Reflections on Immortality Reflexionando acerca de la inmortalidad

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    [captionpix imgsrc=”” align=”left” captiontext=”One is, to the extent of one’s present capacity, the stillness that does not move, and yet contains all movement.”]An extraordinary thing happens in the brain when psychological time ends. The universe feels inside one, and there is no outside.

    The morning sun, the green grass, the hummingbird at the feeder, and a little girl’s voice are within one. The slightest breeze that comes up and heaves the leaves of the fruit tree as if with a sigh of relief is part of one. Even the leaf blower on the next street and the intermittent cars going by are inside. One is, to the extent of one’s present capacity, the stillness that does not move, and yet contains all movement.

    The whole point of meditating, or whatever one wants to call observer-less observation, is to allow for the discontinuity of thought, first as spaces between thoughts, then as the essential silence of thought.

    When time ends, death draws near. Is the complete ending of time the true meaning of immortality?

    I knew a woman that had a Catholic relative that was dying. He had been taught to fear death, as those of us raised Catholic or Christian have been. This poor fellow was so terrified of death that he wouldn’t sleep. When he finally died, my friend was horrified to witness the expression that was fixed on his face. His eyes were open, with a look of terror.

    Contrast that with Steve Jobs’ passing, conveyed by his sister at his eulogy, and expressed by his last words. Jobs final moments, she said, were spent staring lovingly at his family. Then, in his last moment of life, he stared into the distance past their shoulders, and said, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”

    Mercurial and even mean as Jobs often was, and offset by another side that was almost girlishly romantic–his is an example of a good death. We all have to die; it’s only a question of when, and how.

    But Jobs ‘immortality’ lies with the living, not in actuality, if there is such a thing as immortality in actuality.

    Without romanticism, mystics know what he saw and felt when he repeated ‘oh wow.’ Infinity and the aliveness of death overwhelm one in deeper meditative states, the same way they obviously do with a good death.

    But that still leaves the question of immortality. Steve Jobs wedded high technology with art and created beautiful utilitarian objects for personal use. He left a legacy that will be known by succeeding generations. That’s a tremendous accomplishment. But it isn’t immortality.

    [captionpix imgsrc=”” align=”right” captiontext=”Steve Jobs left a legacy that will be known by succeeding generations. That’s a tremendous accomplishment. But it isn’t immortality.”]We mistakenly think of immortality either in terms of time, or in terms of history. But in truth, to be immortal involves the complete negation of time.

    Making a friend of death seems utterly alien in a society completely wired to putting off death as long as possible. True immortality however, implies fully meeting and transcending death. In living with death every day, is there death when the body expires?

    Physicists speak of space/time as one property. That means the universe is unfolding, like a wave that never crashes on any shore, not a linear progression toward some end.

    It’s strange how when thought and time (thought/time) die, even for a moment, beauty and love flow within and flow forth. Why is thought/time such an impediment to beauty and love?

    Is it because psychological thought involves division and retention, and beauty and love can only be perceived and felt in the moment, when the entire mechanism of separation and memory are silent?

    The first and only requirement of meditation is unwilled attention, since this action ends the separate observer and allows the mind to fall silent. The separate observer is what keeps thought/time going.

    Life says: Death is the ground, don’t put it off; die now inwardly. Then one will be ready to die when the time comes.

    People with terminal illnesses, like Steve Jobs, are forced to learn this lesson. But can the rest of us learn it, while healthy and in the prime of life?

    There is another question. It takes a great deal of spadework, but if one effortlessly and irrevocably leaves the stream of thought-consciousness, does the ganglion of awareness that a person becomes during life go on after death? Are what we call gods or angels simply ganglia of incorporeal awareness, dwelling in a different dimension of the universe?

    I’m not talking about ‘life after death,’ or reincarnation, nor the individual consciousness that rejoins either the river of human consciousness, or the infinite field of the universe. I’m asking whether immortality may pertain to completely stepping out of the stream of thought in this life, dying to all memories and attachments.

    Without continuity of thought, there is no time; and without psychological time, there is no continuity of thought. Then, the actuality of death, which is everywhere at every moment, is seen and felt.

    Life and death are a single movement. Remaining in that awareness, is there really death at all?

    Martin LeFevre for[captionpix imgsrc=”” align=”left”]Una cosa extraordinaria sucede en el cerebro cuando el tiempo psicológico se detiene. El universo se siente dentro de uno, y no hay afuera.

    El sol de la mañana, el pasto verde, el colibrí en el comedero y la voz de una niña pequeña todo dentro de uno. La mínima brisa que viene y teje con las hojas de los árboles frutales como si fuera un suspiro dentro de uno. Hasta la podadora del otro lado de la calle y el ruido intermitente de los carros pasando, todo está adentro. Uno es, con todo y sus limitaciones, la quietud que no se mueve y, sin embargo, contiene todo movimiento.

    La idea de meditar, o lo que sea que uno llame a la observación sin observar, es permitir la discontinuidad de pensamiento, primero como espacios entre pensamientos, luego como el silencio esencial del pensamiento.

    Cuando el tiempo termina, la muerte se acerca. ¿Es acaso el completo final del tiempo, el verdadero significado de inmortalidad?

    Conocí a una mujer que tenía un familiar católico que estaba agonizando. Le habían enseñado a temer a la muerte, como a todos los que nos criaron católicos o cristianos. Este pobre hombre estaba tan asustado de la muerte, que no podía dormir. Cuando finalmente murió, mi amiga estaba horrorizada de ser testigo de la expresión de su cara. Sus ojos estaban abiertos, con una mirada de terror.

    En contraste con la muerte de Steve Jobs, que comunicó su hermana durante la ceremonia, y expresada por sus últimas palabras. Los momentos finales de Jobs, dijo, los pasó mirando fijamente a su familia. Luego, en su último momento de vida, fijó la mirada en la distancia y dijo, “Oh wow, oh wow, oh wow.”

    Un tipo serio y a veces grosero y a la vez con un romanticismo femenino, es un buen ejemplo de una buena muerte. Todos tenemos que morir; es solo cuestión de cuándo y cómo.

    Pero la inmortalidad de Jobs descansa en los vivos, no actualmente, si es que hay inmortalidad en la actualidad.

    Sin romanticismo, los místicos saben  lo que el vio y sintió cuando decía wow. La infinitud y la vivacidad de la muerte lo sobrepasa a uno cuando está en estado de meditación profundo, lo mismo que sucedería durante una buena muerte.

    Pero eso todavía nos deja la pregunta de la inmortalidad. Steve Jobs casó la última tecnología con arte y creó objetos utilitarios para uso personal. Dejó un legado que será conocido por las siguientes generaciones. Eso es un gran logro, pero no es inmortalidad.

    [captionpix imgsrc=”” align=”right”]Cuando pensamos erróneamente acerca de la inmortalidad, ya sea en términos de tiempo o en términos de historia. Pero en verdad, ser inmortal involucra la negación completa del tiempo.

    Hacerse amigo de la muerte parece extraño en una sociedad completamente empecinada con hacer de lado a la muerte por el mayor tiempo posible. La inmortalidad verdadera, implica conocer por completo a la muerte y trascenderla. Viviendo con la muerte todos los día, ¿hay muerte cuando el cuerpo expira?

    Las personas con enfermedades terminales como Steve Jobs son forzados a aprender esta lección. Pero ¿podemos nosotros aprenderla mientras gozamos de buena salud?

    Sin la continuidad del pensamiento, no hay tiempo; y sin tiempo psicológico, no hay continuidad de tiempo. Entonces, la actualidad de la muerte, que está en todo lado y en todo momento, es vista y sentida.

    La vida y la muerte son un único movimiento. Si partimos de eso ¿existe la muerte?

    Por Martin LeFevre para

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