Chapter 16: The Present Is the Only Time You Have
Is it possible to die consciously without being enlightened?
Existence follows certain laws - and there are no exceptions. If one wants to die consciously, the only way is to be enlightened.
Death is such a great surgery: your soul is being taken apart from the body and mind, with which it has been involved for seventy or eighty years. Even for a small operation you need anesthesia; and this is the greatest operation in existence.
Unconsciousness is nothing but nature’s way of giving you anesthesia. Unless you are completely unidentified with body and mind, you cannot die consciously - and a death which is not conscious is a great opportunity missed.
Enlightenment is an absolute necessity.
Enlightenment only means that your whole being is conscious: there are no dark corners left inside you. Dying in such consciousness the body, the mind, the brain can be taken away from you, because you know now - not just as a theory, but as your authentic experience - that you have always been separate. The involvement with the body was broken the day you became enlightened.
In the ancient scriptures of the Buddhists, enlightenment is called the “great death” - not that you are going to die, but the death is great because you will be able to see it happening, you will be a witness. Now you are no longer attached to the body, no clinging, and you have become aware of your immortality.
You can die consciously only when you know that you are immortal, that you belong to eternity, not to time; that deep within you is the beginning of existence and the end of existence - if there is any beginning or if there is any end. In fact there is no beginning and no end; you have always been here, and you will always be here.
A conscious death is one of the miracles of life, because after that you will not be born again in any form - as a man, as a bird, as a tree. You will remain in the eternal consciousness of the universe, spread all over the ocean. Hence, it has been called the “great death.”
But there are no exceptions. Existence follows absolutely definite laws, and this is a law of the highest order, because it concerns your consciousness, your life, your death.
I sit here feeling the stillness of the universe, listening to a bird’s sweet song - and I wonder. Then I listen again to your vision for mankind now, and I wonder that perhaps I am your hands and your feet - that perhaps I should be out there. I wonder whether this frail bud is yet ready enough, that maybe it needs a little more sweet dew and sun fire..