QUESTION: Here is a separate question. I briefly saw the title of an article that suggested that science had proved that when we die our consciousness moves on to a different universe. Perhaps parallel. What do you think? What implications does such an idea have?
Jay: I’m not overly concerned about consciousness. I used to feel that’s what I was – my consciousness – and I didn’t want it to end.
But through careful observation and still listening it has become clear to me that consciousness is the smallest part of who I am. It has become clear that life is a living thing that is vast and does not depend on my – or anyone’s – consciousness.
Consciousness is a useful and sometimes beautiful expression of life but it comes and goes. Life itself – the wholeness of things – doesn’t come and go.
This is my experience, not a philosophy. Usually our experience feels very different than this. We usually feel very limited, isolated, and in danger of being changed or destroyed by life. We tend to live in our consciousness – our thoughts and story – because it seems safe.
Questioning this and beginning to look more carefully and listen more deeply is what meditative work is about. We do it because our usual way of living is very often unhappy, fearful, and isolated. We also do it because some people who have looked carefully confirm that in us that knows that the way we usually see things is not the way things really are.
But we have to do this exploration ourselves in order to discover the simple wholeness of life.
I know that’s not exactly what you were asking but it’s my honest response.