The secret of death

A discourse between Justme and Michaela

‘You would know the secret of death.
But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light.
If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.’

M: Let’s talk about death, Justme. What does Khalil Ghibran mean by “You would know the secret of death ?”  

J: Death, this is an interesting subject. Let me say first of all that it is not that difficult to say that death is not really death and this happens or that happens. People can flippantly say anything, usually through something they have heard or through something they want to believe. Would you agree?

M: Yes, I think you are right. People either fear death or downplay it. Most avoid to think about it anyway. Rarely would someone contemplate death, if it’s not an acute necessity. But we do “know” death, don’t you think ?

J: Lets start with what we know or ‘sense’ . We live in a relative world which means that time is ‘real’ to us. We believe that there is a specific number of hours in a day and a certain number of days in a year and we will probably live for an average amount of these years.
At other times an hour as we see it,  lasts for 60 minutes yet one hour can seem to move faster or slower depending on how we ‘conceptualise’ that hour. So for instance if we are fully participating in something we say ‘dosent time fly’ when we are agitated or similar we can say ‘ oh it takes so long’ . This can be demonstrated even with a simple thing like boiling the kettle. Sometimes it seems to boil really quickly even to the extent we have to boil it up again. Other times it seems to take forever. I hope you are following this and there is a point I am getting to !
Therefore, is there a chance that time is not real?

M: Yes, it is dependent on my perception. Time does not “feel” to be constant. But there is still night and day. They come with regularity. So this seems to be real at least. I cannot rely on an hour “lasting the same”, but I can always rely on nightfall.

J: OK so one thing at a time, of course there is different things like night and day and there is age and how it seems like we move from young and fresh to decay.
If time was constant then it would be the same all the time and how we perceive it would not have any effect but we see that days can fly and minutes can crawl. So therefore time seems to be affected by us?

M: Yes, I certainly agree. Time seems to be affected by us.

J: So time is separate from us. We must then look at who we are. We know we have knowledge in terms of experience but essentially we are very unsure of the reality of most things. We know we have a heart and lungs and that blood runs through our veins etc but we have no knowledge of how this works. We just accept it. We do know however that something makes these things happen and also that something must be of such an immense intelligence that we can only imagine its potential. We are like the leg of the table trying to conceptualise the table. Do you understand?

M: Yes, it appears we do not have the intellectual capacity to really grasp the whole “reality” out there. So we use “tools”  like time, to help us navigate and get some feeling that we have control over it. Maybe for practical purposes. But this does not mean it is real.

J: So we now know that time is on ‘shaky’ ground and we could be misled.
We also know that an infinite intelligence exists. Could we add that when we grow older we also don’t ‘seem’ to grow old within?

M: What do you mean “within” ? Does that mean I “feel” basically the same, like being the same person ? Yes, that seems to be true. Some changes in terms of appearance and preferences, but basically I am the sa

J: Exactly, ask a person who is fifty do they feel older ‘within’ themselves and it is my guess they will say no. They might say they feel more ‘experienced’ but they do not feel older and certainly are not moving in line with the changes that seem to be occurring with their body.Do you agree?

M: Well, some  people will tell you they feel tired, or worn-out. But if you really bring them to the level where they feel their “identity”, or what their “me” is about, they will agree.

J: So time is relative to us at any given ‘time’ depending how we perceive it.
There is an infinite intelligence far greater than we can comprehend
We when we ‘look’ within feel no older.
There is an obvious point to make here. The fact that we have knowledge of death could also mean we could not have this knowledge unless there was an opposite which is eternal life.

To me this is why we live two lives, the man of earth, which is subject to decay and will die.
The other is the spiritual man which time does not affect and is not subject to decay.
The question is who are we truly. The answer is we are truly the spiritual being. If we were not the spiritual being we could not affect time and we could not feel like we have not got older.
Like Eckhart Tolle said if all the world was coloured blue we would not be aware of the colour blue because we have nothing to compare it against. The fact we are aware of the colour blue means we are aware of other colours. Do you get that?
We are now in a place were we are discovering the truth and the crust is breaking. When we ‘hear’ truth the reason why it resonates so deep is because it is true. So we are breaking our bondage with the man we thought we are and the cracks are appearing which ultimately will allow us to reveal the reality of our existence which is without beginning and without end. Even the creation we live in within this world, which we know was created by this infinite intelligence shows to us that the ‘man of earth or physical being’ doesn’t die but the body transforms from one level of energy to another and the cycle continues. This maybe an indication that we will continue on cycles until the day the crust has shattered and the heart of life is discovered.

