Entering into Death
Shiva said: Focus on fire rising through your form, from the toes up, until the body burns to ashes but not you.
emember, whether you are afraid or not, death is the only certainty. In life, nothing is certain except death.
Everything is uncertain; only death is a certainty. All else is accidental it can happen, it may not happen only death is not accidental. And look at the human mind. We always talk about death as if it is an accident. Whenever someone dies we say his death was untimely. Whenever someone dies we start talking as if it has been an accident. Only death is not an accident only death. Everything else is accidental. Death is absolutely certain. You have to die.
And when I say you have to die, it seems in the future, very far away. It is not so you have already died. The moment you were born, you died. With birth, death has become a fixed phenomenon. One part of it has already happened the birth; now only the second, later part has to happen. So you are already dead, half-dead, because once one is born, one has come into the realm of death, entered into it. Now nothing can change it, now there is no way to change it. You have entered into it. You are half-dead with birth. Secondly: death is not going to happen in the end; it is already happening. It is a process. We create the dualism but life and death are just like your two feet, your two legs. Life and death are both one process. You are dying every moment.
Let me put it this way: whenever you inhale, it is life, and whenever you exhale, it is death.
Try one experiment. The whole day, whenever you remember, exhale deeply and dont inhale. Allow the body to inhale; you simply exhale deeply. You will feel a deep peace, because death is peace, death is silence. And if you can pay attention, more attention, to exhalation, you will feel egoless. With inhalation you will feel more egotistic; with exhalation you will feel more egoless. Pay more attention to exhalation. The whole day, whenever you remember, exhale deeply and dont inhale. Allow the body to inhale; you dont do anything.
This emphasis on exhalation will help you very much to do this experiment, because you will be ready to die. A readiness is needed, otherwise the technique will not be of much help. And you can be ready only if you have tasted death in a certain way. Exhale deeply and you will have a taste of it. It is beautiful. Death is just beautiful, because nothing is like death so silent, so relaxing, so calm, so unperturbed. But we are afraid of death. And why are we afraid of death? Why is there so much fear of death? We are afraid of death not because of death because we dont know it. How can you be afraid of something you have never encountered? How can you be afraid of something that you dont know? At least you must know it to be afraid of it. So really you are not afraid of death; the fear is something else. You have never really lived that creates the fear of death.
The fear comes because you are not living, so you are afraid I have not lived yet, and if death happens, then what? Unfulfilled, unlived, I will die. The fear of death comes only to those who are not really alive. If you are alive, you will welcome death. Then there is no fear. You have known life; now you would like to know death also. But we are so afraid of life itself that we have not known it, we have not entered deep into it. That creates the fear of death.
If you want to enter this technique you must be aware of this deep fear. And this deep fear must be thrown away, purged, only then can you enter the technique. This will help: pay more attention to exhalation. The whole day you will feel relaxed, and an inner silence will be created.
You can deepen this feeling more if you do another experiment. Just exhale deeply for fifteen minutes a day. Sit in a chair or on the ground, exhale deeply, and while exhaling close the eyes. When the air goes out, you go in. And then allow the body to inhale, and when the air goes in, open the eyes and you go out. It is just the opposite: when the air goes out, you go in; when the air goes in, you go out.
When you exhale, space is created within, because breath is life. When you exhale deeply, you are vacant, life has gone out. In a way you are dead, for a moment you are dead. In that silence of death, enter within. Air is moving out; you close your eyes and move within. The space is there and you can move easily.
Before doing the following technique, do this experiment for fifteen minutes so that you are ready not only ready, but welcoming, receptive. The fear of death is not there, because now death appears like relaxation, death appears like a deep rest.
Just lie down. First conceive of yourself as death; the body is just like a corpse. Lie down, and then bring your attention to the toes. With closed eyes move inward. Bring your attention to the toes and feel that the fire is rising from there upward, everything is being burned. As the fire rises, your body is disappearing. Start from the toes and move upwards.
Why start from the toes? It will be easier, because the toes are very far away from your I, from your ego. Your ego exists in the head. You cannot start from the head, it will be very difficult, so start from the faraway point the toes are the most faraway point from the ego. Start the fire from there. Feel that the toes are burned, only ashes remain, and then move slowly, burning everything that the fire comes across. Every part, the legs, the thighs, will disappear.
Just go on seeing that they have become ashes. The fire is rising upward, and the parts it has passed are no longer there; they have become ashes. Go on upward, and lastly the head disappears. You will remain just a watcher on the hill. The body will be there dead, burned, ashes and you will be the watcher, you will be the witness. This witness has no ego.
This technique is very good to reach the egoless state. Why? because so many things are implied in it. It appears simple; it is not so simple. The inner mechanism is very complex. First thing: your memories are part of your body. Memory is matter; thats why it can be recorded it is recorded in the brain cells. They are material, part of the body. Your brain cells can be operated on, and if certain brain cells are removed, certain memories will disappear from you.
Remember, this is the point to understand: if the memory is still there, then the body remains and you have been playing tricks. If you go really deep into feeling that the body is dead, burning, and the fire has completely destroyed it, you will not have any memory in that moment. In that moment of watching, there will be no mind. Everything will have stopped no movement of thought, just watching, just seeing what has happened.
And once you know this, you can remain in this state continuously. Once you have known that you can separate yourself from the body this technique is just a method to separate yourself from the body, just to create a gap between you and the body, just for a few moments to be out of the body. If you can do this, then you can remain in the body and you will not be in the body. You can go on living as you were living before, but you will not be the same again.
This technique will take at least three months. Go on doing it. It is not going to happen in one day, but if you go on doing it for one hour every day, within three months, one day suddenly your imagination will have helped and the gap will be created, and you will actually see the body gone to ashes. Then you can watch.
In that watching you will realize a deep phenomenon that the ego is a false entity. It was there because you were identified with the body, with the thoughts, with the mind. You are neither neither the mind nor the body. You are different from all that surrounds you; you are different from your periphery.
excerpted from Meditation the First and Last Freedom