Discover more from Timeless Luminosity Newsletter
2022, October, Issue 16
When I have spoken or written about my experiences in the death bardo, I become very concerned about the words I use or the way I create imagery for the audience. Any assertion, concept or idea is completely incorrect, when it comes to direct experience of the ineffable. Labels are arbitrary generalizations. The words are merely symbolic representations of something that cannot actually be explained. In order to understand, we need our own direct experience. The ineffable reality is not an object. It cannot be represented by words. To reify that in any way is to completely miss what that is.
So, when we begin this journey of awakening, it is important to always keep in mind that this process relies upon how we look at appearances, all phenomena, how we look at mind. Our habitual mind applies labels to everything. Ego defends those assertions. So, some people are so confused that they cannot see the difference between a label and an object, and the ineffable reality. A label is never reality. Never. A label is not even a label. It has no inherent existence.
How do we know this?
We examine everything very carefully, with very sincere introspection and observation. Let’s say that someone is diabetic. Where does it say in that person’s body that they are diabetic? Maybe the person begins a regimen of fasting, exercise and eating very healthy food; and, just maybe, that person no longer has issues with sugars or insulin resistance. Does the label remain? Perhaps it does for medical staff, who have applied that label. Where is that label located?
We can’t find the label. The label itself is empty. Circumstances prove that. Circumstances also might be that diabetes will return, if a person does not deal with circumstances by fasting, eating correctly and exercise, or listen to their medical providers. The reality of circumstances, within appearances, means we must not be careless, but also see that we are not helpless. By understanding that we are not limited by labels, we gain more power over our lives, health and circumstances.
When I was in the death bardo, I saw what I said were great storms all around, a roar of thunder and winds, vibrating expanses, tremendous energy spanning all eternity, across dimensions, throughout the multiverse, beyond anything imaginable, etc. Well, this description does not come close to explaining what that was. First of all, each storm was at least a billion times vaster than our universe. Second of all, the idea of a storm is the only thing our feeble human lives can compare it to, since the energy and the quickness of all that swirling energy happened in a vastly more dynamic fashion than any storm on earth.
The labels used to describe the death bardo come nowhere near the reality of having been in that condition. The label “death” is completely inadequate. The experience far surpasses anything that we can ever imagine. For me it lasted infinitely longer and it held far more than just one lifetime. The label “experience” is also vastly inadequate. When we die, we have no choice but to experience all phenomena directly. This means that self completely disappears at some point; and, yet, self and all those we have ever encountered are there. Any barriers we have completely wash away. We become all and beyond, as we have always been.
If we wish to awaken, then labels will do nothing for us. Belief, concept, ideas, they are all empty of inherent existence. We can only ever have direct experience. To awaken means understanding that we are not limited by all the barriers we place in front of us. These labels we cling to only get in the way, stunting us, creating more suffering. To awaken means to get real, see things as they are, not become more limited by our own thinking.
Can you imagine that the next time you die, you will not freak out, but instead open your mind to your full potentiality of infinite awareness, thus not being reborn again? Our own limitations bring us back. Our own clinging to actions brings us back. Our own not knowing about our real condition brings us back.
Maybe we think that we might want to come back. Maybe we reject that ineffable light of Dharmakaya. Maybe we don’t want to awaken, or maybe think we don’t suffer.
To remain in the light is to remain where we have always been. The only difference with awakening is that you are aware of your own condition and that of all beings. If you choose to remain in ignorance, you will experience all that the realms of mind have to offer for all eternity. There’s no need to complain when something goes wrong or if you suffer. You’ve discovered that there is a way out of this madness. You’ve chosen the path you did not know you were on.
We will all awaken. It’s just a matter of time. And, time is not real.