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Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 13 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park 3rd September 1977 'What Is Death?'

One has known of thousands of deaths - the death of someone very close or the death of masses through the atomic bomb - Hiroshima and all the horrors that man has perpetrated on other human beings in the name of peace and in the pursuit of ideologies. So, without any ideology, without any conclusion, one asks: What is death? What is the thing that dies - that terminates? One sees that if there is something that is continuous it becomes mechanical. If there is an ending to everything there is a new beginning. If one is afraid then one cannot possibly find out what this immense thing called death is. It must be the most extraordinary thing. To find out what death is one must also enquire into what life is before death. One never does that. One never enquires what living is. Death is inevitable; but what is living? Is this living, this enormous suffering, fear, anxiety, sorrow, and all the rest of it - is this living? Clinging to that one is afraid of death. If one does not know what living is one cannot know what death is - they go together. If one can find out what the full meaning of living is, the totality of living, the wholeness of living, then one is capable of understanding the wholeness of death. But one usually enquires into the meaning of death without enquiring into the meaning of life.

When one asks: What is the meaning of life? - one immediately has conclusions. One says it is this; one gives it a significance according to one's conditioning. If one is an idealist, one gives life an ideological significance; again, according to one's conditioning, according to what one has read and so on. But if one is not giving a particular significance to life, if one is not saying life is this or something else, then one is free, free of ideologies, of systems, political, religious or social. So, before one enquires into the meaning of death one is asking what living is. Is the life one is living, living? The constant struggle with each other? Trying to under- stand each other? Is living according to a book, according to some psychologists, according to some orthodoxy living?

If one banishes all that, totally, then one will begin with "what is". "What is" is that our living has become a tremendous torture, a tremendous battle between human beings, man, woman, neighbour - whether close or far. It is a conflict in which there is occasional freedom to look at the blue sky, to see something lovely and enjoy it and be happy for a while; but the cloud of struggle soon returns. All this we call living; going to church with all the traditional repetition, or the new English repetition, accepting certain ideologies. This is what one calls living and one is so committed to it one accepts it. But discontentment has its significance - real discontent. Discontent is a flame and one suppresses it by childish acts, by momentary satisfactions; but discontent when you let it flower, arise, it burns away everything that is not true.

Can one live a life that is whole, not fragmented? - a life in which thought does not divide as the family, the office, the church, this and that and death so divided off that when it comes one is appalled by it, one is shocked by it so that one's mind is incapable of meeting it because one has not lived a total life.

Death comes and with that one cannot argue; one cannot say: "Wait a few minutes more" - it is there. When it comes, can the mind meet the end of everything while one is living, while one has vitality and energy, while one is full of life? When one's life is not wasted in conflicts and worries one is full of energy, clarity. Death means the ending of all that one knows, of all one's attachments, of one's bank accounts, of all one's attainments - there is a complete ending. Can the mind, while living, meet such a state? Then one will understand the full meaning of what death is. If one clings to the idea of 'me', that me which one believes must continue, the me that is put together by thought, including the me in which one believes there is the higher consciousness, the supreme consciousness, then one will not understand what death is in life.

Thought lives in the known; it is the outcome of the known; if there is not freedom from the known one cannot possibly find out what death is, which is the ending of everything, the physical organism with all its ingrained habits, the identification with the body, with the name, with all the memories it has acquired. One cannot carry it all over when one goes to death. One cannot carry there all one's money; so, in the same way one has to end in life everything that one knows. That means there is absolute aloneness; not loneliness but aloneness, in the sense there is nothing else but that state of mind that is completely whole. Aloneness means all one.

Wholeness of Life

Public Talks And Dialogue

The Wholeness of Life Part II Chapter 13 3rd Public Talk Brockwood Park 3rd September 1977 'What Is Death?'

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