M: Time is a continuum and it is a reflection of the bigger truth, so to speak. It does not really exist, like night and day do not really exist, but they are a representation of the bigger dimension. I am not so sure though, whether you can really make a distinction between being “the man on earth” and the “spiritual man”. To me, we are “human beings” – which is human + being. We are both at the same time. There is a horizontal aspect (human) and the vertical dimension ( being). So time, the continuum, is a reflection of something in the spiritual dimension – and that may very well be that nothing is constant and everything is in flux. So it is like you say above: we will continue in cycles, constantly developing and transforming. Energy is never lost. Is this what you mean ?

J: I agree with you that we are both at the same time.
“The Kingdom of God is within you”
“The truth will set you free”

Nothing is wasted, nothing in the physical ever disappears it just changes shape . Since it is all essentially energy it just changes or transforms.
Remember greater people than you or I have never found a way to answer this question so we can only explain what it fells to us individually.
I do believe that truth when met is telling us we are more than we think.
I do see that time is dependent on what I am doing.
I do feel no older within than ten years ago.There is an observer who can observe this.
I do see that nothing in the physical world disappears but it does transform.
I do know that all my troubles are based on something that happened in the past or might happen in the future- which makes me believe the future and past are on ‘dodgy’ ground.
So taking all these things into consideration , I answered as above.

M: OK, I agree – we have now a few basic assumptions. Now we can go on and explore death. It appears to be an endpoint, as birth is a starting point. But does a continuum have an endpoint or a starting point ? So is that really so, or does it only appear to be the case ?

J: Well I think what I am saying is that as spiritual beings we have no end point. Our physical bodies which could be illusory can seem to come to an end and that is the only ‘thing ‘ which ‘seems’ to have a starting point and an ending point’
We are not our bodies. We are not our minds. We are spiritual beings.

M: That is certainly true. But remember, we are also human and bound by gravity and limited by our dualistic view of the world. The critical thing seems to be to remember, that there are no real starting- or end points. If you look at a birth, that is certainly not a “static” process, but fully dynamic. The same is true for death. If you see someone dying, you cannot really tell when the process has started and when it has stopped. We give it an “artificial” endpoint, whenever the breathing stops, or the brain wave activity ceases. But does it stop there ? The point is – if we cannot make the distinction, then death is life, it is one and the same thing.

J: This which you have stated above only add to the points I have made about time,inner feeling about age, infinite intelligence. You are correct, who can remember their birth?
All these points only lead to the acknowledgement we are spiritual with no start or end.
It is to the degree we believe we will end when a body dies is to the degree we will suffer.
When we see death we should look at it and say “Ah, what trickery is in front of me?”
“All the plants and trees and things that die enter the soil and transform and yet I am to believe the soul of this man has died? If all the things of the earth transform and never die why would the soul die?” Can I be that which I observe?

M: So it is futile to be afraid of death then. Everything changes at any given moment. Nothing persists, everything is in a constant flow. To be afraid of death is like being afraid of one stop on the road. It is just random, not real – even though it appears to be real. However, this is also true for all the “small” deaths, we are dying to each minute of the day. It is just that we have become used to being “someone else” every other moment. So if change is the only constant, why is everyone so afraid of letting the good old “ego” die for good ?

J: The reason isn’t that we are afraid. We just don’t know better. When we know better we do better. I am not sure we can die every minute (In terms of forcing ourselves to die) unless we understand why. We learn from experience and when we hear truth we die to the untruth. We cannot lift ourselves up by our own shoelaces but through grace we can reveal the truth about who we are. So its back to letting go.
It is about approaching everything for the first time and moving out of our own way.

M: Yes, it is back to letting go. But as you say, I will only do this if I “know better”. So whether I am beaten into submission by loss or  tragedy, or if I somehow get it because “grace is touching” me, I am learning to let go. It is a matter of realising and understanding that we do not “die”, if we lose our “identity”. It is an experience and I will argue, anyone can do this and let go. Maybe not everything at once, but at least some pieces of the baggage. I think we all need to become comfortable “dying”. Live through it consciously in order to experience that nobody “dies”, just transforms.

J: Yes, we die to little things every day that is the nature of the cycle. We die to friends who go away. We die to tasks which end etc etc . There is a space after each little death which can be ‘felt’ by everyone. We tend to cover it up or try to somehow fill this space. Over our ‘lifetime’ we die many deaths as we ‘seem’ to progress to truth or enlightenment – what ever you wish to call it.
So the biggest or hardest part of this whole question and answer session is this. We are a double thread, the hardest part understanding at times we are speaking from the ‘man of earth’ and at times when we are still and conscious the ‘real’ us shines through. We  live simultaneous lives as a man of earth and a spiritual being and depending what or where we are at at any given time reflects the same.

