Scientific Proof of the Existence of God Will Soon Be Announced by the White House!
Ego-Death and the Chaos of Experience
A talk by Da Free John
DA FREE JOHN: The concept of ego-death is something that most of you, I am sure, have read about or heard about or considered, and as a result of what you have read or heard or considered, you probably believe that the death of the ego has something to do with the mystical process of “serious” religion. But if you examine the popularized dogmas of mystical religion you will find that they tend to bypass the description of this process of the death of the ego. Popular mysticism is a kind of emotional and bodily enthusiasm through which the individual (and thus the ego) acquires various kinds of experiences that are in the direction of the mind or the non-bodily and “other-worldly” conditions of experience.
Many people today travel around the world popularizing mystical techniques and meditation. Mysticism is “hyped” much like the loony salvation games of popular downtown religion. Fundamentally, popular mysticism invokes the same kind of psychology as popular religion-a kind of enthusiastic believing and attachment to a sect, and to “secret” practices, and, very often, to an individual, and certainly to certain kinds of experiences that are consoling, pleasurable, aid distracting, and that are equated with God.
The phenomena of conventional mysticism belong to the ego itself. They belong to the subtler internal realm of the mind and the nervous system. They arise when our attention is inverted, when we are concentrated inwardly, when we relax and give ourselves up to what we feel within, to the energies within, to the states of mind within. Traditionally, these states of mind are valued as signposts or stages in a process that leads toward more and more profound inner vision and inner experience. From the point of view of conventional mysticism, certain inner experiences are regarded to be of the highest type, and, therefore, they are regarded to be the signs of the highest illumination. Certain internal sounds, certain internal lights, certain internal visions, as well as beliefs that are a kind of internal religion all are valued as the answers to mankind’s search for the Divine Reality. Thus, the conventional religious and mystical experience is attained through egoic or self-meditative seeking. Profoundly distracting internal experience is considered to be an answer to the search provoked by our reaction to mortality, our fear. The process of mysticism, of religious belief and concrete experience in the form of mystical inwardness, is therefore a consolation for our mortal fear.
To the man or woman in doubt of the existence of God, mystical sects offer an alternative to mere concepts and all of the objective mythology of exoteric religious beliefs. Mystical techniques offer inward experiences that satisfy an ordinary need in certain kinds of individuals–a need that can be satisfied in others by belief in “Jesus,” or in the “afterlife.” Conventional religious and mystical phenomena console and mystify the doubting being and the suffering mind. And in the midst of all of this religious and spiritual or mystical enthusiasm, in the midst of all of this consoling “fulfillment” of people who are suffering, there is also the ancient Transcendental Teaching that the realization of Truth or God or true Happiness is a matter of the transcendence of the limited mind and self, or the death of the ego.
People play with the conception of ego-death as if it were an extension of egoic or mystical practices. The common idea is that ego death is a matter of mortifying one’s flesh, doing without things one desires, even obliterating one’s existence. But these are notions of ego-death that the ego itself projects and considers in the midst of its own efforts to survive and to defend itself. The ego is not other than the mind. The ego is the mind – the ego is not contained within the mind. The inner being, the subjective personality, the self-reference, “me,” “I,” is the ego. It is not by consoling one’s inner being with experiences (or states of mind) that one realizes Truth. Rather, it is by the transcendence of the mind, by the death of the “mind, or by the overcoming of the false evaluation of the status of the mind, that the Truth is realized.
Popular religion and mysticism serve the self, or the mind, by providing consoling objects of belief, experience, absorption, attractive states that may seem to fulfill us in the midst of our fear. Ultimately, all psycho-physical experience serves the separate being, the separate psycho-physical person that is “I.” Thus, what is popularly conceived to be God-Realization, or mystical absorption, or true religious belief is only a state of mind (or of the limited body mind), a condition or experience, of the manifest personality Narcissus. Experience, or inwardness is the hedge around Narcissus, the enclosure of the self. The archetype of Narcissus, who avoids the world by gazing into a pond at his own image, is a metaphor for the ego, the independent self-mind. Like the pond, the mind is a reflective mechanism. Therefore, the ego or the self or Narcissus is a reflection, an illusion of independence. To enter into the realm of the mind, to persist in our flight toward subjectivity, our obsessive experience of separate self, is to be possessed of the self, not of God, no matter how profound the inward phenomena may seem to be at any time.
