The Price of Immortality

‘Evening’ – Caspar David Friedrich, 1824 – WikiArt

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Death doth not trouble me. 
‘Tis through that door I come
Unto the place which long 
hath been my spirit’s home
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~ Angelus Silesius 

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There is one thing in life that is haunting us. This is the fact of our certain death. And yet, considering that we all know that we are going to die, most people don’t actually worry that much about it. How come that people who believe that they are solely their body can stay so cool when waiting for a certain death? They should be terrified. This should come as some unbearable news. But it’s not. Even though we don’t look forward to dying, we nevertheless take the news with a remarkable composure. We don’t mind that much if you ask me. Why is that? 

Is it that we have deep down the intuition of our immortality? If I say ‘I’m going to die’, how does it feel? Am I saying the truth? Do I really know this for certain? Or am I casually repeating something that I have learned and has now become a deeply ingrained belief? But this being said, don’t let us be mistaken. Most of the time, we push death far away and numb ourself to its dreadful reality. And the fear of death is conditioning and bending our lives in the most ruthless manner. What a paradox it all is! But in that paradox lies the whole riddle of life and death, of suffering and happiness, of love and God. Death is a portal to our true nature. One that is inescapable. Who is it that is going to die? Or rather what is it? Let’s have a look at it…

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An exploration of the nature and meaning of death… (READ MORE…)

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There are Always Songs to Sing

Photo by Corinne Galois – Galerie photographique

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Anand R. Raghavan is my newly invited guest on ‘The Dawn Within’. I have discovered Ananda’s beautiful writing while visiting his blog ‘Ananda Only’. He wrote in his presentation: “Silence and stillness are my closest proxies to the truth. My greatest guide and unconditional companions. They underlie a lot of the thoughts and words that appear on this blog.”

I’m presenting here one of his texts called ‘There are always songs to sing’. This is a tribute to his brother, recounted with a soft poignancy. I was moved by the efficacy of the descriptions and the sensitivity and wisdom that are expressed in his text. “I write to explore, understand and connect with my own heart. I reach into the quietness in my memories, relationships, experiences, observations, dreams and contemplations to do so.” I hope you will enjoy Ananda’s excellent prose as I did…

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The darkness behind closed eyes was like my own soothing reflection. 
An imperceptible identity. Independent of my body, my home, 
my name and my life. Being close to it again felt reassuring
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~~~

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There are Always Songs to Sing

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Wisdom is knowing I am nothing,
Love is knowing I am everything,
and between the two my life moves
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~ Nisargadatta Maharaj

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With time, everything is forgotten. Memories and dreams grow alike and interchangeable, and leak beyond the horizon of the heart with the certainty of sunset. They leave a residue of love and longing, that remain in our bodies and become our stories.

My brother was 17 months older than me. When he was 7 years old he won silver in the 50m run at the school sports meet. As he crossed the finish line, the wind raced past my ears and a surge of lightness rumbled through the wooden stadium planks. His joys and fears were mine and my hopes and victories were his. I could never truly accept that he was another person.

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Continue reading Ananda R. Raghavan’s excellent prose… (READ MORE…)

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Rendezvous with Ramana, Part II

Paula Marvelly is my second invited guest here. She is the creator and Editor of the exquisite blog ‘The Culturium’, where she explores the interface between mystical spirituality and the cultural arts. I am happy she accepted to let me use her story extracted from her book ‘The Teachers of One’. This is the Part Two of her three part ‘Rendezvous with Ramana’: “Paula Marvelly is now safely installed in the Ramanasramam and imbibing the sacred atmosphere of the home of India’s greatest sage.”

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The mind is only a bundle of thoughts.
The thoughts have their root in the I-thought.
Whoever investigates the True ‘I’ enjoys the stillness of bliss
.”
~ Ramana Maharshi

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In search of bliss

I WAKE UP and leap out of bed, panting and thrashing about like a mad woman. It takes a few moments to realize where I am. It was all just a dream, I tell myself. But it was so very real whilst it was all happening. And now, another dream surrounds me. When will I wake up from this one, I wonder?

The following day, I join other devotees in the Main Hall for the morning milk offering to Sri Bhagavan at his Samadhi Shrine. Opened by Indira Gandhi, it is a large, slightly austere auditorium, with a marble floor and cream and green painted walls. At the end is Bhagavan’s shrine — a life-sized statue of Sri Ramana sitting in the lotus position, carved in a black onyx-textured material, is centred on a raised stage, surrounded by a balustrade. Incense billows into the air from burners and multifarious-coloured flowers are scattered all over the shrine. There are also portraits of Bhagavan drenched in garlands and various gods and goddesses standing like sentinels, protecting their Lord, whose body is entombed under the altar. Rather than being cremated as is the usual tradition in India, Ramana’s body has been preserved so that people may still benefit from his presence. …

Embark on Paula Marvelly’s second Part journey to Arunachala (READ MORE…)

 

The Fleeting Entity

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. The ‘fleeting entity’ is an expression he used to describe the separate self. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

Keep on looking in what way almost all your thoughts, feelings, activities, are based upon the belief that you are going to die… See that underneath all of that is your fear of disappearing…

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Further exploring on the subject:

This imaginary identification of our self with an object, the body, creates the apparently separate self. … This apparently separate self, being made out of an intermittent object, is, by definition, unstable, always threatened with change, decay and disappearance. Hence the fear of disappearance that resides at its heart and its natural corollary, seeking.”
~ Rupert Spira

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Addiction of any sort, be it to inappropriate sexual behaviour, alcohol, drugs, smoking or any milder form of behaviour, almost always has its origin in the belief and, more importantly, the feeling of being a separate, limited, located self.”
~ Rupert Spira

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Fear and seeking manifest in the most innocuous forms of behaviour, the most common of which is unnecessary thinking, the almost constant mental chatter or commentary that most of us are familiar with. This innocuous commentary is the simplest form of the ‘resistance to what is’. It is the repetitive background chatter that ensures that attention is almost always diverted away from the immediacy, intimacy and simplicity of ‘what is’. This is the primal addiction.”
~ Rupert Spira

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Between living and death there is time. Time, that interval between what actually is and something which we call death, of which we are afraid. This interval between life and death is brought about by thought. Of course there is actual dying: the physical organism, through disease, accident, through usage, dies. But there is fear of death and the sorrow of death as a psychological ending. So there is not only the fear of physical dying, but also the fear of losing all the things that one has learnt, the memories, the experiences, the affections, the family, the hopes, the works, the character, all that one has developed, cultivated, nourished – fear of their coming to an end.”
~ J. Krishnamurti

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We cling when we fear that without identifying with something or as something, “myself” will lack substance entirely, rendering ordinary life devoid of meaning. Even a glimmer of the possibility of emptiness and meaninglessness can feel terrifying—like glimpsing a bottomless void into which one might fall forever. And of course we fear death which, although many attempt to hold it at bay with religion and spirituality, will mean the end of the entire self-centered production called ‘my life’.”
~ Robert Saltzman

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It all begins with ‘I, the body’,

That is the root of all suffering,

which our addictions seek to alleviate.”

~ Rupert Spira

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– Artwork by Daniel B. Holeman

Bibliography:
– ‘Presence’, Vol. I & II – by Rupert Spira (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The First and Last Freedom’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Rider Publishing)
– ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ – by Robert Saltzman – (Non-Duality Press)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Robert Saltzman

Suggestions:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
A Day at Brockwood Park (Homage to J. Krishnamurti)

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