There’s an old-fashioned song: ‘Everybody wants to go to heaven but nobody wants to die’. This neatly describes the yearning to be free of the burden of time – but not while there’s still so much to experience in the world. Dying to existence is the spiritual process in which everyone is a participant. To be born into matter as a body is to contribute towards a deepening enlightenment of the human race. All roads, even those steeped in the deadening weight of religious traditions, eventually lead to the Source. But the process is glacially slow.
Most people on earth have little time or inclination to look for any deeper meaning beyond that which provides material security and sensual pleasure. For them the search for reality can wait; so the spiritual process operates at an unconscious level, imperceptible to the masses. At this epoch of human evolution there is no universal solution. The truth, where it can be heard, is for the individual alone.
The trigger for spiritual transformation comes when the experience of life has reached a point when it no longer delivers the same degree of pleasure or satisfaction as before. There are periods of aridity and confusion prior to the change, and often a heightened sensitivity to the suffering of others. At the behest of a cosmic initiative, an individual is inducted into a new state of being. This is the moment of truth when the power of the unconscious penetrates the nucleus of the brain, instigating an upsurge of spiritual energy. It’s an intensely personal experience, often triggered by traumatic events that penetrate the mind structure of the individual and instigate a profound change to the life. Who can say when an individual is ready or willing to die to existence? Perhaps the spirit is continually searching for those who wouldn’t necessarily be termed saintly but who are able to handle the tremendous inner upheavals that accompany the transformation of self.
The self is a word that describes something fundamentally selfish in revolt to the good of the whole. It’s most recognisable as the worrier in the head that’s unable to stop thinking when anxious or troubled by a relationship or event. The self is the feeling of gloom and emotional discomfort in the pit of the stomach when depressed or fed up with life. Everyone is aware of the troublesome self but few ever succeed in vanquishing the impostor that has usurped the authentic Being behind the body. The self is the consummate trickster and skilled in the art of deception. It’s fooled humanity since the earliest of times and continues unabated today in our western civilisation – the first global culture to be completely possessed by this alien parasite of self.
Dismantling the hold of the self is a mighty task and an extremely painful introduction to dying to existence. Self-knowledge is the way that it can be undertaken. From being identified exclusively with the objective world, the focus turns inward and the belief in the world as a permanent structure is shattered. Existence at every level provides the mirror to be disabused of the ignorance of living. The practice of meditation, when done rightly, neutralises the inner forces that create the solid feel of the physical world. When the focus of attention is turned inwards, vital energy is harnessed that enables the pure intelligence to delve deeper into the mystery of the psyche. From here it’s possible to register the purity of life before it takes form in the divisive brain. This is the introduction to being out of existence while still conscious and present in the body. There can be a sense of elevation and great joy that, indeed, feels like heaven.
Although progress can be encouraging in the early stages, the self refuses to go to heaven because it doesn’t want to die. As the emotional body adjusts to the enhanced psychic frequency there’s a reaction from the self to the intrusion of its domain. When its position is threatened by the intelligent gaze of a superior power, the treacherous self will fight to the death to retain its ground. The first step in dying to existence is to know the enemy. And now we know.
You need to be logged in to comment