Well, it’s been quite the ride hasn’t it? The euphoric successes, the heart-wrenching failures, the romantic relationships, the disorienting break-ups, the seasoned friendships, the persistent enemies, the profound births, the catastrophic deaths, the ground-breaking realizations… the search.
Now you’re on the last sentence of the last page. You die tomorrow. (Sorry to spoil the surprise).
There’s obviously not much time left for checking off a bucket list (let alone writing one), so what are you going to do with this little time you have left? I can bet you’re not going to ignore that next trip to the bathroom, or how the shade of paint in the hallway looks different at this time of day. In fact, you’re probably going to notice that everything looks different. Of course, nothing actually is different, you’re just no longer ignoring ANYTHING. What would be the point in ignoring anything anymore? It’s not like you have something more important to do or somewhere more important to be now.
Amazing isn’t it? Existence is yours now. Everything you see, everything you touch is inseparable from you now. After all, there’s no time left for there to be you ‘and’ life. You don’t have time to keep making such a distinction… even one so basic. Whatever exists is your existence, plain and simple.
Perhaps you’re asking “why didn’t I acknowledge death sooner?”… maybe because you thought that the struggle to stay alive was the same thing as being alive. Maybe you settled for what you thought was life instead of living life without thought.
Thank God thinking is kind of pointless now eh? It’s just too much of a distraction… this moment is obviously too precious to waste on that ignorant little practice anymore.
Have you noticed something strange about the story you’re leaving behind? Have you noticed that your successes, failures, relationships, friendships, enemies etc. all had one thing in common? None of them actually had anything to do with what life actually IS. Yes, they were all the things that happened in life but were never what was truly at the center of it. As you’re well aware of now, what was at the center was you. Funny how that obvious / un-obvious fact seems to be what’s most important now and not the other things. It’s not selfish though is it. You’re not focusing on the things your personality would have focused on in the past, you’re just focused on the fact that you exist and yet somehow in a few hours that will cease to be the case… or will it? Now seems like the best time to find out if there’s something about you that can’t die.
So let’s begin.
First off, you’ll need a clean slate. Start by throwing out every bit of knowledge that you have. If that seems like a difficult task, don’t worry, it isn’t. Just slap yourself in the face 5 times and then look up at the sky. Next, start pounding on your chest like a gorilla (while making gorilla sounds) and then do a cannon ball into the middle of your bed. Finally, take a look in the mirror and say your name as many times as needed until it makes absolutely no sense anymore. When you arrive at that meaningless place, don’t make one iota of an effort to do anything about it. Stay there. The meaning you’ve given to things after all is your suffering… and incidentally, is the means by which you’ve concocted the person you’ve believed your ‘self’ to be all this time.
Now, lets explore this meaningless place.
Hey! Stop it. I said meaningless. Stop trying to categorize what’s happening right now… that’s just more meaning crap.
Okay, are you empty again? Good. Now, look around you here. Here. Now. Pick up an object nearby.
I said pick up an object! Not a cup! If you picked up a cup then put it down. Keep picking the cup up and putting it down until you finally pick up something that has no name. When you’re finally holding the mystery in your hand (by the way your hand also isn’t a hand if that’s the case) then it’s time to move about. Notice what it’s like to move through life when you’re not assigning meaning to yourself, to others, to ANYTHING. To be clear here: you’re not *saying* that everything is meaningless with a negative slant, you’re just *seeing* what it’s like when you acknowledge that everything is void of meaning.
Do you see? No step is insignificant when there’s no meaning to anything. Seems paradoxical doesn’t it? When nothing has meaning then everything is meaningful… beautiful.
Isn’t that what all of the fear has been about in regards to this death thing?… that you will become nothing and so will everything else? Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all?
Okay Kyle, sure sure. You’re forgetting one important part about this death thing though: the part where your consciousness ceases to exist! That’s bad Kyle, really really bad.
I will say this: your consciousness does cease to exist.
I’ll rephrase. Consciousness doesn’t cease to exist, but ‘your’ consciousness does indeed cease. All that really means is that the personal labels of ‘me’, ‘myself’, and ‘I’ fall away… and the consciousness that those labels were attached to remains by itself. In other words, only what’s false dies.
Sounds nice Kyle, but I’ve seen and heard scientists provide evidence that says once the body dies, that’s it… no more anything.
And they’re right. kind of. They’re right in that all measurable phenomena has a life span and will eventually cease to be. They’re wrong in that consciousness is not a measurable phenomena… because it’s not a thing that can be measured… it’s what allows all things to be and all measuring to happen but in and of itself, it’s no-thing. Yes, some scientists claim that consciousness (or awareness) is a nice byproduct created by the brain and therefore dies when the brain dies, but if you were to ask these scientists what exactly consciousness is, they wouldn’t be able to tell you. Why? Because there’s literally nothing there to measure. The scientist who claims that consciousness is a byproduct of the brain operates on unverified belief. They claim to know what consciousness is by describing how the brain works… which is just a bit of scientific mis-direction and slight of hand. If you don’t want to see the moon, you’ll focus on the finger pointing to it and you’ll call the finger the ‘moon’ instead.
Okay, but it’s easy to make the case that consciousness can’t die when you say that it’s no-thing because you can never be proved wrong. But how can you ever be proved right?
More to the point, how can you ever be proved right? The eternal nature of consciousness can only ever be proven to itself… so don’t take my word for it. You can only truly find out by finding out for yourself in your own direct experience. You don’t need scientists or a scientific degree, just a scientific form of inquiry.
Given that you’re checking out tomorrow, there’s no point in romanticizing about consciousness and coloring it in with unverified belief. It only makes sense to get scientific about it. So, start now and be total in your inquiry.
What is known for certain here now when thinking isn’t happening?
(Long silent pause)
Then that’s the TRUTH of your own direct experience. Nothing is actually known.
Without thinking, what is it that knows nothing?
(Long silent pause)
I don’t know. Nothing I guess.
You guess? Assume for a moment that you are intelligent enough to come up with a definitive and correct answer yourself. So look again, *what* is it that knows nothing when thinking is not happening?
Nothing! There is no ‘what’! There’s NOTHING goddammit. Nothing!
So the TRUTH is that you’re nothing and that you know nothing?
Uhhh….. yesss. yep. Is this a trick?
Believing that you’re something and that you know something is the actual trick is it not? Since when is the truth of your own direct experience a trick? Tricks are only possible when you stick with unverified belief; when you stick with thinking based on unverified belief.
Okay, so I’m nothing that knows nothing and I die tomorrow. Is that it?
If you say so.
Copyright © 2019 Kyle Hoobin