What is Death?

If death of a loved one is felt as a finite loss for those left behind it is seen as an infinite gain for the departed. His death is in truth your death, the death of multiplicity and the rebirth into an eternal unity. What is apparently perceived as a loss of a loved one is our loss of his/her glance, the look in their eyes, a look that turns away from you and toward God. If the body is lost, the glance is never lost as it is only turned inwardly and reabsorbed into its immutable source in the Disinterested Onlooker, the Witness.

Thus, a man, insofar as he is identified with his consciousness, never really dies but only looks away, hither and thither, appearing as this or that. In his death and looking away you disappear from his sight more than he disappears from yours: If your thoughts of the them are with you, nothing of you is with them because their apparent death is their waking up to your absolute nothingness. For the departed soul it is you who are departed from his eternal glance, now turned away from you and looking into the void where he always dwells.

The glance is the indestructible center of the soul. If I tell you this it is because I have lived so many lives and died so many times, and all this in a timeless instant, the source of all duration but itself not a duration. This worldly life is for the soul like being buried alive, and the apparent worldly death is but the resurrection of the soul, an emerging from the mass-grave that this world is. You people who roam around as if living and willing are indeed the dead and nothing more.

Your worldly death is in truth the death of the world and worldliness of your glance. Death is the withdrawal of your celestial gaze from its captivation with this world-mirage. This worldly life of yours is but a passing deja vu. You think that when you wake up from a dream your dream characters mourn your departure!? No; no one lost anything, for you only left behind, and below, that which never was.

Your worldly death, being the death of the world, is the death of death, hence an eternal birth and breakthrough into the other side of Darkness. When I die in the world I immediately realize that there has been no world to begin with, no life; how could there be any death?! Thus, my life in the world is a living amongst the dead. What you perceive as life is death, and what you perceive as death is birth, an awakening to the nothingness of the world and creaturely existence. Ontological death, i.e. liberation from suffocating existence, is a waking up to the supra-ontological life in the permanent actuality of the Self, a Self that is infinitely like void as is infinitely unlike it. This you shall See for yourself.

11 thoughts on “What is Death?

  1. Very inspired post Tomaj, thank you. Quite often I also find myself captivated by this strange excitement about physical death. Is the kind of feeling I used to have when I was a boy the night before of an adventurous day, like going to climb a mountain or going out at sea on a motorboat with friends. Is not that me-my-mine wants to die and hope it won’t happen tomorrow but still at times this funny feeling of anticipation.

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    1. Thanks for your comment Antonio. Actually I have experienced a similar thing a few times, while the me-my-mine part always resists the idea of death and doesn’t like it much; I guess this is its job to resist death.

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  2. Very nice, Tomajji! I find myself agreeing with much of what you wrote; however, the phrase, “One need not wait for death to know the Self and find peace” kept coming up in my mind. Bear with me a moment.

    If we look at death as “the central dream from which all illusions stem” (quotation from A Course In Miracles, Manual for Teachers, “What is Death?”), then death accomplishes nothing because it IS nothing. It neither brings us peace or oblivion, knowledge or ignorance, heaven or hell. It cannot release the Self any more than it can imprison it. It is upon the apparent death of the Self that ego builds its existence and projects the entirety of space and time, filling it with experience. It is out of the imaginary ashes of the destruction of the Self (i.e. the death of the Self, which is preposterous) that ego arises. The ego is, therefore, the symbol of insanity. It’s crowning achievement is the death of the Self, and it is towards this end that the ego leads us to our own graves – as a final assertion that Life has been conquered.

    If the world is a dream and the Self the dreamer, then it is the dreamer who must awaken to the Self. At night, we dream. We conjur up all sorts of magical worlds and fantastical situations and experiences. But, in order to return to the waking world each day, it is not necessary to kill the sleeping self or undergo a “mini-death”. Rather, there is a choice or other trigger that causes us to awaken. All too often it’s just the damn alarm clock, but it is our choice to set the alarm and awaken at a predetermined time. We simply transition to waking.

    So it is with our ego life and the way to enlightenment/remembrance/salvation. We are not called to our death, but to Life. We are not called to put out the moon, so to speak, in order to awaken to the sunlight. We need not wait until death to awaken because our minds are awake in reality NOW, though we sleep in dreams in time. Death may be seen as a doorway, but we are the gatekeeper and keymaster. Death is of our own making and a figment of the dream. It is the block we put between ourselves (ego-I) and our true Self and the cornerstone of our experience as human beings.

