And so the light was switched on. The light got brighter and brighter, and there I was. And so was the world.
Where did I come from? Who am I? How could I emerge from “nothing”?
This story and predicament is true for all of us. We wake up slowly…in a daze…where we cannot see or remember a beginning. We just know one thing, and that is that we are. We are here, now. Wow.
What happens when the light switch is turned off? Do I wander off to darkness, suspended in a place of no time and no space?
If I am aware of darkness – of anything – the light of life must still be shining. How can I ever not be? I cannot not be. Because the light is switched back on again, and the light gets brighter and brighter, and there I am, again. But this time with a new name, in a new environment, with a new experience. I have no memory. And so I live my life. And I see others living their lives around me. They are, too, the light that is shining in me. The light of consciousness. That subjective dimension in which all things are experienced. No thing can ever be known and appreciated without consciousness. Consciousness cannot be destroyed in the universe, because if you are here now as a conscious witness, then you always will remain as the witness, in form or another.
Try to imagine anything at all – the universe, matter – anything, without a witness. A billion years may pass without a witness present. And then the witness emerges, slowly…from a daze…and there we are, again. From the witness’ perspective, there was no time between being and…being. The light of consciousness is eternal. A trillion years and an infinite number of universes will – eventually – give rise to consciousness again. And again, there was no time, no space, no place where consciousness was not; it always remained as consciousness. 0 will be 0; 1 will be 1. 1 cannot be 0, because if it is, then it was 0. If 1, then always 1. In this way, life and death (consciousness and non-consciousness) can be understood in boolean terms.
You cannot be dead. Remember, all that you are personally is contained in your mind and body. And of course, this will indeed pass. Just like any transient form in the universe will change over time. But that is not the essence of what you are. You are the container, the witness, of everything. And so is every other sentient being. Every living being is incarnated into form. Consciousness is the function (subjective dimension), the body is the form (objective dimension). Form and function are intimately linked. It is my working hypothesis that consciousness cannot exist without form, of some physical or virtual substance. The particularities of the human experience can only be appreciated through the integrated functioning of the human physiology; change the physiology and you change the experience.
And just to remind and clarify: while consciousness cannot exist without form, we are still here, untouched. Because we cannot not be, because if we were, we would still be. It might sound like a paradox or even nonsensical, but if you can wrap your mind around the implications of consciousness and the notion of being and non-being, you will see that, nothing can ever be (consciously) experienced without conscousness present. If you were to (try to) destroy consciousness – sooner or later in the realm of time and space – the light of consciousness will, again, turn on, and from the perspective of consciousness itself, there was no beginning, nor end, because it was always here and now. And so it will remain forever.
Let’s run a thought experiment: if you were dead, what does that mean…for you? Many people would probably instinctively say something like “nothing, because I am dead”, or “I will be in heaven – or hell”, or “I will be re-incarnated as this or that”. Let’s break each answer down.
Nothing, because I am dead.
There is truth to this perspective. However, it is only partial truth. The truth is that the physical form and all that we are personally – our mind and its content – will indeed die and will no longer exist as it were. For many people, this is the only answer they need…because they only know themselves to be the contents of their minds which does indeed include their sense of (personal) self and identity. But don’t worry, you will not really become nothing, or float around in nothing-ness. You will simply be here. You have to understand that it is not the personalized you that is here; it is presence, consciousness, irrespective of form.
I will be in heaven – or hell.
This is probably the easiest answer to respond to. If one is experiencing heaven or hell, then one is – per definition – still alive. Again, there cannot be any experience at all without consciousness at its foundation. So, if you believe you will go to heaven or hell after you die, it simply means that that you will still be alive, but have a different experience. You will not be dead.
I will be re-incarnated as this or that.
This is one is quite interesting, as the essence of what it refers to is real. We will indeed be continually re-incarnated in the sense that consciousness remains and a new sentient being will wake up, but it is not the personal, space and time-bound “me” that is transitioning from one body to another, as if the human person moves into a bird form, for instance. A human being cannot experience being a bird, because if the experience is one of a bird, then it is a bird. A human being (mind) can project the notion of being a bird, or an ant, or some other life form, but we cannot ever be it. Only those life forms can be those life forms. Thus, there is nothing personal that is transmitted from one physical form to another. Don’t worry, you are not going to wake up one day as an ant. The ant will be the ant. The human will be the human. Just as 1 cannot be 0; 0 cannot be 1. You can reduce the size of the 1 to fit inside the 0, but the integrity of the 1 will remain the same, irrespective of its size. Infinity is infinite, even as infinities can have different sizes relative to one another. It does not change the fact that it is infinity. Just as consciousness cannot be non-consciousness, or gone as we sometimes perceive it.
So, just as we cannot remember our beginning, we will not know our end. When the end is there…the light is switched on. The light is brighter and brighter, and there I am. And so is the world. Hello word, nice to see you again in no time!