There are a few big ideas that most Westerners carry as basic assumptions. Until we get some distance from these ideas,and if possible trascend them,we will be unable to approach the possibility of conscious death.By transcend, I do not mean,believe the opposite.That is an equal mental bondage.I mean realize they are just ideas that tether ones consciousness and prevent us from letting go into our original mind,our natural state,our witness.

I AM MY MIND !The Mind is the Problem; You Are Not Your Mind. Most Westerners think that they are the contents of their minds(cogito ergo sum. Descartes famous dictum).This is a perhaps the most serious impediment to dying consciously, since the contents of the mind mostly disappear during the dying process whereas the witnessing consciousness remains. If you remain identified with the contents of your thoughts and feelings, you will fall unconscious and wake up in another womb.Or,even more likely, only become  conscious sometime after you have been reborn.All meditative practices,from every tradition, are primarily to help you realize that you are not the mind, you are the eternal, impersonal ,witnessing consciousness.

I HAVE ONLY ONE LIFE!You Have More than one life.The predominant idea in all 3 Western religions is that we have only one life,and after that there is either heaven ,hell or if you are an atheist, nothing. All the great Eastern religions agree that  the corpus of ones mental formations move from one life to another. This is popularly known as Karma. These patterns, engraved in each mind over many ,many lives form the major substratum of most of the behaviors,thoughts,and feelings that we have. Current Western ideas about biological and social determinants tremendously overestimate how much of our mind is shaped by our genes, our parents, and our societies. The idea of one life leads the modern man to be in continuous anxiety and a great hurry to get it all done. Even worse ,always looking over ones shoulder to avoid winding up in hell for this life’s infractions of one set of commandments or another. The more relaxed Eastern view, that it’s a long trip of many lives to mature ones soul ,has perhaps led to laziness, but it is a smoother ride. Beyond this reincarnating mental apparatus is the eternal witnessing consciousness that we all share and is our true nature, our original face.

ORIGINAL SIN. I AM BORN BAD,WANTING,DEFICIENT;We are ignorant, but we are not bad. The problem is realizing our innate nature. Trying to correct imaginary faults is a waste of our lives. This idea is  deep in the Western psyche .Even those who have been atheists and agnostics for generations carry this deep sense of badness that needs to be made good by continuous and extreme effort. Karmic patterns need not be repaid either. That is the Eastern version of original sin. A life of moment to moment awareness, and totality in ones actions, is enough to cancel the effects of both these ideas. The deepest realization is that one is stainless, perfect, beyond good and evil.

I CAN GO IT ALONE; The Master is the Way. For 9999 out of 10,000 persons, a Masters guidance is necessary to wake up, get enlightened, realize your being. This goes against most contemporary Western thinking. It probably goes against the traditional Western religious people who, while they relate to Jesus, Mohammed or Jehovah, in fact have-not surrendered to a master. This is perhaps the least palatable of the ideas that get in the way of conscious dying.

I CAN FIGURE IT ALL OUT,PUT WORDS AND THOUGHTS ON IT AND IT WILL SOLVE EVERYTHING;It is an unknowable mystery.No amount of thinking,talking,reading or studying can dissolve one into the mystery.This relates to misunderstanding #1,the we are the mind.All the words in this website, and in every other scripture are indicators of an unspeakable,unthinkable,unknowable reality.

This completes my crash course in the major mental impediments to conscious death. I have come to know them in my own forty years of meditation, and in working with thousands of individuals.

Comments are closed.