Do those who awaken have a different experience of passing away?Do the apparently individual groupings of cognizing Awareness (which we think of as 'I') reappear or do you think each is only temporary and totally insignificant?
Good afternoon Rupert
I have read your book twice so far and think it is wonderfully clear and helpful. I want to thank you for it and for your kindness/generosity in answering questions.
I believe I am starting to get a clue about all of this. Would value your opinion about the following:
For those who apparently pass away with the ‘I’ intact, do you think that energy grouping goes on to dream another dream or is it rejoined with the whole and disappears without a trace?
Do you think it is any different for those who awaken to the dream before apparently passing away and whose constructed self collapses during a dreamed lifetime?
Perhaps what I’m asking is whether apparently individual groupings of cognizing awareness (which we think of as ‘I’) reappear or do you think each is only temporary and totally insignificant?
With many thanks and very best wishes,
Sherry: For those who apparently pass away with the ‘I’ intact, do you think that energy grouping goes on to dream another dream or is it rejoined with the whole and disappears without a trace?
Rupert: Let us start with the conventional view of life. In this view a body is considered to be born into a ready made world, a mind evolves inside this body and Awareness is considered to appear inside the mind.
At death the body, mind and Awareness are considered to disappear leaving the world behind and the individual ‘I’ is believed or at least hoped to return to its source, God, or however we conceive it.
Now let us look at our experience: our first objective experience is of sensations and perceptions appearing within Awareness. Subsequently thoughts develop which categorise these sensations and perceptions as a body and a world and subsequently as ‘me’ and ‘not me.’
What we call ‘life’ is a flow of these sensations, perceptions and thoughts in our Self, Awareness. If we look more closely we find that these sensations, perceptions and thoughts do not arise as independent objects floating in Awareness but rather that they are made out of the very substance of Awareness itself.
We may therefore reformulate the reality of our experience as Awareness itself taking the shape of sensing, perceiving and thinking.
In fact sensing, perceiving and thinking are all functions of the mind, using the word ‘mind’ in its broadest sense. Therefore what we call ‘the body’ and ‘the world’ are simply functions of mind (the body, sensations or sensing, and the world, perceptions or perceiving). So we could say, in fact, that the body and the world arise in the mind and that the mind rises in Awareness.
This is exactly the situation of the night dream, where a body and a world are created within Awareness and made only out of Awareness, and yet appear, as they do in the waking state, to be independent entities, one of which, the body, seems to contain a mind, which it turn seems to contain Awareness.
In other words our experience of the waking state is identical to the experience of the dream state, only the waking mind gives the two states different interpretations.
So now, with that as background, let us return to your question…
‘For those who apparently pass away with the ‘I’ intact…’ Who are ‘those,’ those people, who pass away leaving the ‘I’ intact? What exactly passes away leaving the ‘I’ intact? It is a body and its corollary, the world, that passes away. That is, a particular sensation and perception disappears. That is all we can be sure of. However, sensations and perceptions are disappearing all the time.
The ‘I’ is not a body. The ‘I’ is a thought that identifies Awareness with a body. That ‘I’ passes away every time the thought ceases.
All we know of death is that certain sensations and perceptions cease. There is no evidence that thinking and imagining cease at death. In fact there are numerous reports of the mind surviving the death of the body (to go back to conventional language) but no reports of the mind disappearing along with the body.
And this is exactly what happens when we fall asleep. The thinking, sensing and perceiving that we call the ‘waking state’ dissolve, but their energies leave a subtle residue which it turn arises as new thoughts, images, sensations and perceptions, which we call the ‘dream state.’ In other words a new body, mind and world appear in Awareness in the dream state.
When we awake in the morning, we don’t think ‘Oh I reincarnated last night’ but in fact we did! That is, Awareness took the shape of thinking, imagining, sensing and perceiving, and one of the forms that thinking took, was the form of a particular thought that identifies itself, Awareness, with one particular sensation called the body. That is reincarnation…to believe oneself to be a body and to seem, as a result, to live IN a body.
