, submission, and devotion. Those who take this Real-God-Realizing course are guided by Wisdom and the Wise, and their future is auspicious."
Consider again the prologue to Adi Da's spiritual autobiography, The Knee Of Listening. His words point to the ultimate Realization of Real God, the very purpose of existence.
The Heart of Understanding
Death is utterly acceptable to consciousness and life. There has been endless time of numberless deaths, but neither consciousness nor life has ceased to arise. The felt quality and cycle to death has not modified the fragility of flowers, even the flowers within the human body.
Therefore one's understanding of consciousness and life must be turned to That Utter, Inclusive Truth, That Clarity and Wisdom, That Power and Untouchable Gracefulness, That One and Only Reality this evidence suggests.
One must cease to live in a superficial and divided way, seeking and demanding consciousness and life in the present apparent form, avoiding and resisting what appears to be the end of consciousness and life in death.
Avatar Adi Da Samraj
Prologue to The Knee Of Listening
Is Reincarnation True?
· The Ultimate Message Of Our Mortality
· Our Destiny Beyond Life or Death
The Truth About Death
· "Death is a Perfect Insult"
· Wisdom About Death Should Inform Our Living
· How Can an Ordinary Person Face Death?
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