The various states of mystical inwardness have nothing whatsoever to do with God-Realization, absolutely nothing. They are simply experiential states of the separate personality. Mystical experience is promoted as a solution to suffering, as an answer to doubt and fear, just as saviors and popular religious concepts are offered for the same purpose. But the Realization of God or Truth appears, and spontaneously, only in the instant of self-transcendence, or ecstatic annihilation of mind, of inwardness, of self-consciousness, or the reflection of oneself in experience. Ego-death, self transcendence, or the transcendence of the mind, then, is the “narrow gate,” the necessary doorway to the realization of Truth. Thus, the old saw that Truth is within is not true. The Truth is absolutely not within. Within is “me.” Within is the inside of “me.” Conventional mysticism and conventional religion are addressed to our inwardness, because the psyche, the inner being and mind, can feel itself to be separate from the body and the physical environment and all the conditions of mortal existence of which we are afraid, all the conditions that can die.
Ordinary mystics throughout human history have separated themselves from bodily consciousness by withdrawing attention from the body and from relations, becoming more or less ascetic and Concentrated in the brain through various mystical and religious devices of concentration and contemplation and prayer. By detaching themselves from the awareness of the physical, and by entering into the mind itself, such mystics can feel and believe that they are free of the body and of mortality. They see all kinds of abstractions flashing in the nervous system, and the mind explodes into reveries and dreamlike states that seem to take them to other worlds, while glorious and ego-glorifying archetypes come flooding into the conscious mind, detached from physical ,.,sensation. These states traditionally were-and are-regarded to be holy. They were regarded to be the conditions under which God was realized, mortality escaped, and Truth attained. And one who was able to persist in such conditions of internal absorption would participate only minimally and even reluctantly in the daily life of the world until death, at which point he looked forward to going elsewhere, or permanently within. But I must confess that the conventional religious interpretation of mysticism is nonsense. It rests on uninspected believing and the fearful motives of self-protection.
There is an evolutionary mechanism involved in mystical experience, and mystical inversion is a necessary phase in higher human development. But the reflecting mind, and the limited self, and the total functional design of the body-mind of Man must ultimately be transcended, whether or not Man is also perfected.
If we are truly serious about the matter of religion and spiritual practice, we must also be consistently self-critical. Religion and spirituality without self-criticism are merely forms of self protecting enthusiasm, founded on uninspected fear. I have lived the mystical path myself. And I came to the end of it, where ego-death is the price for going further. Therefore, I propose that we consider religion and mysticism from a self-critical point of view.
We are all participants in a vast Realm of Nonsense, and we are struggling to make “sense” of it by attaching ourselves to selected or experientially preferred phenomena, We are confronted by an Infinite Chaos of Experience, and we each try to enforce an order and a limit on Infinity via the self-limiting mechanisms of our own body mind and independent consciousness. We each try to make a “Universe” out of “Chaos” by continually, imagining an- inner being, or mind, or soul that is “I” and that is a fixed and independent center of experience. The inner “I” is the “Principle” to which experience is referred, and it is this self-reference that provides a center and singleness to the otherwise open-ended and centerless chaos- of experiences and possibilities. The “I,” and not phenomena themselves, is the “Principle” whereby the World-Process is made to appear as a defined and logical “Universe.” Then, on the basis of the “I” sense, we exploit our internal and external experiential possibilities in the, “Universe.” But the truth of the matter is that we are terrified by our vulnerable mortality, and the Infinite Chaos of the World-Process is not a Condition into which we tend to be joyfully and ecstatically surrendered.
