Eckhart Tolle says ”
The secret of life is – to die before you die – and find that there is no death… ”
This is an incredibly profound statement. I’ve been contemplating and working with it a lot lately and it seems that it contains the wisdom of immortality. To die before you die in my view means to walk the spiritual path and in walking the spiritual path to realize that ultimately you are not your mind, your ego, your identity or your body. These things constitute who your are in a relative sense but not in an ultimate sense because they are constantly changing or fluctuating. Of course these are aspects of us that we tend to be quite identified with, that is, believing they are truly who we are. The fact that these things constantly change leads to insecurity if we are fully identified with them because our sense of self is unstable and we try to compensate by looking for that stability in an infinite number of external things which are equally unstable. Relationships, money, status, jobs, success, knowledge, beliefs all eventually let us down because they are changing forms too. When the time of death comes these things will inevitably dissolve and if they represent the totality of who we are then we will indeed die and our existence will be at an end.
However at least for me a simple practice illuminates that these things do not represent who I truly am. That is the practice of sitting meditation and mindfulness. In doing these practices one can focus on being aware of the process of the mind and its flow of thoughts and emotions. In observing the mind you get a sense that there is the part of you that is thinking and the part of you that is aware of the thinking and observing it. This inner watcher or observer is simply raw awareness or consciousness. In doing sitting meditation or just practicing observation in the moment over time you can become less identified with mind and external form and more identified with simple awareness. This represents a great shift, a great sense of peace and a kind of death. The death of the ego as the sum total of who you are. You are aware of yourself as the raw I AM and this alive presence is that which transcends death. If we can practice being in touch with raw presence or being in each moment then death becomes simply a process of form dissolving, as form is always doing all around us. The aliveness in us is beyond form and therefore not subject to decay and death. We enjoy a sense of deep peace that is independent of what happens in our life, it is constant and unchanging, a radiant light that shines through our experience. When we are happy it is there and when we are unhappy it is there. It is always there in the present moment if we pay attention and don’t allow ourselves to get lost in the dream of this world and our temporary selves.