An old friend was going to visit a mutual friend who was dying of cancer. In preparation, he was reading up on death and dying. He said that what he had discovered was that death was not the problem, but the fear of being alone. This brought to mind J. Krishnamurti, who said something like, ‘Death is the unknown and how can you fear the unknown? What you really fear is losing what you know.’ If we examine what we think we know, what do we come up with? And, whatever it is, is it really something to fear losing? In addition, can we discover that which is beyond any idea of worldly loss or eternal isolation?
Most of us claim to be a body-mind experiencing the world. Just for a moment, entertain the possibility that this is an illusion, and, if so, it would follow that if we were not a body and a mind that perceives the world, there could be no possibility of birth or death. Only a body-mind can be born, live, and die. If we look closely, our true identity is ever-present, unchanging, untouched, and undisturbed by all appearances – it is never born and never dies. It has many names – conscious awareness, divine spirit, or ‘nothing that is everything’ – but we don’t have to name it. It just is.
You can confirm this with your own direct experience. As a so-called body mind, what are you made of? Investigating thoroughly, we appear to be a conglomeration of thoughts and images in a mind, and feelings and sensations in a body that perceives the world through the senses of sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell. All of these are temporary, limited by time and space, but your true self, that which knows all of these appearances, is ever-present and aware, existing prior to and beyond all experience.
Whatever this aware-presence is, we are that. This is our true nature that never comes and goes – it is beyond life and death. You can ask yourself now: did I experience my own birth? If you answered yes or no, you would have to have been present to confirm either one. Could you ever experience your own death? If you say yes or no, you would have to be present to confirm either answer. You are present regardless of the circumstances.
Place your identity in that unnamable presence that never comes and goes and experience what it really means to be beyond life and death – to feel, no, to be the expression of peace, happiness, and love. Actually, you don’t have to place your identity anywhere because there is no ‘you’ to place and no ‘anywhere’ to place it. There is only being and you are already that.