Understanding death: there is no birth or death, just appearance
The body we have now was in fact never born. Understanding death requires us to see that there is no single thing that can be identified as the body. It has constituent parts that are constantly changing. Even conception and the growth of the embryo are not beginning points – they are conditions which have their preceding conditions. The body we have now is not the same as the body that came out of our mother’s womb; it has evolved from it but is not the same, just as a tree is not the same as the seedling it once was. Our present body was not born but is an appearance resulting from preceding and current conditions. This is a point that we really need to meditate on quite deeply.
When the time of what we call death comes, the body will not be the same as it is at this minute. Some prefer to say that it is the body that dies rather than the person, in an acknowledgment that consciousness and the body are not the same. The subject of death is a very profound one, too deep to go into at this point. For our current purpose, it is enough to contemplate the temporary nature of the body and the fact that at death the elements of our physical appearance and structure do not cease to exist – they change into other things, whether that is through rotting in the ground, cremation or some other process. The body and its constituent parts are merely recycled.
What is the point of contemplating like this? Done well, it releases very powerfully much of the tension that comes from the excessive attachment (and sometimes aversion) we have to the body. Releasing that tension allows us to become more in tune with our psychic energy – the dynamism and creativity of our spiritual nature that is beyond time, and beyond death.
From The Art of Not Doing
In memory of Neil Stanley Kirk