We are afraid, because we exist, and we observe that our existence can apparently come to an ends, We also observe that our existence can achieve pleasurable distraction. Thus, we are attached to all the ways by which we can make ourselves feel good, and we are afraid of all the ways by which we can suffer and be annihilated. That fear is our fundamental response to existence. It is what produces common religion, mysticism, conventional spirituality, science, popular culture, everyday life, all the ways by which mortals struggle to be satisfied.
The transcendental Teaching of Wisdom or Truth belongs to a different stream of communication than all the “orderly chaos” of conventional secular, religious, mystical, or spiritual consciousness. The Truth is that “I,” whoever speaks it, is the body (or total psycho- physical being), and when “I” am afraid, when “I” contract and withdraw from the conditions in which this body is arising, “I” become self-possessed. “I,” like Narcissus, create the “Universe” by reflection, or reaction to phenomena, and “I” look to be satisfied in my separateness by indulging my preferred possibilities, within and without. Any individual ‘I” can thus create its own known world, its own plan of “salvation,” its own self-serving philosophy, its own closed society, its own program of experiential limits (or allowable distractions and fascinations), and its own “official” Truth. But there is no liberating Truth, no liberation from the fear that is native to self-consciousness, until the inner being or “I” that is created by fear is transcended. Therefore, God-Realization, or liberation in Truth, is most fundamentally a matter of ego-death, or the death of the illusion of the inner consciousness, the separate “I,” the mind of self-centered presumptions and experiential limits.
The popular dogmas of religious, mysticism presume that salvation (or liberation) lies in the exploitation of the inwardness of mind. The popular philosophy is that mind (or knowledge) is the way of salvation, and Truth is within. And the conventional mystic believes that the inner self can and, indeed, must be released from the body. Therefore, he instructs you to invert your attention, to abandon your intimate relationships, to stop all but the most pleasureless eating, to stop having sex, to stop going to work, to stop your enthusiastic play of bodily experience. All of those activities are extremely difficult to sustain, and they are ultimately mortal. Therefore, the conventional mystic advises you to forget about all of that. He advises you to turn within and away, and to begin the inner tour by which you may acquire the self-glamorizing-experiences of independent inwardness. But the truly liberated Man, who has passed through and beyond mysticism, must confess to you that the tour within will only lead you to the illusions of inwardness, or the inheritance of Narcissus. And even though every man and woman must evolve and become a mystic for a time, he or she must at last transcend the mind itself, and the independent inner “I” of all experience.
The “sage,” or the intuitive anti-mystic, carries the process of inversion even further than the mystic, the yogi, or the saint. Just as the mystic suffers revulsion to the body, the “sage” suffers revulsion to the mind as well. Thus, the conventional “sage” not only gives up the body and the pleasure of relations and of eating and sex, but he also gives up the mind, and, by another inward strategy, enters into the silence of the witnessing consciousness (or the “I” prior to all objects of experience). Even so, he does not bring an end to the Chaos of the World-Process. He has merely performed a trick with his attention, so that his experience is limited to Awareness (prior to objects), and he is thus, temporarily, made immune to the universal Life-Process of Changes.
Only the highest type of mystic or sage proceeds beyond mystical and intuitive inversion, to the point of true Ecstasy. And there is no true Ecstasy except in Love. The binding power of self and of all the experiential limits and illusions of the body-mind is transcended only by Ecstasy, or self-transcending Love Communion with the All-Pervading Life-Principle and Transcendental Consciousness in which the “I” is conceived and in which the body mind and the World-Process are always presently arising. Therefore, one must be committed to the fulfillment of all of the lawful or basic functional obligations of one’s humanity. You must responsibly live all of the aspects of your humanity to the point of self-transcendence, or Ecstasy in the Living God. You can set aside responsibility only temporarily, because your inherent structural obligations will inevitably be reborn, recycled, and relearned- n this or in future lifetimes, on Earth or elsewhere. You cannot simply abandon attention to the body and its relations. You cannot merely abandon the mind. Mere abandonment of functions and relations is not liberating, for then the body-mind will simply haunt the inner being, the way a ghost haunts a room. All the functions of body and mind arise in the same Divine Reality, the same Universal Energy, the same Transcendental Self. Therefore, body and mind are transcended only by responsible use in the midst of a life of self-transcending God Communion. Whatever you have not given up, whatever is not absorbed in that Transcendental Love-Communion, remains to distract attention and to cause future experiential bewilderment.
