Chapter 12: Becoming a Witness
The day a man comes to realize the difference between himself and the misery, as soon as he comes to know his pain is happening somewhere at a distance, the unconsciousness caused by misery ceases to exist. And once a person comes to understand that the sufferings as well as the happinesses of the body occur elsewhere, that one is merely a knower of them, his identity with the body is severed. Then he knows he is not the body.
This is the initial preparation. Once this preparation is complete, then it is easy to enter death with awareness. Not only easy, but it will happen most certainly. As such, we are not afraid of death really. After all, even to be afraid of death, one needs to be familiar with death. How can we feel afraid of something we know nothing about?
So, we have no fear of death really; rather, in our minds death exists in the form of a disease. That’s the idea we have of it. When even minor illnesses leave us in so much trouble - the foot hurts and we suffer so much, the head hurts and we suffer so much - what a torture it will be when the entire body will hurt and fall apart!
The fear of death is the sum total of all our illnesses. Death in itself, however, is not an illness. Death has nothing to do with illness - it is not even remotely connected with it. It is a different matter if illnesses precede death, but there is no cause-and-effect relationship between the two. It is beside the point that a man dies following an illness, but one need not be mistaken and think that illness causes death. Perhaps the reverse is the case.
Because a man comes close to death, he grabs on to illness. No one ever dies of illness. As death approaches, he begins to catch illnesses. As death draws near, his body becomes weak, his receptivity toward sickness increases. He becomes vulnerable, he begins to look for illnesses. The same illness would not be able to affect him were the man closer to life. Perhaps it would not have been able to catch hold of him.
Do you know there are some moments when you are more receptive to illnesses, while there are some when you are not? In moments of disappointment and sadness a person becomes vulnerable to illness, while a man full of hope and optimism becomes unreceptive to it. Even illness does not enter you without your willingness to accept it - your inner acceptance is needed.
Hence, no matter how many medicines are given to them, those who are of a suicidal mind can never be cured. Their minds remain unreceptive to medications. Their minds go on seeking illnesses, inviting diseases with open arms, but keeping their doors very tightly closed as far as medications are concerned.
No, no one ever dies of illness. Rather, one becomes vulnerable to illnesses because of approaching death. That’s why illness occurs first, then death follows. We normally think what happens first is the cause, and that which follows it is the effect. That’s erroneous thinking. Illness is not the cause. Invariably the cause is death. The illness is merely the effect.