“THE GREATEST OF ALL THE ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF 20TH-CENTURY SCIENCE has been the discovery of human ignorance.” Lewis Thomas, Lives of a Cell. “OUR IGNORANCE, OF COURSE, HAS ALWAYS BEEN WITH US, AND ALWAYS WILL BE. What is new is our awareness of it, our awakening to its fathomless dimensions, and it is this, more than anything else, that marks the coming of age of our species.” Timothy Ferris, Coming of Age in the Milky Way.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Death and Deathlessness



"And if the body were not the Soul, what is the Soul?"
             Walt Whitman ("I Sing the Body Electric")

There is no other "I" aside from the personal "I"--that is, no "I" exists in addition to the body-mind stream. The Source that precedes and transcends the personal "I" is NOT personal. It is transcendental --- not any kind of personal object or subject. Don't bother trying to imagine this self-existing Identity; images do not pertain. ("Thou shalt have no images before Me.") 

The personal "I" is mortal. Here today, gone tomorrow. So (in view of "I") death really is death, and there's no getting around it. The constructed identity (ego-"I") feels afraid and wishes death could be other than what it is, hence the emergence of consoling religious mythology about the afterlife and reincarnation. 

However, the Trans-personal Source is not destroyed or even dimmed by the disappearance of "I". The Source is the Giver of birth AND death: the Giver of "I" (the whole birth-change-death process). Source does not depend on "I" for its existence; rather, "I" depends on Source. So, naturally, Source survives the death of "I". That is why I say death is not annihilation. (But, again, "I" does not survive the death of "I"! Can you find the raindrop after it merges with the ocean?)

I am not going on "faith." I long ago turned off all faith (belief, speculation, theory, hearsay, etc.). All of that gets in the way. I would go so far as to say that beliefs prevent awakening---or at least awakening at the most profound level. I am able to intuit for myself the Reality, without starting with presumptions or adding notions to my IMMEDIATE intelligence. I know directly (as opposed to conventional knowing, which is knowing about something.). In Greek, such radical knowing is called gnosis, and in Sanskrit, jnana, (and in "Martian" it's called grokking). It is knowing by way of being. Franklin Merrell-Wolff calls it "knowledge through identity." We've all heard the truism, "It takes one to know one." That is exactly how it is.

Therefore don't bother to have faith in what I say. To hell with dharmas and dogmas! If you care intensely enough, you may be able to directly find out for yourself. But there are no guarantees. 

All of this reminds me that when I was in the second grade our teacher, Mrs. Bivens, assigned the class a sheet of arithmetic problems to solve. One of my classmates whined, "Do we have to?" Mrs. Bivens said, "The only thing we HAVE to do is die."

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