The Birth of the Lion - Part II - Dying into the Unknown
Abridged Version (51 % of the integral text)
Source: This is the abridged version of the book from OM C. Parkin ‘The Birth of the Lion’. The complete book can be ordered at advaitaMedia online shop.
It is all about something to which you have been completely blind, something invisible, something that words can only point to, something that cannot be understood, something so close to you, you simply cannot see it because it is what you are.
Your attention is always directed toward some object. This is your habit, and the habit of every human being. It is only by directing the attention toward an object that the “world” first comes into being. At this moment of directing attention toward an object, you are blind to the one who thinks, blind to the one who feels, blind to the one who gives life to all these objects. To leave every object behind requires complete readiness and maturity. This is the readiness to die.
Thoughts are equally objects, and objects offer an illusion of the possibility of escaping death. For this reason, there is a continuous clinging to any kind of object. It does not matter whether these objects are on the apparent outside or the apparent inside.
What are you ready to give up? What are you ready to leave behind?
Any attachment to the transient body or to thoughts and feelings undoubtedly leads to some kind of Self-deception. People live for what is transient, and the mind pretends that death is far away. But death is tangibly close. Surrender is all about the readiness to die now.
The mind also fools you by making you believe in a very credible way that the death of the body is something terrible. I once read the report of a man who went down on a shipwrecked ferry with 900 people aboard in the winter of 1996. He described the moment he found himself in the cold water, the incredible panic and terror, and the enormous self-contraction in the face of death. He did not die, of course, otherwise he could not have written the report. But what was interesting was what happened the moment he was able to let go of this agony. It was the moment in which this man, who probably had no previous spiritual experiences nor had ever been on the spiritual search, experienced bliss. This bliss totally transcended the pain of the cold water and everything else, and it happened the moment he was ready to die.
This is the great paradox. Life, real life, can only be experienced out of a readiness to die. Real life is exactly what the mind is searching for by cutting out death in all of its subtle or gross ways. But dying actually happens in every moment, not just the moment the body dies.
I remember when I asked myself for the first time, What am I ready to let die? It didn’t even start with the body. It began with the car, the most trifling of matters. It seems absurd, but in a way, it seemed worse to me if certain belongings died rather than if the body died.
It takes constant strain, constant tension, to hold your own against an inevitable death. Total readiness to die, however, is the gateway to bliss. If this body has to be taken, if it has to be sacrificed, it has to be sacrificed. Exactly the same way many living beings are sacrificed every day so that our own organisms can survive. Death is part of a totally natural process.
The not-Self is what needs to be radically rejected. This is what I mean by the readiness to die. It is the moment in which out of total readiness for Self-recognition, the body is rejected, feelings are rejected, senses are rejected, and thoughts are rejected in order to see what remains. What remains is Reality. But that can neither be believed nor understood. It can only be directly experienced. As long as there is not a total readiness to die, there will always be something that makes you cling to the world. That does not matter. Almost everyone plays this game.
Asceticism really has nothing to do with it. I don’t talk about living in an ascetic way. When I say reject, I do not mean to take any action. Rejecting means to take back the attention. Rejecting, in the spiritual sense, is no action at all.