Objects only come in and out of existence from the point of view of a subject, whilst I, Awareness, who am neither a subject nor an object and yet the reality of both, am eternally present.

Deep Sleep and Death

What is the difference between deep sleep and death?

Hello Rupert,
Just a brief question for you: In practical terms, what´s the difference between the dissapearence, the “nothingness” we enter after the death of our brain (according to materialist science) and the “consciousness without an object” that follows our physical death you and other teachers speak about? Both are states without “objects”, and I can´t find a practical difference between deep sleep (where, according to your teachings, we´re aware of ourselves, but not aware of “objects”) and the “no-thing-ness” we enter when we die, if what the materialist scientists say is true.
Thanks in advance,



Dear Fernando,

The short answer is: Deep sleep is, death is not. There is no connection between the two.

For those who are interested in the fine print, I will elaborate!

You refer to ‘the “nothingness” we enter after the death of our brain (according to materialist science)....’

Who enters this nothingness? That one cannot be dead. And that one cannot be ‘nothing.’ It must at least be present. It must also be limited because it supposedly enters a state in which it was previously absent. Being limited it must have objective qualities and therefore be observable. And what is it that observes this limited one who enters the nothingness of death? If the scientists are talking from experience and not theory, that which observes this limited one must also be present ‘there’ and knowing. Which of these two - the limited one or the knowing presence that observes it - would the scientists consider to be ‘myself?’ And who would the other one be? You will have to ask the material scientists all these questions!

You then refer to, ‘the “consciousness without an object” that follows our physical death.’ I think you probably mean this, but for clarity, “consciousness without an object” is not created afresh after the disappearance of the body. Consciousness simply remains as it always is.

An analogy would be the TV screen that remains exactly as it always is after the film has been turned off. Whilst the film is entirely dependent on the screen, the screen is entirely independent.

In other words, Consciousness without an object doesn’t appear or disappear. It is ever-present. Consciousness doesn’t really ever have an object as such. It is itself the stuff of all apparent objectivity. It is its own content.

You ask, what the difference is between this and deep sleep?

There is no difference. But deep sleep here is understood not from the point of view of the waking state where it is considered to be a blank state that lasts in time, but rather as the background and substance of all states. That’s why I said to begin with, ‘Deep sleep is.’

And, for thoroughness, if we consider deep sleep to be blank nothingness in which Consciousness is not aware of itself, I would say this. In order to claim from experience that deep sleep is a blank nothing, ‘something’ that is both conscious and present must be there to witness it. That ‘something’ is of course Consciousness. In such a case this blank nothingness would be the apparent shape that Consciousness itself seems to be taking, just as now these words and whatever else is being experienced, seems to be the apparent shape that Consciousness is taking.

So in both interpretations of deep sleep, Consciousness is there shining alone in its own self.

If we insist on finding a connection between Consciousness and death, we could say that death is a concept that appears in and is ultimately made out of Consciousness itself. But death as it is normally conceived is not an experience and for that reason I said to begin with that there is a connection between the two.

With love,