Chapter 10: Religion Is a Search for Meditation
Before you discuss the process of entering death consciously, I would like to ask you: What is the difference between conscious and unconscious states? What state of mind is called the unconscious state? In other words, what is the individual soul’s consciousness like in its conscious and unconscious states?
In order to understand the states of consciousness and unconsciousness, the first thing that needs to be understood is that they are not opposite states, although normally they are seen as opposites. Actually, we are used to seeing life in terms of duality. First we create a division between darkness and light and then think they are two separate things. As soon as we take darkness and light to be two different things we commit a fundamental mistake. Any thought that follows this mistake is bound to be wrong; it can never be right.
Darkness and light are variations of the same thing. They are different aspects, different stages of the same thing. It would be appropriate to call darkness a deficiency of light. Light which our eyes cannot catch, light which our eyes cannot detect, looks like darkness. Similarly, we should call light a shortage of darkness - darkness which our eyes cannot catch. So darkness and light are not two separate things, they are varying degrees of the same phenomenon.
What is true of darkness and light is true of all other dualities of life. The same thing is true regarding the unconscious and the conscious states. You may consider unconsciousness as darkness, and consciousness as light. In fact, even the most unconscious of all objects is not completely unconscious. A rock is not all unconsciousness - it too is in a state of consciousness, but the consciousness is so small it is hard to grasp.
One man is asleep, another man is awake. Sleep and wakefulness are not two different things. The same man is floating between sleep and wakefulness. What we call being asleep is also not really being asleep. For example, five hundred people are asleep in a room and you call the name “Rama” aloud. Only the person named Rama opens his eyes to find out who is disturbing his sleep, who has called him. The remaining four hundred and ninety-nine people stay asleep. Had this man been really asleep, he could not have heard anyone calling him; he could not have recognized that his name was Rama. His sleep was actually one of the lesser states of wakefulness, or his state of wakefulness had become a little hazy, a little fuzzy.