Disclaimer: emphasis on the word speculation.
It wasn’t too long ago that I realized that expanding consciousness is the same as eradicating consciousness. When one exclaims a feeling of oneness with the universe they are paradoxically expanding their consciousness at the expense of their individual sense of self. Meditation, rhythmic dancing, etc all lessen the connection to ones self in order to feel a sense of self that has expanded to encompass all that is around them.
In a recent discussion on life after death with a shamanic acquaintance of mine, he tells me that dying is to life as sleeping is to waking. In his view, death is just a transition of consciousness from one state to another.
My question to him on this point is this:
The part of you that is easily identifiable; your memories, your personality, your dreams, desires, and wishes, your faults, and your fears – are these part of the consciousness that transcends and survives after the death of the physical body?
And if not, what is it that moves on?
I’m still waiting for his email response – and I don’t mean to put words in his mouth – but my guess is that the part of who we are that makes up our personality, our wishes, desires, dreams and so forth – in other words, what makes you you; this is not what he’ll say transcends death.
It’s something primordial, something deeper that carries on.
And what is it?
Could it be that it’s the part of you that’s accessed when you experience yourself as one with the world? I’m speaking of that something deep down inside you, buried by your layers of self-hood and self-identity, existing beyond conscious awareness, accessible only in those euphoric, spiritual moments when we feel connected to the rest of the world. The part of you that experiences that sensation, is that the aspect of consciousness that carries on after the death of the physical body?
This brings up an interesting realization. Using this framework of thought, we’ve established a sense of life after death, but at the same time, it means little in regards to our personal sense of identity and has little meaning in any personal sense of surviving death.
But if the Buddhists and the cognitive scientists are right, our sense of self is just an illusion anyway.
And so….does this mean that are “true self” is actually this selfless essence that survives death and is accessible in life only in moments of ego-loss and conscious expansion?
Oh I feel like I’m going in circles. 🙂