I wonder why the concept of death is portrayed by ugly costumes and frightening images. Why do we do that? These images try to generate a fear that with death we are going to be turned into some ugly or inferior type of being. We’ve been fed these kinds of images for eons. To get a different image or concept of death is very difficult.
We are conditioned to think that all that we are is our bodyour legs, our arms, our face, our brain, our ideas, and all our thoughts about things. But we are much, much more than that!
To get to the point
where we can feel inside of ourselves
that we truly are much more than a physical body
is basically all the work
that anybody ever needs to do
on this subject.
We talk about enlightenment and other complex ideas but if we feel inside of ourselves that there has got to be something more about us than skin and bones, even though we may not be able to describe what this is, that is all we need to do on the subject.
But if we want to believe that we are only skin and bones, then all the concepts and fears about death cannot be taken away. How could we remove the fear of death if our body is all that we are? It’s impossible. We can talk from now until the end of time and the fear will be there.
Depending upon which concept of death we have, there will be varying degrees of fear. It could be death with all kinds of images of difficult times facing us. It could be a form of death where we are placed in a definition of hell forever with no chance of ever coming out. It could be a definition of death where we may be in a terrible place for a certain time; and, if we do good, we will be brought back into another place. And on and on and on. All these things are concepts rising from our initial concept of death.
Once we get taken in by that initial concept of death, we have to make many other concepts to back it up. It’s like a house of cards. We keep building all kinds of ideas and concepts around that word. Soon we are so full of definitions that it’s no wonder every time we feel the heart beating a little differently we say, “Oh, my god, I’m going to dieand that will be the end of me!”
When we are born it’s a celebration. We’ve been told that coming into this world is a great event. Everybody celebrates with us on our birthour mothers, fathers, sisters, brotherseverybody. Later, everybody asks us when was our birthday.
Nobody asks when is our death day! We can’t ask somebody that because they would be upset. But if they had any inkling of being more than a physical body, such a question would not generate anger towards us or undo fear within them. They could see that death of the body will happen. It is inevitable. It is natural.
Death happens to every body.
It is the dissolution of the physical form.
The body, the brain, and all the organs we have are no longer the same. That’s all. Those things are no longer thereperiod.
But that spark, that energy,
which makes these things move
is always there.
It’s always there!
For myself, I have always wanted precise definitions of death. I’ve studied this a lot because I think it’s at the bottom of everything. I wanted to find something or be with somebody who could give me a definition that would make me feel more comfortable. I wanted to be given a definition that would not scare me. But the more definitions I got, the more I realized that none of them were correct.
When I visited my teacher Poonja-ji in India, he used to make fun of the serious questions I had about death. He’d ignore them as if he didn’t hear them. It’s true that he didn’t hear well, but sometimes I knew he just didn’t want to hear my questions. He didn’t want to deal with the subject.
Eventually he told me that the only way we can discuss death is for two dead people to have a conversation on the subject. We can’t have a person that is so-called alive and one that is so-called dead and have a discussion of these things. Both beings have to be dead and then they can talk about death. That’s just like it is here. All of us are so-called alive, and we can talk about things pertaining to life. So I won’t talk too much more about death.
But I want you to know a few things
that make the concept of death
one of the most beautiful friends
that you can ever have.
It’s strange to think that the concept of death could be a friend. Nevertheless, we can say to ourselves, “There will come a time that I will not be in this physical form. I don’t know when this is going to be. I don’t know. I don’t think anybody knows if it’s going to be today, tomorrow, next year, or many years from nowor if it’s going to be painful or instantaneous. No one knows these things!”
We don’t know when death is going to happen,
but we do know that it is going to happen.
Nobody has escaped it.
Since we know that at some point this form is not going to be here, this information immediately tells us, if we want to be a little wise about these things, to look at what we do with these precious moments that we are so-called alive and here.
Death is the friend that reminds us
to pay attention to life!
Death says to us that we are going to be so-called dead someday. We’re not going to be in this form. There will be things that continue but, without speculating on these things, since we’re going to die sometime in the future, what are we going to do between now and then?
We need to ask ourselves, “How am I going to live this period of time?” It could be a very long period. It could be a very short period. It may not follow any logical order. It may be that we may go before our son or daughter or it may be that our son or daughter may go before usor any combination of any of these things. We can not take it as a fact that we know how much time we have.
So because of that, if we want to be wise, then immediately we look at our life. We look at our lifebecause what’s the point of looking at death! We can do something about our lives. But what can we do with death?