    When we wake up, as you pointed out, our dream characters do not mourn our loss, nor do we lament the world we left behind in dreams. Nothing happened in dreams; and death, being a dream, does nothing, too. We return to That Which we are, but That need not wait for physical death. To be sure, to the ego, an experience of waking, however slight and fleeting may be the Light that penetrates our sleeping mind, is death. That is all the ego sees, being the basis of its experience and the foundation of its thought system. Insidiously, it convinces us that we, too, will die. It tells us we will be rewarded when we die, or that we will be at peace or wake up to reality, but that is the ego’s attempt to put off the inevitable and interpose itself in the mind before Truth. It is a means to delay the experience of Self, Who wants us to know It now.

    Undoubtedly, you have seen and know. These sights and knowledge come from beyond the world and are not delayed by anything in this world, save choice. For many, it is a choice they do not recognize or even know has been made. Mind is the director of experience and the body is its effect. For the ego, body is the director of experience and mind is its effect. This sort of upside-down thinking also leads us to believe that we are trapped, only to be released when we die.

    Not one of us is trapped, though we may not understand the choices that led us to this moment or the beliefs we hold that seek to keep us prisoner. A man on death row sees one way out of his prison. The ego is no different. Yet will our Self pardon us fully and dismiss the case against us if we but choose to look upon what we have made and allow It to reinterpret both what we made and what we believe we are.

    In peace, Joseph

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    1. Very true and I agree with you on all these points. So death, as I conceive, is really nothing but a change of state, like from the dream to waking; however, this change of state is itself really only illusory since the Self never really falls into sleep but perhaps it only appears to forget that the world is nothing but is own infinite, intrinsic possibilities. I hope I understood you right.

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      1. You said, “So death, as I conceive, is really nothing,” and I think that’s a perfect place to stop. 🙂

        Here the dream collapses. Death is the idea that the Self can change states. Yet the Self is eternal and is, therefore, changeless.

        The idea that the Self can change states necessarily produces an experience of something opposite to Self. The Self is infinite, whole and one, so to experience something not Self is to experience a finite life, a divided mind, the entire universe broken into separate pieces and, of course, the succession of moments that bring change. That which is not changeless must change.

        Because the Self is changeless, the idea of death makes the illusory experience of change each one of us experiences. This mad idea is the source of pain and suffering, for it symbolizes the loss of everything the Self is.

        The Self is One, Whole, Forever. What could it change into that is not Itself and is not always? Death, the ego, pain, suffering, guilt, isolation, separation – they are all part of the same idea, projected out into experience. They all represent the loss of Self, which is entirely and forever impossible by virtue of the Truth of What the Self is.

        The idea, however real and despite how the mind may feel trapped in the body until death, is nothing and has no effect. Just like a dream. Death, the crowning achievement of the ego, the mad desire to be other than Self, is nothing but a scary apparition in our dream. We’re told it’s coming for us like the bogeyman. It is the symbol of fear. And fearful life would be if we were able to lose Self and kill Truth forever.

        Thankfully, the Creator of Self has saved us from our nightmares, keeping our Self safe while we wander in dreams awhile. Self is still accessible and still completely untouched by death or change of any kind. It is not a change of states that brings this about, but a change of mind.

        Our perceptions can be purified to the point where we see the Self everywhere. The veil will no longer hide the Truth from us. In this vision, the world is transformed into that of Light, Joy and Peace. When we see light all around us, our Self will awaken and we will forget forever the dream of death.

        We all go together, my friend, as one Self, into one light of being.

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  3. Sorry to expound at length on your blog, Toomajj. My mom died in January and death is something I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about. It all just kinda came out at once! 🙂

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    1. Oh, I love your comments. I am very very sorry to hear that your mother passed away. I noticed you suddenly disappeared and tried to reach you through an email to make sure things were ok. You know, I have never lost anyone close to me so far and cannot possibly know how it feels. But sure I will have to face it someday as I have old parents. I do not even know if my spiritual understanding and experiences can be of any effect when I actually lose someone; but I hope it does.
      Please accept my condolences.

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      1. Thank you, and I’m sorry I missed your email! I was getting all sorts of notifications of new posts that you must have gotten lost in there. Thank you for thinking of me.

        It’s been an interesting year with a lot of learning. She passed at 4 am on January 1st, so this year has literally been a challenge. I thank God for the Holy Spirit’s presence, teaching and love these many months…

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