Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Some thoughts on Dying and the Nature of Mind

'The Pursuit of Truth' by my good friend Prashant Miranda
The theme running through my writing (for pretty much as long as I have been keeping this blog) has been this idea that there exists in each of us an infinite wellspring of creativity, potential and wisdom.

The sufi mystics call it 'The Inner Essence', the Buddha called it 'Buddha nature' and the Christians regard it simply as 'Christ Consciousness'

Its lies in a deeper and ultimately more obscured part of our being. It is an infinite, unchanging and aware dimension that rests behind the mad, fickle and distracted emotional discord of our everyday existence.

It is the deep blue sky, hidden behind a flighty, skittish and cloudy mind.

Pull back the veils of lust, anger, addiction, jealousy and blinding distraction and you'll find a sea of wisdom, peace and infinite potential that is rarely alluded to in contemporary culture.

I feel compelled to talk about this because accessing this part ourselves is scarcely talked about let alone  taught to our children. Our education system strives to socialize and in many ways strengthens the fickle mind through the imparting of rote knowledge and instilling notions of competition and separateness. Everywhere you look you can see we're geared for distraction; perhaps because its easier to sell us stuff that way.

In the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche explains that all of life is actually a preparation for the moment of Death. In fact he goes on to say that the moment of death is the singular most important moment in the life of a human being, even more important than one's birth.

This moment is so important because our death is not actually a 'death' but a metamorphosis, a transmutation. Some may call it re-incarnation but the truth is that it is our awareness at the moment of 'death' that determines our next phase of actuality.

In fact, with every little choice we make we are engaging and re-inforcing the birth/death cycle. A choice is simply potential, so really when we choose we are experiencing the death of one set of potential and the birth of another.

For example if you're at the used car dealership and you choose a red Mustang over a black BMW, the potential of owning the BMW has dies and the potential of owning the Mustang is born and that sort of thing goes on and on with every single choice we make.

The same is for our overall physical life. The Buddha says that even in the moment of our physical dying we have a choice.

By tapping into our deeper mind, we're actually connecting to the awareness of life. If we can make our decisions from this place instead of from the distracted and unstable monkey mind then we stand a much better chance of guiding our lives towards quickened evolution and ultimately enlightenment...which is a breaking of the prison like cycle of Samsara; the wheel of birth, death and re-birth...the escape from which is ultimate goal of every being.

For me then, creativity is not about taking better pictures or writing better stories, though that does tend to be a nice effect, its about having the awareness to turn right, where I've always turned left.

Exploring and knowing that inner mind, that infinite god-like presence within me while battling the volatility of my mercurial emotions and evolving beyond them is my life's mission

and as I've also said since as long as I can remember...I've got a long way to go.


Jan said...

We all have a long way to go, and your texts are good companions!

What you said about the education system reminded me of Elinor Ormston who was the first (and so far the only) woman to receive the nobel prize in economics for her work focusing on cooperation: http://www.alternet.org/story/145889/the_woman_who_just_might_save_the_planet_and_our_pocketbooks

She died in June (http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/jun/13/elinor-ostrom), but hopefully many others will continue her work!

Gavin Firkser said...

Great Post!
You've just spawned about 5 separate tabs of Wikipedia look-ups so I could see all the relations you made.
Inspiring and motivating to learn more, as usual :)


am said...

so calm and welcoming. The stages of death. So important. Maybe this is why we never feel we are going to die as the reborn process is the the most difficult one to avoid.

I agree that Death, although a continuation of our journey, is the most difficult thing to teach our children. The difficulty rises because losing someone to death is loaded with emotions. Emotions makes us internalise our own life and death and the trivia of our needs.

Millie Kuyer said...


Some more great words from you. Thank you for sharing again and for inspiring and reminding us to continually ask ourselves important questions, to be aware of our choices, and to look deep within ourselves for the truth- that life-long journey that I wish more people would consciously embark on.

Arun Kumar said...

intriguing musings. have u read may lives, many masters?