When this body dies, everything that this body has participated in disappears from view, dissolves like waves subsiding back into the sea, or evaporates like a dew drop in the morning sun. The Heart Sutra reminds us, “No eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body …” It then says, “no mind.” That mind is the one of complexity, the one entangled in eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, loves, dislikes, pressure and stress, deadlines, family, striving, accomplishing, and not accomplishing. However, that mind is also naught in the end because it is not as the “me” has experienced it.
Though we have had countless lives in various forms and locations and epochs of history, each lifetime we begin freshly: new habits of consciousness, appetites for food and companionship or solitude, plus a fresh sense of familiarity with some things, some knowings, some people. That familiarity is Awareness; the appetites are habits of emotion-body. The consciousness is also a set of habits but these are generated fundamentally from the sense of self, the belief in a me, the conviction that I actually do exist.
What exists and what is existence is for each person to contemplate and discover should one choose. Upon the death of the body, however, everything that this body has participated in is not transferable into the after-death states. Money, status, holding hands, the alcohol stash or chocolate stash will all fade like darkness does at dawn.
It has been an honor of this life for me to assist people during dying and through the transition of death. Dying is often about tidiness of affairs, discussions about big things, peace of mind and heart, love and acceptance. Death and the journey of light through the bardos is just that: a journey of light through stages of awareness.
If someone has done harm to others repeatedly, then the light is shocking, horrendous, and from it there is no escape. The evil they have done glaringly envelopes them. In that experience, that “soul” knows that the selfishness that drove and the denial that allowed harmfulness to continue must be addressed. Karma is the flawless mechanism for that. Seed and fruit.
For the person of good heart, which is the vast majority of humanity, the light is warm, joyous, often can be heard as well as felt, and envelopes one in loving peace that literally moves one along to greater light. Light is the first bardo, no matter who you are or what kind of life you have led.
One’s ongoing state of mind is also a spectrum of light. Doubt is a low vibration within the spectrum, stress even lower, anger and hatred lower still. Generosity, kindness, sincerity, are bright. Genuine listening, empathy, sympathy, and respect are a sustained luminosity. Inventiveness, problem solving predicated upon wisdom and compassion for the variety of needs to be met, and ingenuity are bright but also must be sustained. Essentially, a person is a light-being which is why there are auras and chakric centers for clairvoyants to see, and why all people experience light with entering death.
This is also why our ongoing states of mind are important; and why it is vital to get to know one’s mind with all its sub-parts. Emotions, feelings, mechanisms of sensation, intuition, creativeness, obsessiveness, empathetic ability, reasoning, wisdom and compassion all of these and more are the collection that is lumped under the category of mind. In addition to that, there is MIND, Awareness, bodhi-mind; and these “two” are present simultaneously. We are, by nature, non-dual.
We meditate on and with “this mind.”