Age, Death and the Soul

Age, Death and the Soul

My body has been living on this planet for 29 orbits of the sun. In general, the human body can only survive for 80-100 orbits. At that point, the cells are no longer able to reproduce or repair themselves. When this happens we say that someone has died of “old age” or “natural causes”. But no one can really die from being old, their internal organs have to fail. It is highly unlikely that all organs fail simultaneously, so I’m curious to know what starts the process of death. Does the brain stop sending signals to the organs to make them work? Maybe the heart stops sending around oxygen and nutrients? Perhaps the lungs just won’t take in air anymore? And then what? Once the body is dead, is the soul then free of its fleshy prison and able to roam the universe, experiencing it in a new way previously unimaginable? Does consciousness just switch to another being, like changing user? Maybe the energy that was used to power this body is now available to power a different body? Are what we experience as ghosts just echoes of left over energies, like static? In Zen Buddhism, they teach us that there is no before and after, there is only this moment and as soon as you realise it, it has already passed and you are in a new moment. However, people who have reached enlightenment or the highest state of consciousness have reported that there is no time at all and that all which exists is the connected oneness of everything and the unity of the Truth. So maybe only those who have realised and experienced this connectedness are able to shift their consciousness at the moment of death and everyone else who believes in their separate singularity ends up dying alongside their bodies.

Maybe it’s all irrelevant.

I am not my body, I have a body.

I am not my body, I have a body.

Listening to “Letting Go: The Pathway of Surrender” by David R. Hawkins (M.D, Ph.D) on audiobook often has me thinking. It is a book I’m sure I’ll listen to several times. Yesterday it triggered thoughts that clarified themselves this morning. The thought was this:

I no longer identify with my body as being who I am. How I perceive myself is a topic for another post, for now I want to focus on my body. I used to hate it and abused it as a form of self punishment. Currently, I relate to it more as a vessel that keeps me grounded and allows me to experience the world through it. It’s not perfect but I love and respect it for what it allows me to do, especially after I have treated it so badly in the past. I also have a kind of nostalgic familiarity with it that brings me comfort.

It’s like your old car. The doors squeak and the windows rattle, sometimes the key sticks and lights flicker but it gets you to work in the morning, helps you carry your shopping home, let’s you visit your family whenever you want and takes you on holiday. It has that scratch from the time you threw your keys down without thinking, and the permanent marker that your baby cousin got hold of. Remember the time your friend was running late so thought she’d do her nails in the car and spilled the polish everywhere? You take care of it to keep repair costs down but also because you don’t want to lose it after all this time and all the memories you have in it.

This is how I feel about my body. It doesn’t work all that well and I don’t really like the way it looks, but we’ve been through a lot together and I have much love and respect for it. I take care of it and it takes care of me.

This was the thought that I had this morning but I have felt this way for some time, I just hadn’t realised it. It had an oil change recently and has been running a lot smoother and that caused appreciation and gratitude for this old hunk of junk.

Although this thought only presented itself concisely to me this morning, I felt it a few days ago during my zen mediation meeting. As part of our practice we do a few minutes of walking meditation. While I was walking I noted that I was enjoying it, that it was easy and fun. I found that I was feeling the ground beneath my feet in a way I never had before. I didn’t feel my toe joints moving or the impact of my weight on my ankles or knees, I was feeling the flat, solid, warm floor pushing up against the soles of my feet. It almost felt like it was carrying me, like every time my foot came down through the air, the floor caught it and supported it while I swung my over foot about. It was both bizarre and marvelous seeing something so mundane from this new perspective. I look forward to more experiences like this.

Intro

Intro

Hello there and welcome to my blog, The True Self.

I have been on a journey for some time but I didn’t realise where I was going or what I should be taking note of on the way. All I knew was that I didn’t want to go back and standing still seemed like a waste, so I kept plodding on.

There were some moments when I actively moved ahead with a goal in sight, but when I got there I figured I might as well keep on going (to paraphrase Forest Gump). Now I realise that all of these little trips have been part of the same big journey and now I that I have a better understanding of what that journey is, I can give it the proper attention it deserves.

As my title may suggest, this journey I am on is to discover The True Self. Some also call it the path to enlightenment or the destruction of the ego. There are many ways to describe it depending on your culture, spiritual beliefs or concepts of human beings. It is a journey that we are all placed on at birth. Some race ahead, eager to find what’s at the end of the path. Contrastly, some just sit in the mud, too tired or afraid to move from their familiar spot. Personally, I spent a long time walking in circles, digging holes and clinging to the ankles of others who were trying to move on. Eventually I found it all too exhausting and I lay down, giving up the struggle. That was when my journey began. I promised myself that I would walk a little way and if it didn’t get any better then I would dig a hole and bury myself in it. I found someone to point me in the right direction, and I started walking. I never dug that hole, I never laid down again.

That was in 2014, when my journey began, and only in the last year, 2019, have I realised where I’m heading. Not the destination, no one can know that until they’ve arrived, but I can see the path and I know the direction I want to go in.

Dispensing with the metaphors then, this journey will require and/or induce meditation and contemplation. I have always had a busy mind and been a deep thinker but, now I’m focused on where I’m going, some of these thoughts may be important to find the understanding that I seek. Therefore, I created this blog to record those thoughts as they arrive. They may be nothing or they may be something. They may be useless to me but golden nuggets for you. Or they may sound deeply profound to me and like crazy ramblings to you. Such is the joy of the internet that I can share what’s in my head and people all over the world can do as they wish with that.

So, welcome! I hope you find something here but if not, that’s okay too. Blessed Be.