It is true that we must perceive and adapt to the functional activities of this body-mind that are subtler than thinking and talking and eating and sleeping and sexing. All aspects of this body-mind must be inspected, and they must become matters of self transcending responsibility. But the subtler phenomena within the body-mind are not the Truth, nor are they the Way to Realize the Truth any more than the grosser or outer phenomena of the body mind are the Truth or the Way to the Truth. The conditions of this body-mind, gross and subtle, without and within, must be explored, but in that process of inspection they must also be transcended. They must be understood and rightly interpreted to be not the Truth but only the self-bound artifacts of Narcissus. Ultimately, if this process of inspection of all functional and experiential phenomena, without as well as within, is pursued with great intensity, there is the Realization of ego-death, or self-transcendence, or the transcendence of mind and fear. There may be momentary intuitions of the egoless or mindless Reality – there may be approximations of the Transcendental Truth at any point in the evolutionary spiritual process but, ultimately, that Realization must be a simple, tacit, direct, permanent, and absolute transition, beyond the “I” of the body-mind. There is no returning from that Adventure. The illusion of the separate and fixed inner being is utterly destroyed. The transcendence of the inner being, the death of the ego in the universal Life-Principle, is the Way of Truth.
You may have read descriptions of this Event, communicated by people who have passed through it. Ramana Maharshi,2 for instance, clearly described the primary event of his own transformation as a permanent moment of ego-death. In his description of that event, he said that he was suddenly overcome by great fear of death. For no apparent reason, he suddenly became terrified. He suggests that during the half hour or so in which this event occurred, he did something like inquire “Who am I?” (or “What is ‘I’?” or “Where and how does ‘I’ arise?”) in the manner that he recommended years later to people who came to ‘him for spiritual instruction. However, verbal or mental consciousness does not characterize the actual event of ego-death, and no such mental operation could have had any fundamental significance in the actual “ego-death” of Ramana Maharshi. He was simply and suddenly overcome by fear-by absolute, irrevocable, and unavoidable terror.
2. Sri Ramana Maharshi (A.D. 1879-1950) was a great Sage who lived, taught, and radiated the Presence of God among devotees for more than fifty years at Tiruvannamalai, South India. After his own Awakening in September, 1970, Da Free John found esoteric corroboration of his Realization in Maharshi’s Teaching, and in 1973 he enjoyed a living Demonstration of Maharshi’s Realized Presence when he visited the late Sage’s tomb and former place of residence.
He became so terrified that he was unable to make any of the ordinary inward or outward gestures by which we usually make ourselves feel better. He lost his mind! He was too terrified even to create mind, or the self-defense that is conventional inwardness. He lost himself! He was too terrified to become self-possessed. There was simply fear, which is the primary reaction of all individual beings to manifest experience. None of the conventional methods by which we avoid that fear and by which we are consoled and distracted from that fear was possible for him in that great moment of ego-death.
Instead of going within, instead of seeing a vision of Krishna3, instead of believing in Jesus, instead of concentrating on psychophysical states produced by the kundalini, Maharshi became tacitly absorbed in the intuition of the naked Reality that precedes the self contraction (or the conventional result of mortal fear). That intuition, that direct awareness of the Condition in which we ultimately exist, is the very foundation of. God-Realization, or the Realization of Truth.
In The Knee of Listening4, I have described incidents of “madness” and self-transcending fear in my own case, incidents that finally led to a series of events that culminated in irreversible and permanent ego-death, or transcendence of the illusions of mind and the primary ‘illusion of an independent inner self.’ What was significant about those incidents, as in the case of Ramana Maharshi, was that nothing could be done, to allay or diminish fear and the dissolution of mind. And, therefore, the Event of true ego-death was able to occur and to remain as a permanent Condition of all ordinary and future psycho-physical experience.
3. Krishna is an archetype of the incarnation of God in the tradition of Hinduism.
4. Please refer to Da Free John’s autobiography in The Knee of Listening, and also to Part I of The Enlightenment of the Whole Body, for accounts of the incidents of awakening in Da Free John’s life and for a description and interpretation of the culmination of his spiritual adventure in the Vedanta Temple in Los Angeles, California. Thus they must be repeated again and again. Ultimately, through practicing the method or fear-remedy of physical and mental self indulgence, a person degenerates, physically and emotionally and psychologically.
The dilemma of our ordinary state is that we imagine, mistakenly, that there are experiential ways to become free of our chronic and primary fear, and we seek, anxiously and futilely, for such methods or consolations. Most people are not very profound in their seeking. They look for ways to achieve a sense of satisfaction or pleasure through ordinary physical and mental self-indulgence. The consolations of these moments of self-indulgence pass, however, and they are left only with their search.
Others pursue the more “creative” distractions of religious belief and discipline. This form of the search for consolation from fear is, to one or another degree, more profound than the method of gross physical and ordinary mental self-indulgence. Generally, religious people moderate their physical life to varying degrees. At the one extreme is the typical downtown American or European religious person, who does not, in physical or even moral terms, live very differently from the ordinary, self-indulgent, nonbeliever. At the other extreme is the more serious religious person in both Western and Eastern cultures, who does little more than believe in some traditional and inward “answer” that will distract him from fear, but who is, at the level of ordinary, vital life, engaged in uncommon degrees of self-discipline, ranging from unvarying moderation to asceticism. (And there is also a rare class of individuals, whom we award with the title of “saint,” because of their awesome and uncommonly heroic feats of religious commitment, who actually become devoted to the extremes of religious and mystical inversion of attention. Such individuals become profoundly detached from conventional relationships, and the physical world, and all the forms of physical self-indulgence, or even the “natural” gestures toward physical survival, that others consider , be ordinary, normal, and necessary.)
Those who are beginning their religious search in life generally become associated with either common or extraordinary individuals who are practicing one or another traditional “answer” to fear. Thus, through the culture of intimacy with other religious people and even saints, we acquire the traditional habits of religious practice. One can acquire habits from ascetics as well as from drunkards. When you become associated with people, observing them and hearing them communicate, you generally (and even unconsciously) begin to imitate what they appear to be doing, and you tend to believe what they are believing. In this natural cultural manner, you duplicate the experience of others, and eventually you may discover for yourself to what extent such experiences can or cannot distract you from your primary fear.
Whenever you find an experience that significantly distracts you from the anxiety of daily or ordinary fear, that experience tends, at least temporarily, to become your style, your “answer.” But the ordinary mass of acquired habits and beliefs has no power to protect or distract us in extreme moments of naked, primary, and true fear and near-death, when everything that we have done, everything that we have experienced, everything that we have realized, becomes superficial, unavailing, and untrue. Therefore, most people try to keep themselves superficially and perpetually occupied, so that such moments do not occur very often! In fact, most people try to keep any profundity at all from occurring. Thus, we tend automatically to ritualize every aspect of our daily lives, so that we will never in any moment be found incapable of distraction or self-possession. In every moment, we exploit the option of self, of mind, of experience in some form, so that we need not suffer the fundamental fear of annihilation that is native to a separate consciousness. However, this naked and unconsoled fear must and will be experienced, if only somewhere in the midst of death. But if that fear is not met and transcended while we are still alive, there can be no realization of Truth while we are alive.
The profound, ultimate, and necessary process of ego-death or self-transcendence is not rightly understood by the popular mind, even though everyone is deeply afraid, and even though the rare testimony to true and permanent ego-death is openly available in the literatures of esoteric spirituality. The significance of ego death is generally misrepresented, and it has even become a popular religious idea. At one time or another, you have probably entertained the idea of ego-death in your casual thinking. You may have presumed that you were involved in the search for ego-death in your practice of conventional religion and spirituality. And you may even believe you actually attained ego-death in some extraordinary moment or experience of your life. But your idea of ego-death is probably nothing more than a superficial concept (or even a self image!) associated with self-denial or temporary self-transcendence. As a popular idea, ego-death is associated with nothing more than the conventional idea of death itself, or the idea of self-annihilation and the ending of experience. The obvious end phenomenon of a long process of self-denial is death, or self-frustration to the point of emptiness. Thus, ordinary death, ordinary suffering, and self- deprivation characterize both the popular and the professional mystical understanding of ego-death.
The ego, the self, the “I” who is pursuing Truth, consolation, and liberating experience, can manipulate its experience in all kinds of ways, but it cannot bring itself to an end thereby. The ego has no intention of bringing itself to an end. Ego-death is not the result of something that the ego can do to itself. The death of the ego is the cessation of self-possession, the end of the gesture of loveless contraction, and the gesture of fear, the gesture of self-meditation, the gesture of the entire way of life that creates “me” and inwardness and “my experience” and “my Truth” and “my God,” “my religion,” “my mysticism.
The death of the ego coincides with the spontaneous a confession “I am the body.” “Egolessness” is in the ecstatic bodily confession of Love-Communion with the Life-Principle. It is the beginning of real existence, the self-transcending Event of true incarnation, the sheer, naked, mindless, bodily birth into Infinity. “Egolessness” (or identification with the Transcendental Self of the Life-Principle) is always already the case-even at the origin of our experience, over time and in this moment, but we have betrayed and abandoned that naked and simple principle out of fear. We lose our “innocence” in the midst of suffering, and thus we come to notice that the bodily “I” can die. As .a result, we create a surrogate self, the inner self, the mind, the subjective being with its eternal history, the immune and immortal soul. We embark upon the looking-glass adventure of the inner self, Narcissus in flight from death and all relationships, until at last we realize ego-death, the death of the mind, and return to our original existence as the body.
The fulfillment of that process of return to Reality (or Love) can occupy one moment or many years. It can be accomplished in one lifetime or in many lifetimes. In the physics of things, this separate personality, this inner “I,” this mind or soul, is made of subtler aspects of the Energy that is manifesting as the total psycho-physical body, and so it continues to exist even after the physical body dies.
Thus, mere physical death is not liberating, and it is not the end of the illusory tour of the inner or independent and exclusive self. The illusions with which we are possessed up to the moment of physical death persist as experience even after death, and we resume our looking-glass tour in the physical realm as soon as we can become associated with another physical body, in another birth, in this or some other world.
The compulsive cycle of deluded lifetimes is nonsense. Our seemingly “fulfilling” experiences arise out of the Chaos of Infinity. We make an orderly universe out of our experience by means of the centralizing principle of self-possession, and thus the unenlightened life seems somehow to make sense. If you hold up a finger in a windstorm, all the elements seem to be revolving around it. But if you withdraw the finger, the universe returns to chaos, because there is no center for the whirling.
The transition or Way from ordinary self-consciousness to awakened bodily consciousness (or Enlightenment by the Living Transcendental Identity) is fear. We cannot avoid it. Ultimately, everyone must make that transition back through feat – “to the original Situation of born existence. The Way through fear is not a matter of watching one’s fear, or performing some self-manipulative technique while being afraid. Nor is it merely a matter of being psychotically terrified, of merely being “me” and afraid. Rather, ego-death is a matter of actually passing through and beyond the gesture of fear, even beyond all of the gestures that one is equipped to make in order to be free of fear and distracted from fear. In short, one must pass through all the distractions of mind and become only the body, with pure attention in the Presence of Life. One must be perfectly converted from fear to Love.
