Thoughts on Death
The main premise of my cosmological model is as follows. The universe is a single awareness (universal awareness, “UA”) that has split itself into multiple perspectives or vantage points (VPs) in order to experience relationships. At the beginning, the relationships were very simple and consisted of interactions like away/towards and up/down. We understand these relationships today as the “fundamental particles” – though this label would model them as objects, in contradiction of my model which asserts that relationships are prime and that objects do not actually exist but are “inferred” from the nature of a relationship (so, the relationship simply implies participating objects, rather than separate objects actually “existing”).
The second premise of my cosmological model is that the universal awareness can be identified with any vantage point and while it is identified with that vantage point it appears, to itself, to be a separate experiencer of relationships (even though, on a universal level, those relationships are with itself). So, the universe looks out at itself from a specific vantage point and while doing so it experiences that vantage point as a separate awareness and perspective. It can do this through (probably) infinite numbers of VPs simultaneously, during which it will experience all those VPs as being separate, standalone perspectives.
The third premise is that the UA can “aggregate” many VPs and experience them as a single, coherent VP. (This point is very, very important, because it explains where the perspectives we call “you” and “me” come from.) Perhaps the most illustrative example is that of your “subminds” – your various drives – which aggregate to form a single VP called “your mind”. You have many drives pulling you in all sorts of directions at once but somehow they become aggregated into a single coherent experience called “you”. However this coherent experience can “drop back” to a more base state if one of the subminds becomes louder than the others (at which point the UA will become identified with that submind’s VP). For example, when you are terrified, you become identified solely with the “fear” submind. During this time you are only able to perceive relationships through this perspective, and all relationships become of the simplest type: “away from danger / towards safety”. Your VP has fallen back to that of the most fundamental particles, showing that we are not so far away from quarks and electrons in our behaviours. So, the universal awareness can quite visibly switch between which perspective (VP) it is identified with at any moment. In this sense it is important to realize that there never was a “you”; there was only identification with some vantage point or aggregation of vantage points at a given moment.
As well as devolving to baser vantage points (subminds) within itself, your human mind VP can aggregate with other human minds to form a temporary “master VP” collective mind. For example, if you go to a football game, dress in your team’s colours, sit with your team’s fans, and sing your team’s songs, you aggregate temporarily into a single mind (“your team’s supporters”) through which you experience the “energy” of that crowd (for better or worse, depending on how comfortable you are being absorbed into a mob) and you experience the game together as one entity. The combined expectations of this “supporters’ mind” probably has an effect on the outcome of the game, hence why loser towns have loser teams regardless of how good the players are. The same principle applies to birds of the same type flying in formation; they are able to turn as one (quicker than the time it would take to process the movement of the bird in front, showing it is not “communication” between birds that causes the turn) because they temporarily form a master VP called “the flock” which the UA can experience the relationship of flying through. One factor which determines whether VPs can aggregate is how similar they are to each other, hence why birds of the same type can form a flock, cells of the same type can form an organ, and so forth. This is due to the fractal nature of the universe and we might call it the “similarity principle”.
Your human mind VP can also become temporarily identified with concepts and perceive relationships from the VP of that concept. For example, you can become identified with your culture or country and temporarily perceive relationships through that VP, at which moment you are said to be “nationalist”. I am sure you can think of your own examples (race→racist, gender→sexist and so forth). An interesting thing is that, in the days of polytheism (which is basically another word for paganism), you could pray to, for example, the sun, and become temporarily identified with the sun and therefore gain energy and fire. Deities could be utilized for the purpose of merging with their VP and gaining some of the properties of that VP. This still exists a little today in monotheism, for example merging with Christ to gain “Christ consciousness” (compassion, bliss, love etc.).
To make it clear, in the preceding paragraphs, “your human mind” and “the universal awareness” are one and the same; “your human mind” was always just the universal awareness temporarily identified with a human experience. In more transcendent states however the vantage point seems to broaden beyond that narrow scope. The universe itself appears to be an aggregation of all VPs currently active within itself; in this sense the whole universe is conscious as a kind of master VP, experiencing itself as a whole, complete “oneness” of all things. This overmind (which you might call “God”) can be tuned into via psychedelics, high-emotion experiences, and meditation practices; this experience is known as “nonduality”. I believe it is on the level of the overmind that evolution and magick are decided, which are expressions of the intentions of all VPs fed into the overmind and aggregated.
Now, I will land the plane on my point in this article. One of the main purposes of spirituality is to attempt to gain some sort of acceptable answer to the question, “What happens to me after I die?” If you ask a layperson however, you will tend to get rather unacceptable answers such as heaven/hell duality (monotheists) or oblivion/ end of awareness (atheists). So, if you’re like me, you then turn to someone you trust more to have done the self-inquiry required to come up with a better answer. This is where you find that, infuriatingly, even so-called advanced yogis cannot just answer this question briefly and to the point. For example, Sadhguru is asked this question all the time and waffles without ever giving a concrete answer. The reason, it appears, is because he doesn’t know.
Well, I don’t know either. But I will tell you what my model implies, and this is as follows. Your current experience of “you” is just a vantage point (among infinite) that the universal awareness is currently identified with. We have already demonstrated that that VP itself switches around from moment to moment even within yourself depending on emotional state (i.e. which submind is loudest), with the perception of relationships changing immediately as it does so. Asking where you go when you die is a bit like asking where the fear vantage point goes after the fearful episode is over. It is a meaningless question: the vantage point itself has no substance. What “you” are, then, is not any particular vantage point, but rather you are the awareness that switches between vantage points. You are the universal awareness; Brahman; formless consciousness.
Therefore, when this body dies, the universal awareness will simply switch to a different vantage point or fall back to a broader vantage point. Will it switch to the vantage point of a different living body? Or will it fall back to a broader vantage point and, if so, what would that broader vantage point be? The Earth, life force, kundalini, Gaia? The sun, God, light, silence? The overmind, universe, awareness itself? I have no idea. But I am at least moderately confident that the vantage point will switch to something – i.e. there will always be awareness, since awareness is the core “stuff” of the universe, and you are awareness.
Now that your immortality is confirmed – though you can be sure you will take nothing from this life onwards in your journey – let us discuss what is to be done in the meantime. I have learned from enlightened beings that, through meditation practice (or just good luck), it can become possible to identify with both the individual vantage point (e.g. this body; this experience) and the awareness that switches between vantage points, simultaneously. That means you can be both “whole” and “separate” at the same time, living your life but also connected to everything. This is what we mean when we talk about “going all the way” in our quest for full enlightenment or awakening. Tony Daniels discusses this shedding of both the “dual” and “nondual” modes from 45 minutes onwards in the following video. However, you should watch the whole thing. It is long, but inspiring: