I am going to the nearby VA facility for hernia repair surgery tomorrow, September 21st. It seems like it is not going to be a major event, but any surgery with full anesthesia is a big impact. I will therefore not be posting for a while during my recovery, I hope you will make use of the archive to click on some previous articles to enjoy.
Today I am posting some of my recent notes on “death” a topic that has been inspiring me these days. They are basically my exploration of Krishnamurti’s line of understanding. It may, at first glance, seem a strange topic just before surgery, but actually is is about living. “Life begins where thought ends.” (Krishnamurti)
Die to it, he said. Let it die, let it be finished. Don’t keep blowing life into it with your thoughts and feelings. Let it end for no reason, just let it end now. There is some deeply ingrained urge to keep things going, especially if they are pleasurable or support our comfort zone. We want to prolong the duration as much as possible.
I was told of a group that focused on women having an orgasm that lasted one whole hour. Certain skills were practiced diligently by the men and women who were the partners in this endeavor. At the end of long training, if successful (one hour was reached) the woman was awarded a certificate.
Granted, this is an unusual case of putting out quite a bit of time, energy and money in order to prolong a certain state, but basically in other ways we often find ourselves doing the same thing . We regret that our stomach is not large enough to allow more tasting of a particularly good dish. We sometimes watch the same movie over and over to savor the feelings we have when watching it. When we engage in a conversation about one of our favorite topics and the partner in the conversation is agreeable we enjoy the verbal and also emotional exchange and sometimes could (and do) talk through the night. Having discovered a writer or a certain teaching that gives us an uplifting and pleasurable feeling we want to read more and more. I remember Alan Watts once saying in this regard, “Once you get the message, hang up the phone!”
The bottom line is that we are generally continually involved mentally, emotionally and physically with activities that occupy our consciousness: our CPU is kept perpetually at 95% or even 100%. It is rare for someone to have discovered the movement of discontinuity in our consciousness that is always available to us and that opens up an entirely different dimension to our life. It is suggested by most cultures in this day and age that we should be active in imagining how we can ‘heal the world’, ‘save the children’, ‘make the world a better place’ and so on. Of course I want the world to heal and the children to have a better place to live in, but is the focus on hope for a different future maybe actually a subterfuge designed to distract us from the real issue?
We have all had the experience of clearing out a closet or a basement that had become cluttered with old stuff. It is a deeply freeing experience. What if we could empty our consciousness completely of all that makes us feel different from the reality that surrounds us? How does it feel to be in a dimension that has no thought forms continually cluttering it up? Imagine this: complete anonymity, a nobody, a non-center. This body-mind can then move with intelligent infinity the same as the branches of the oak tree outside move when the wind blows. What is moving, the wind or the branch? Actually it is one whole and it appears as diverse forms dancing together.
Granted, it is not so easy to look at all of my most cherished aspirations, ambitions, plans, hopes and the image I have created about who I am and then let all of this dissolve. It takes great courage, because then there is nothing to hold on to and our nervous systems go “tilt” when there is nothing to hold on to – no frame of reference for all of this. How do all of my psychological accumulations dissolve? As the understanding of the total unreality of this (cob-) web of ideas absorbs me more and more and at the same time flashes of Reality free of pre-formed structure occur more and more often, my mind starts to feel insecure. One thing the mind cannot bear is the lack of safety.
How does the mind then move when it ‘sees’ that living from memory, from the past is dangerous and does not result in the desired effect of pleasure and security? My experience is that my brain activity has phases of ‘imploding’ into itself and is quiet for shorter or longer moments. When that happens, if even just for a moment, the greater existence, or intelligent infinity becomes the foreground and all other mundane aspects of life are embedded in that.
Seen in this way I sense that “dying everyday to everything the mind has captured and holds on to” is cleansing ourselves of the past and opening ourselves up to the actuality of life new moment by moment, instead of wallowing in the triviality of the small mind’s stored impression of what once happened but is now no longer there.