34. WHAT IS DEATH?

What is death?

We often wonder what will happen to us in death. We are afraid of death and would like to know what to expect. Will we survive as individuals in some kind of heaven and play golf or else forever? Not exactly an exciting thought, but is it something like that we have to come, or will we just disappear into the ground and be eaten by worms and then change permanently into soil?

There are countless ideas about death swarming about the world and have been through the ages. In the Bible one can see many ideas from previous generations about death. The ideas of the Hebrews were decisively that there was nothing after death, “For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for the memory of them is forgotten. See more: Ecclesiastes, 9:4-6.
The book of Job shows the same ideas of no life after death: “But a man dies and is laid low; man breathes his last, and where is he? As waters fail from a lake and a river wastes away and dries up, so a man lies down and rises not again.” See more: Job, 14:10-12.

The Hebrews later changed their minds and resurrection became part of their religious theories, “Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise.”  See more: Isaiah, 26:19.
The hope of the resurrection is strong in the New Testament where Jesus gave vows to return after the resurrection. In Revelation of John can be read, “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death.” See more: Revelation, 21:4.

More such ideas can be found in many religious books for and against the resurrection and the life of the individual after death, but no one can truly say that he knows what will happen in death.

It has long been said that we cannot know whether we live on after the death of the body, until after death and if there is nothing then we will never know.
At first glance we might be tempted to conclude the matter there, and think no more of it, except to create all kinds of ideas to mitigate the fear of death.

Is it so, is it not possible to know now what to expect? We know there is death, and we know something about dying, so it must be possible to know what will happen after death, if we are to expect an afterlife. The question is only what we need to do to approach it.

Lies it perhaps in the questions? So far we have been asking about the possibility of life after death, if we will life and how and where. Perhaps it would be better to turn to death itself with a direct question about what it is.
Who knows more about us than we do, so it would be sensible and in fact logical to ask death what it is and how we can approach it while still alive. After all we are on this side of life and will go through this process and we can view the process of those who go before us, and thus see what happens on this side when we die, and thus can we perhaps approach the other side of death.

What are you death? We know that death is a total loss, kind of purification. We lose our relatives and friends, worldly assets and all our wonderful worldly and spiritual qualities. Everything disappears in death.
We know this because we have seen it happen to those who have died, they left all behind and disappeared from our sight. The memories of them live for some time, but they gradually fade until they are gone, or all who knew them are dead themselves and no longer anyone to remember them.

Do we have to disappear from here, die in a literal sense, to lose everything we have collected us, or do we have other alternatives?
If the answer is yes, we must die first, there is nothing more to say about it. If the answer is no, then we know the rest. We can easily lose all our here and now, and still be alive, let go of our ownership of all we have attributed to us in our lives, family and friends, material things, and all the wonders that we have collected for us.

What happens if we let go of everything? If we own no longer worldly and spiritual assets, neither relatives nor friends or else we can think of, but are still alive, then there is nothing left but us.

Now no one should fall into the trap of believing that we need to break all relations with all people and never see them again. This is only about ownership.

We talk about our children, say we own them and act like they are our property. But do we really own them? What do we know about what stirs their minds? Nothing. It is a fact. We know nothing about our children, what lives within them, what they think, their desires and dreams. We do not know them and do not own them.

This applies to all people that we say we own, as any other inanimate objects.
All we know about these people is that these are people, we have created all kinds of ideas about, images and other things that have in fact nothing to do with the people, but only ourselves. Everything we see is within ourselves, all our judgments are consistent with us, our ideas about everything and everybody.

Once we have let go of our ownership of everything, have seen the reality of it, completely, there is nothing left but us. Then we stand alone, without all. Still alive. Yet life. No-thing.

The truth is that we are life and life is we and everything. Life is all there is and all that belongs to it is ours. Also all the answers.
If we want to know death and all that comes with it, then we must do it, ourselves, for ourselves, see it in ourselves. We must dare to be without all, be no-thing. Alone and unsupported. No one can do it for us.

When we let go of everything and stand alone, as life, then we know that we are at least life.
That is what we are, life, it is the core of us all, whether we are alive or dead. Death is life and life is death, it will never be separated.

Life can never cease to be, and although we die and disappear from the eyes of our relatives and friends, the body does not disappear immediately, but changes form and becomes soil. This requires energy and life and so life goes with us in death, through the transformation process and on into eternity.

Death is not extinction of life, but the transformation of the body. Life cannot be stopped, it remains where it always has been, and will guide us in death and be with us, or rather be us forever.

We are the life and can never be anything else. We are all the same life, we are all one and the same, living and dead, for eternity. That is all.

IH, 1997

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