Burt I guess my question/comment is that people that have had NDE (Near Death Experiences) always talk about keeping their "memory" and ability to remember who they are and recognize loved ones and all that. Do you really think you a person keeps that? According to Eckart Tolle and other spiritual teachers that is all gone. What do you think?
This confusion is understandable to the novice since NDE research seems to contradict advaita teachings. Both are correct from their vantage point. The key is in the viewpoint. The average person believes in his separate reality and therefore lives as if in a dream. Thus, since this world is quite real to the average individual then the transition called 'death' would carry greater promise of freedom. NDE research, although valid, expresses the experiences of ordinary consciousness wherein one meets loved ones and recognizes that he/she is still alive either in astral or ethereal form and so on.
The teachings of advaita focuses, on the other hand, on the Reality of Oneness. There is only one 'I' and 99% of the time it is identified as the personal ego self. When this 'I' is explored through a sincere drive to know the truth by asking "who am I?" then this 'I' felt-sense of individuality expands because there is no answer to the question.
In other words, there is no ego 'I' to reply to such a question. This non-answer to the question, when humbly accepted, opens up a whole new way of seeing. This opening happens because we begin to see that there is no person who can answer the question "who am I?" It sees that everyone is the same beyond the form. And, since everyone is the same then there is only One 'I' appearing in every human form on earth as an individual personal 'I'.
In other words, there are over 6 billion humans on this earth but there is only one 'I' that seems to split itself into billions. Each form, miraculously, feels that this 'I' felt-sense is me, personally (called ego). Beneath the physical form we are all the same 'I'. In Reality, therefore, the seeming personal is really the Cosmic Self. And, here is where we start to understand and see the world as the creation of mind. When 'death' occurs to such a one that has realized his/her oneness then the transition is 'as if' nothing happened. To such a one there is only the eternal NOW that doesn't change one iota after the death of the form.
When we believe that life here on earth is Reality rather than a creation of mind, then at transition (physical death) we continue the same dream but in a different dynamic. We feel freer, more alive and create simultaneous manifestations through thought alone.
At this point we see how the world we experienced was but the creation of thought. The illusion of personal self continues because the soul might not have realized its fullness of spirit yet as Oneness. Therefore we might choose to reincarnate in order to learn more about who we really are. A physical form is essential to recognize 'that' which makes it seem real.
If you have realized that daily worldly life is a dream then even the word 'death' is inconsequential. I had my first experience through an out-of-body episode where all my faculties, memory and senses were intact.
Fear of death exists because we believe we are the body whereas in truth we are a soul inhabiting a form. It is the soul that gives life to the form. A soul is like a holographic image of the Spirit. A soul seems to have its journey and learning curve whereas the Spirit is perfect and always here-now eternally beyond beginning or end.
As a hypnotherapist I have been able to help people recall past life traumas to clear present day problems and fears. It is interesting to note that all fears stem from one primal fear -- the fear of ego death. The scriptures point out that there is only one death, which is ego-death. Once it takes place there is no longer any death but eternal life in heaven (joy).
The fear of death, which is prevalent among unawakened souls, brings with it nagging fears, insecurities, stresses, anxieties and other negative problems. We can see this nagging fear in modern loud metal music, sexual addictions, pornography, masturbating, drinking and partying and so on. This frenzy is a way to block the mind from feeling its subtle fear. It focuses its energy 'out there' so that it doesn't have to look deep within. In other words, due to this fear, we make an attempt at 'trying' to live rather than truly living in inner peace and freedom. This is a common compensation for the unconscious fear of death.
Master Yada said in the book "Yada Speaks, "The consciousness awakens when it discovers that death is an illusion and then move from the physical to the Light that we are. This is the sole reason for being here on earth."
The average seeker finds comfort in NDE research and that's very good. It gives greater courage to face the inevitable. However, the fear of death is transcended through 'forgiveness' -- forgiving ourselves for every thought we give to the body and past and allowing ourselves to see how everyone is the same as you. This love from recognizing others as yourself plus forgiveness eventually brings us to the recognition of the eternal NOW!
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