There Is No Individual self That Dies
from Easy Death, Chapter 10
AVATAR ADI DA SAMRAJ: Current studies of the experiences of individuals who have clinically "died" for several minutes and then revived are producing a growing literature that compiles and reports these "after-life" experiences. Such phenomena could be used as indicators of the inherently Spiritual or self-transcending process that occurs at death. However, these "after-life" phenomena are typically valued merely as signs of personal, egoic survival. Those who commonly study and write about such experiences do not rightly understand death as a process of self-change and self-transcendence in which the separate and separative, or egoic, self may dissolve.
"After-life" phenomena, then, are not signs of egoic survival. Rather, they are signs of the transformation of the conventional self, the dissolution of various aspects of the personality, and passage into a condition that is not foreknown. They are signs of something that is falling away rather than continuing.
Yet, when people return to consciousness, therefore not having completed this process, they concretize the phenomena they encountered and interpret them to mean survival of the ego. Such individuals say that they are now more easeful because they survived death. They believe that there is an afterlife in which we pass into other worlds beyond this one. But the experiences and visions they report should be understood rightly to be hallucinated phenomena that arise from the stimulation of the higher centers of the brain during the withdrawal of energy and attention from the body at death. These experiences, like those of the conventional mystic, are, no matter how consoling or sublime, nonetheless founded in ego-consciousness.
However, the greatest Spiritual Wisdom reveals that the True Self is the non-ego, the Self-Existing and Self-Radiant Divine Being, or Ultimate Reality, Which is also the Source-Condition of the phenomenal fields of self-awareness and ego-identity. Its Nature and Existence cannot be proved by appeal to phenomenal events in life or death. The True Self can only be Realized in transcendence of the process of conventional or egoic self-identification and object-differentiation.
But the actual and Prior Nature of Consciousness Itself is not what people tend to presume on the basis of the conventions of experience. The conventional activity of the born being is to presume a sense of identity, which presumption is based on the appearance of phenomena. Having been born, you perceive that there is a body-mind, a physically based self. In your un-Realized, or un-Enlightened, state, Consciousness Itself, Which is the Field of that very perception, conceives of Itself in terms of this bodily presentation. It calls Itself "I" and thinks Itself to be identical with this bodily self. The phenomena in the mental field are likewise interpreted to imply that Consciousness Itself, Which is Transcendental and Inherently Spiritual, is limited by and identical to the stream of egoic consciousness and thought.
The ego does not in fact exist. Only the mechanisms exist whereby Consciousness Itself becomes manifested. Only phenomena exist. The true Nature of the apparently individual conscious being is Transcendental and, therefore, Inherently Spiritual, or All-Pervading. It is the Divine Source-Condition, or Matrix, of all phenomenal existence, and It does not have an independent, limited existence. Consciousness Itself is not definable by the phenomena of manifestations themselves.
The Nature and Very Existence of this Ultimate Identity cannot be proven by phenomenal events. In other words, you cannot make a conventional investigation of your ordinary life in this moment and thereby prove that your so-called "personal", or apparently individual, consciousness is Spiritual and Transcendental and, therefore, now and eternally Existing Prior to the states of life and death. Likewise, you cannot appeal to "after-life" phenomena or out-of-the-body experiences to prove the Nature and Existence of the Transcendental (and Inherently Spiritual) Divine Being or Reality. All experiences define the individual conscious being in terms of phenomena.
The Divine Truth, Reality, and Condition of the conditional being can only be Realized. It cannot merely be observed and then proven through appeal to conventions of objective events. The very process to which one might appeal as a scientist or a conventional religious knower is not the process that can demonstrate the Ultimate Nature of your identity or the identity of phenomena. You must transcend that very method of conventional knowing and presuming. You must go beyond the conventional differentiation whereby you conceive of yourself as something different and separate from other conditional beings and things.
"Consider" this: You are conscious in this moment. If I look at you and call your name, it is the body-mind-self that assumes I am talking to it. But it is not the body-mind-self who is actually here. There is only One Identity here. There appear to be individual conventions of separate selves, but they are phenomenal constructs superimposed on the Divine Being. The notion that each of us is a separate identity in the ultimate sense, and therefore conditioned, limited, and controlled by the destiny of this body-mind, is false.
Thus, the reason you survive death is not that the ego is immortal. You survive death because the Ultimate Identity of all phenomena and of the apparently individuated consciousness is Transcendental, and Inherently Spiritual, and necessarily Divine. Every feature of your temporary ego-identity is itself constructed out of a universal Field of Transcendental Consciousness and Eternal Spirit-Energy. The body-mind simply arises in a universal Field, and at death it is broken up into its various parts.
Therefore, the ultimate proposition of the great sacred traditions is that there is only one Reality, the Divine Self-Condition and Identity of everything and everyone. Divine Enlightenment is the tacit and direct Realization of that Truth. Once the conditional being is established in that Realization, then you participate in the arising patterns of existence in an entirely different manner than is conventionally presumed. Then the gesture of ego-identification has no force. Only the Ultimate Identity is presumed.
The difference between ordinary individuals and Divinely Enlightened beings is that ordinary individuals identify with the conventional or phenomenal self, while Divinely Enlightened beings Identify with the Transcendental (and Inherently Spiritual) Divine Reality. This is the only difference. Thus, depending on which of those two presumptions you choose, you will live in either one of two ways. One is the usual round of obsession, fear, and seeking in which the egoic self is the actor and the meaning of the drama. The other is the way of illuminated Intelligence, Love, Freedom, Spontaneity, and Infinite Happiness. Therefore, if you are going to live as Divine Enlightenment, you must understand this phenomenal convention of the egoic self with all the mechanics of existence that you have built upon it.
Previous to such Divine Enlightenment you fear death, and, therefore, you want to discover something about death that can make you feel hopeful about surviving. That is why people like to study occult and "life-after-life" phenomena. They like to hear conventional religious stories, such as the legend that Jesus was resurrected and ascended to heaven. Whatever the factual or historical authenticity of these stories may be, they are all interpreted as hopeful signs for the ego. Thus, you will remain fascinated by death, even to the point of being relatively self-destructive, because in some sense you want to get into it, even though you fear it. You will continue to read studies about "after-life" phenomena, always hoping to hear that it has been proven to the satisfaction of both science and you personally that you are going to survive death.
However, it is not the mystery of death that you must penetrate in order to be free of fear. Rather, you must transcend this concoction of ego-stress and self-contraction while alive. You must be in a different disposition toward life altogether in order to die free of fear. Instead of presuming this ego-position, you must rest in the Transcendental (and Inherently Spiritual) Divine Reality. Then both your present existence and all its future changes and dying will be allowed very simply and naturally, much like going to sleep at night. You will not merely have gained some consoling knowledge about death. Fear does not result from the lack of such knowledge. Fear is caused by ego-stress, and it must, therefore, be transcended while alive. The Spiritual Process is a way of transcending the mechanism of fear in every moment.
I have called the process of death "easy death", because that is what it must become. The process of death must become a natural, easeful process even if you lack final knowledge of its ultimate results. Human beings in general do not have a great deal of knowledge about their present born existence, and yet they are able, at least occasionally, to live easefully and happily. You must live death in the same way. Death is a spontaneous occurrence, and you must not feel that it is the destruction of existence.
To presume the phenomenal self-position is to give cosmic Nature a stick with which to beat you over the head. It is to be a "something", and all "somethings" are inevitably confounded, changed, and dissolved. Thus, the individuated self is an unnatural rather than a native presumption. You deny cosmic Nature this stick by Realizing the Truth of your existence, by being established in the Native Condition, or Reality, Which is relaxed, uncontracted, Free, Radiant, and Full. Then events can arise and change and pass away without your being confined to fear.
If you Realize that Divinely Enlightened disposition, then you are also paradoxically energized and no longer passive. This disposition releases great energy into the psycho-physical mechanism of existence. Divine Enlightenment Divinely Transfigures the body-mind. It Divinely Transforms it, Evolves it, Awakens Wisdom, and Generates the greater Powers of existence. Likewise, all those things also change and pass away. But if the greater functions arise without stress, without clinging, without self-identification, then they can have no negative or binding effects. They are simply the inherent expressions of the Divine Reality. [December 28, 1980]
© 2002 The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya Pty Ltd, as trustee for The Da Love-Ananda Samrajya.