In fact reincarnation simply means to identify with a body. We do it numerous times every day, not just once a lifetime. And every time we disidentify with a particular body mind we die as that apparent entity and realise ourselves as Awareness.
This process continues in the waking state as well as the dream state, only this time we take it for real rather than as a dream. However, during the dream itself, the appearance of a body and a world seemed equally real as does the waking state body and world.
In other words we have no way of knowing from within the waking state, whether or not it is a dream, just as we have no way of knowing from within the dream itself, whether or not the dream is real. However, we are not in the waking state any more than we are in a dream. We are Awareness and the waking state appears in us as does the dream state.
In other words there is no difference from the point of view of reality, if such can be said to have a point of view, between the waking and dream states. They are both appearances in Awareness and made only out of Awareness.
In other words, neither incarnation nor reincarnation ever really happens. They just seem to happen. Therefore they never really cease to happen. They just seem to cease. The experience of love, peace or happiness is the experience of the cessation of the dream of incarnation.
So ‘is it (this ‘energy grouping,’ the ‘I’) rejoined with the whole and disappears without a trace?’
It is always ‘rejoined with the whole.’ In fact it never exists separate from the whole to begin with, waiting to be rejoined with it. In fact it is closer than ‘joined.’ It is utterly intimately one with, made out of, permeated by, saturated with Awareness. There is nothing else there. What is to be rejoined with what? Space with space? Silence with silence? The wave with water?
’.....disappears without a trace?’ Every time a thought, image, sensation or perception disappears, it disappears without trace. Every moment the mind, the body and the world are falling apart, vanishing. Only an idea seems to hold them together in one continuous coherent whole.
However, the only continuous coherent whole there is, is the Ever-Presence of Awareness.
In fact we can go further. The only substance of the mind, the body and the world, while they appear, is Awareness itself, just as the only substance of the image in a film is the screen. Therefore, in fact, nothing ever disappears. The substance of all experience remains ever-present, intact.
Whether the bundle of energies we call ‘I’ is appearing in what we call the waking state, the dream state or in some other state, doesn’t really matter - it is all made out of the same stuff and appearing in the same place.
Sherry: Do you think it is any different for those who awaken to the dream before apparently passing away and whose constructed self collapses during a dreamed lifetime?
Rupert: All such lifetimes are dreamed, so when the constructed self falls away it always falls away in the dream. It is just a dream that falls away! For whom is this question important? Only for the ‘constructed self!’ For whom is the dream important? For the one in the dream.
In the absence of the one in the dream, this question has no meaning. And as that one is only a dreamed character, the question can never have real meaning. Therefore it cannot have a meaningful answer.
It is like asking if the pink elephant sitting under your chair is hungry. Both the answer ‘yes’ and the answer ‘no,’ which would seem to be opposite answers, are in fact the same answer, because they both validate the belief in the pink elephant!
Sherry: Perhaps what I’m asking is whether apparently individual groupings of cognizing awareness (which we think of as ‘I’) reappear or do you think each is only temporary and totally insignificant?
Rupert: There are no individual groupings of ‘cognizing Awareness.’ There is one unlocated, unlimited cognizing Awareness, in which and as which an infinite number of perceptions are appearing.
Each of these perceptions is made only out of Awareness, so they never really disappear. All that changes is the colour, as it were, of Awareness, like a chameleon always changing its colour yet always remaining itself!
If we think that these perceptions, these ‘individual groupings of cognizing Awareness’ have a reality of their own, it will seem that they are born, last in time and then die. However, they are only Awareness. The screen never comes and goes. It just changes colour.
As appearances therefore each of these individual groupings, which are just made out of a momentary perception, is fleeting, transitory, insignificant, temporary. But their substance, their reality, is ever-present and completely significant. It is all the meaning there is.
It is known as love, peace, happiness. That is the significance of all things.