There is no Enlightenment, no evolutionary entrance into the truly Spiritual Condition of human existence, without ego-death, or transcendence of the mind. There must be the literal death of the separate and separative consciousness. In this moment, you are holding on to your sense of separate consciousness as if it were something tangible and material. You possess yourself through a great contraction of body and psyche. By virtue of this gesture, you have become rigid, mediocre, deluded, relatively loveless, self possessed, and isolated. To be without an inner consciousness is, for you, unthinkable. To be incapable of feeling yourself as a separate consciousness is, for you, a terrifying prospect. Nevertheless, that is precisely the realization with which you must become completely comfortable.
There is no “drama” associated with the ultimate realization of Divine Reality. The consciousness is simply different, from that moment onward. One’s true consciousness is identical to the Divine Self, or the Identity of Life. The Divine is the actual Identity of the “inner self,” and the Divine or Transcendental Life-Consciousness is what the total bodily being realizes itself to be in the instant of ego death, just as in the previous moment of conventional awareness one presumed quite naturally the limitations of egoic consciousness. This passage through fear, this process of ego-death, is the necessary transition between the conventional higher consciousness of the mystical brain-mind and the paradoxical Enlightenment of the seventh stage of life (or the ultimate process of the Transfiguration and Translation of the bodily being).
The Transcendental Self is not within the body. The body arises in the Transcendental Self, or the Life-Principle. The Transcendental Self is not the inward self that is felt to move and, perceive and think, but the All-Pervading Consciousness, the Heart of Radiant Life and Love, even prior to the body-mind of Man. Thus, while we are yet seeking within ourselves for Happiness, Truth, Life, and God, we have not yet realized God, or the Transcendental Self. It is only when we overcome the recoil toward inwardness that we realize the Identity and the Living God in Whom the body and the world are arising. Therefore, in the ultimate or seventh stage of the process of God-Realization, the Transcendental Self, the Heart, stands bodily as Man. The body is not then felt to define existence as a soul or separate mindless Communion with the Living Divine Reality. All the inhibitions to Love or Radiance are naturally dissolved, and even the body becomes more and more profoundly transformed, or Transfigured, by That Light.
Ultimately, then, the body disintegrates, dissolves, falls, or yields in the Light of Life, and the transcendence of the body in the Light, Life, Love, and Consciousness of Real God is the culmination of the seven stages of Man. However, if the body dies before the mind, the lesser evolutionary stages of Man continue to arise in the form of the school of experience. It is only after ego-death, or the transcendence of the mind, that the highest stage of human existence begins, and that is the stage in which the body dissolves or yields to Love and Light while alive. The body is, therefore, not truly consciousness. The body is felt to be in simple, absolute, most direct Communion with the Infinite Radiance or Light of the Transcendental Self. The body exists in perfect, direct, selfless, transcended until the seventh stage of life, when the inner self or ego is realized to be the body-only, and when there is already no illusion of separate existence, separate mind, independent inwardness, or defined soul.
The fulfillment of the process of the seventh stage of life is not necessarily demonstrated by an extraordinary and miraculous disappearance of the physical body. Such a phenomenon may very well occur in some cases, and it may become more and more common among Adepts as the centuries pass, but one can enjoy and demonstrate the Transfigured Enlightenment of the whole body in the seventh stage of life and yet remain naturally or bodily alive. Such an individual can likewise die an apparently natural or ordinary death. The body need not disintegrate into Light at death. It disintegrates in any case at the point of death, except that in the case of natural or ordinary death that disintegration takes place gradually, via the natural organic cycle. In the seventh stage, the body-mind as a whole is given up in the Infinite Radiance of God, the “Transcendental Room” in which the entire world is now sitting. There is no mind, no subjective being that is the Principle of Existence. Even the body is not the Principle of Life. The Radiant Transcendental Life Consciousness, the Living God, is the Principle and the ultimate Domain of the world. But the body is the Way to Life. The whole body (or body-mind) is the necessary vehicle of the process of Enlightenment. Therefore, we must “‘be surrendered, body and mind, into the Divine Radiance, prior to fear, prior to separate consciousness, prior to all knowledge, prior to all of our reluctance to be foolish and to love. We must surrender to the point of Ecstasy in this Chaos of joy.
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