The conventional mindset in which human beings are held keeps them arrested in the turbulence of thought creating a kind of unconscious prison. That mindset becomes a breeding ground for problems. Trying to find a solution to psychological problems within that turbulence can only produce a façade of a solution. Therefore problems soon reappear in different forms. What is needed is a transformation in our awareness so that the problem creating tendency of the mind is smothered right at its root. This transformation has to take place through understanding the thought created ”I” and its habitual movements; that habit has the momentum of centuries by being handed down from generation to generation, so its power should not be underestimated. Through patient self-awareness and by understanding life as it flows through oneself and others, one can go to the root of the problems and let the transformation take place from there. Here, a major source of help is available through messages from near death experiences (NDEs) and out-of-body experiences (OBEs). See Ref. 1.
Practices of belief systems and meditative systems can only produce a peripheral change because they function from within the turbulence of the mind. They do not aim at dissolving the ”I,” which is the root-cause of all psychological problems. In fact, those practices sustain the “I” through the expected results. One of the reasons for the fear of death is the ‘I’ dominated psychology. The “I” being a thought created entity, it has no intrinsic substantiality. So, it is afraid of facing the ending of the body with which it is strongly identified. This situation gives us a clue that the afterlife scenario can open the doors for our awareness to move into the inner breeding ground of problems. The resulting esoteric perspectives bring about freedom from inner conflicts and create inner integration. Then the “I” comes into being only for purely practical purposes; it no longer masquerades as the true self. See Ref. 3.
The transformation is a result of being a bystander to oneself — that is, an affectionate witness attitude. It is a matter of pure self-awareness driven by deep interest in understanding oneself and life non-verbally. The associated growth of inner freedom brings about the transformation at the neurological depths – the change is not merely at the psychological levels. It comes along imperceptibly, like the turning of a huge ship. The changes take place of their own accord; no effort would be involved. It is a state of true surrendering; there would be no hidden motive of gaining an ego-satisfying end. That spiritual state of passivity is associated with deep connectivity with everything in life.
The affectionate bystander attitude paves the way for the ‘otherness’ to enter. It is like keeping the house clean for receiving the Guest. Then the cataclysmic event of the ultimate catharsis takes place in its own way at its own time. In such a state of consciousness, the thought created ego can no longer rise. Merger with Divinity would have taken place and, as the Upanishad says [Ref. 5], one finds all creatures in oneself and oneself in all creatures. A glimpse of this is experienced by some people during their near death experience [Lori, E., Ref. 1]. The thought created individuality – the ego – would be seen as the illusory mirage in which human beings are caught. Once we see a mirage as a mirage, there would be no deception from it.
From the foregoing, it is clear that near death experiences can throw a lot of light in understanding our journey of life. In this connection, the book ‘Transformed by the Light’ by Dr Melvin Morse [Ref. 4] can be a good reference among others. He says that, after examining many occurrences, it is clear that the visionary experiences at the point of death are both real and transformative, thus confirming us as spiritual beings. This aspect also reminds us of a statement by Gina Cerminara (author of the book ‘Many Mansions’, [Ref. 2]). She says that we are spiritual beings meant to live life to the fullest on earth rather than human beings struggling to become spiritual through conformity to a belief system. Dr Morse goes on to say the following:
“These experiences [the NDEs] teach us many things, but most important they show us that there is a fountain of life from which all of us spring. Human beings have the ability to be inspired by a light which has the power to transform them. We do not have to die to learn from this experience. We only have to be open to its message.”
From the NDEs, we learn that the way we live on earth has something to do with what happens in the afterlife. That awareness can transform us to the point of leading a life of joy, compassion and intensity. This is especially so because of two messages from the NDEs: (1) The bodily death is not an ending and that it transports us to a fantastically magnificent zone of consciousness; it is an intense scenario of ‘Returning Home’. (2) All human beings enjoy the greatness of that zone irrespective of nationality, religion, culture etc.
We should alert ourselves to an issue here. In purely practical issues, the approach of the preset goal has a definite place. It is to be noted that, there too, what we have to do in the ‘Now’ plays a dominant role. In the area of spirituality, however, the preset-goal involvement sustains the ego and so it will become counter-productive. Matters like wanting to be in eternal heaven after death belong to the preset-goal approach. The path of transformation is not hooked on to any future event and so the preset-goal way of thinking does not play a role there. In it the transformation takes place as a byproduct along the process. Thus, the very process serves as the end too and the ‘Now’ remains in focus forever!
- 1. http://nderf.org
- 2. Cerminara, Gina. Many Mansions. New York: New American Library, 1950.
- 3. Gopalakrishnan, TC. In Quest of the Deeper Self. Outskirts Press Inc., Colorado, 2008.
- 4. Morse, Melvin, M.D., with Paul Perry. Transformed by the Light. New York: Ballentine Books, 1992
- 5. Upanishad. www.easwaran.org/the-isha-upanishad-the-inner-ruler.html