A few weeks ago I saw a video of myself some fifteen years ago. I was conscious of the fact that I had no identification whatsoever with the image on the screen. I was not entirely surprised because I had been contemplating many years on the insubstantial actuality of the person. This viewing was an unasked for confirmation that I no longer identified with the body mind. I did not identify in the least with the person on the screen, nor with the apparent person watching the video.
I was conscious of the fact that I no longer had the same ideas or beliefs as the person in the video. Nor did I believe that the person watching the video would be the same person a week from today. It was similar to my feeling that my children were not mine, but belonged to life.
If was fitting that in the video I was giving a talk at my father's memorial service. The main thrust of my talk was that my father tried to make me in his own image, but that I, and my brothers and sisters belonged to life, and not to him.
My Father was an authoritarian, and his religion was authoritarian. He loved us through that prism. But the effect was not loving. He failed to know that we belonged to ourselves and to a higher power of our own understanding.
I know for certain that this body-mind is an ephemeral thing, impermanent. It came and it will go, as all of us do. Our extinction is not a thought we love, since it places us on shaky ground. We all have a sneaky suspicion that we should be eternal. Where does this suspicion come from? Is there some missing truth?
We have a nagging question, as the song says, "Is this all there is? Something knows there is more to the story than the story. What is That?
That is what the non dual sages of ancient India revealed in their Advaita Vedanta. It is what the Christian mystics saw in their revelations. Meister Eckart, a Christian mystic said, 'The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God's eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing."
In ancient India the sages taught in the forest, and they taught only the qualified. They were wary of the public that would not understand and cause them trouble. Christian mystics were burned at the stake, and Meister Eckart was tried as a heretic by Pope John XXII and died before the verdict.
Today, non duality is taught in the open. We are lucky to be alive in this day and age where this is so. If you find your way to this teaching and come to this understanding, you realize that our desire for eternal life is not unfounded.
However, as the sages say, "Die before you die." This refers to seeing the person as an appearance, an aspect of something greater. That greater being is what we are, and That does not come and go.