The title of this article is not intended as catch bait–a shiny lure that catches our attention but delivers nothing of value; nor is this article intended to instill some trite belief system about death. The title stands true to my understanding: Death is a fraud. We’ll dive deeper after reading a passage from The Psalm of Life by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou art, to dust returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.
So, Mr. Arthur Russell, how can death possibly be a fraud, when we see evidence of it on a daily basis? Trust me, if that is the question that is crossing your mind, I “hear” what you’re saying. First, I am not denying that bodies die–they do. Anything that has an apparent beginning will also have an apparent end. To make sense of this subject, it requires that we investigate the nature of our Being–beyond the superficial answers that we have previously assumed to be true. If we believe (as the majority of persons do) that the sum of all that we are is contained within the body-mind, this article may seem not only insensitive but also the product of a delusional mind.
Our investigation of our “I”-ness (that sense of “me” which knows our experience) requires that we challenge the assumptions to which the masses currently subscribe. You may or may not know this: Science does not know how biological processes give rise to consciousness. Why? Because consciousness does not arise from them. Science also states that matter, as conceived by the masses, does not exist; it is actually rendered by the mind. In 1911, Ernest Rutherford proved that atoms, which were once believed to be the foundational “stuff” out of which “things” were made are actually 99.999% empty space. Our world “is” perception.
Perceptions are informing us of a world–one supposedly made of matter; but could it actually be that your apparent personal life–this right now–is a dream? When Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi (a realized sage) was asked the difference between the dream state and the waking state (assumed to be “reality” by the masses), he replied that the main difference was that one was short and one was long. Can you be daring enough to challenge the current norm and consider that Consciousness is fundamental and Universal? The reason that science cannot find the seat of consciousness within the body-mind is because Consciousness is not formed by the body-mind? Consciousness is actually the foundation of our Being. That is why death is a fraud.
René Descartes, who famously stated “I think, therefore I am” was known to practice radical skepticism, in an effort to arrive at Truth. At one time, he questioned whether his life–and his body-mind–could, indeed, be a dream within a dream. However, he finally backed away from that position, claiming that he did exist as a body-mind. He argued that this “reality” was too clear and real to be a dream. This led to his famous saying. This article challenges that; for I do not believe that we exist because we think. We exist as pure Awareness, prior to the mind.
Several years ago, I remember reading the following: “We’re not human beings having an occasional spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having occasional human experiences.” I actually scoffed at the idea; but such only revealed my own lack of understanding. Could this explain why ancient Grecians inscribed “Know Thyself” on the frontispiece of the Temple of Apollo in Delphi? Yes, most certaintly; for knowing ourself–at the deepest level–was, and still is, tremendously important.
Rupert Spira, who lectures widely on the subject of non duality, asks us to conceptualize our essential nature as the empty space within a room. He then directs us to add a sense of beingness and knowingness to that space; and then, further, to remove the space. What remains is being and knowing, which is equivalent to Awareness. This, however, is not a concept. It is Truth. To have any experience–of a world, a cup of coffee, our body-mind–awareness must be present. How else could we ever know anything? The linchpin of our Being is Awareness. We are That in which the body and the mind appear. Yes, the body dies; but we never were what appeared. We are That which cannot be known via the senses. Buddha referred to It as emptiness. The term which is often used to describe the dramatic change in our understanding is The Shift.
We are That, out of which arises the mind and the apparent body. Through misidentification (which is still being preached by persons who believe in a materialist model of the world), we–Spirit–are relentlessly conditioned to believe that we are nothing more than name and form. We are so much more! We are Oneness, having an apparent human experience. What I’m sharing is that it is impossible to be separated from That which we are. It’s why Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj stated: “You can only be what you are in reality. You can only appear to be what you are not.” The title of this article stands: The Fraud Called Death.
Dare to dream (and care for one another).
With heartfelt regards,
Copyright © – 2020 – R. Arthur Russell
P.S. Please share this article if you enjoyed it. If you’d like to view my latest book (This Taste of Flesh and Bones–released September 8, 2020), press here. May it help you in your spiritual journey. 🙏🙏