M: My sense is we actually are living it simultaneously. Everything is rooted in the “formless” dimension and I am always “both at the same time”, even though I may be unaware of it. It is like clouds concealing the sun, it only appears like its gone but  is always there. And the sun eventually will burn off the clouds. So this “shifting” from one state of consciousness to the other is illusionary, is it not ? Humility to me  is the natural consequence of seeing this. It is the state of “not wanting”, the result of “letting go”. So we are back to dying here…I understand that everything is in flux and in motion, consequently I am dying constantly to something, my own “form” is changing (or dying) constantly. It is an invitation to experience the impermanence of life. And if I say yes to life, I say yes to death – each and every single moment. So why would I say “no” to the dissolving of my own ego ?

J: It is my understanding (and I could be wrong) that everything is as it should be. If everything is as it should be how can it be any different? The little deaths that we speak about happen naturally.It is part of the process we are going through. I know this seems to be contradicted by people like Eckhart Tolle etc. who ask us to do something but I think they are only approaching it this way because sometimes it takes a thorn to remove a thorn. Ultimately they know that the point they are ‘leading’ people to is surrender. So the only thing we can do is surrender. To try to add knowledge or do this or that is really not that effective in terms of us ‘becoming’ better or more spiritual. It is that they need to answer on the same level as the, normally ‘man of earth’ approach of the enquirer.

M: Yes, I understand what you mean. Of course, we cannot “learn” how to be spiritual and it is not about adding knowledge, but rather unlearning what we know.  That much is clear and I don’t think this is contradicting ET – it is more a matter of viewpoint. The point however is – even though “surrender” eventually is a natural process – as in dying – from the perspective of the man on earth it is not. So this is not as simple as just to say “ I surrender”. Of course, if I wait long enough – it will happen at some point in time, at the latest when the form is dying. However, I would argue that “ letting go” to the point of surrender can be practiced. By ways of “unlearning”.

J: Well for me there are certain laws that operate in this ‘man of earth’ existence which are really just reflections of the true reality. These laws if we align ourselves with them lead to an ‘easier’ existence. They can be aligned to with or without true knowledge. So if you go out each day looking for trouble, you can be sure trouble will come your way. If you constantly think negatively , then you can be sure you attract that which is negative. Man of earth is subject to these things but can without true knowledge align himself to the true law and reap the reward. For example if someone has many ‘negative ‘ traits but still knows how to give, they can see the law of ‘as you give , so shall you take’ operate.
So the man who opens his heart wide to life can see the higher self and he understands why  the owl whose eyes are especially suitable to look in the dark of night cannot to be used to look upon the light of day. It is through this lifting of consciousness that we can understand death.

M: Yes, death from a human perspective is the ending of all that is “me” . It is necessary to understand the “bigger” meaning of death, which can only be understood, if i realise I am a part of the whole, that my consciousness is part of the total consciousness and that I am not living an individual life.

About Michaela

I am a wanderer and a wonderer, like you are. I love our journey and to walk in the company of friends – to learn, experience, share, laugh, cry and above all I simply love this marvelous, magical, mysterious life. I have no plan (cannot believe I am saying this) and my only intention is to be truthful to myself and others.
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6 Responses to The secret of death

  1. Angelika says:

    Thank you, Michaela and Justme for sharing your insights with us.

  2. JUSTME says:

    So Marille, notice anything? We never answered the bloody question ! Can we start again?

  3. Johanna says:

    I’m so glad you have brought up this question, Justme! Despite many opportunities to learn, I’m slow and a backslider! So in bed the other night I was thinking: I very much want to reach enlightenment and die in peace, and be at One. If I can’t reach the state of enlightenment/release, before my death, then maybe I shall find myself facing another lifetime. IF I can contine to learn, after that (without remembereing, it seems!) and more truly practice love, then I can accept that.

  4. maryann says:

    Ghibran, it seems to me, is saying that we need to really look at all aspects of life, or especially, the “heart of life”, in order to understand “the secret of death”. If the Unmanifested holds within it (the knowledge of) Everything, and Is, at the same time, without form (ie: Nothing) , and if we want to understand what that is like, then we might see in the ” light”, even without the sight to be able to physically be able to do so [ as the owl is referred to]. If we should be able to “see” beyond our physical limitations in “life”, and through the eyes of our Heart, then we may see the secret of death. We would, without the momentum of the river pulling us along, and limiting banks of the of the river confining us, be free in the ocean of actual Life, which we call “death”.

  5. aralannow says:

    Such beautiful wisdom shared. You are both so lovely.
    I am also reminded of the enlightened master monk who was asked by his student “what happens when we die”. To which the monk replied – I don’t know, to which the student said “but I thought you were a master. The monk then said yes, but I am not a dead master. That story always makes me laugh.

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