If you were to die and have a vision of the Ultimate, what exactly would you see? Some may seek a full awareness of who they are at the deepest level. Others may wish to see God in His fullness. Others seek to know the Truth with a capital T. After spending a great deal of time meditating and reflecting on this topic, I found myself questioning what sort of experience this would be? What sort of knowledge would this be? What sort of emotional feeling would this be?
I found myself thinking about this question after reading a passage from a book containing the teachings of Ramana Maharshi.
God does not reside in any place other than the Heart.
It is due to illusion, caused by the ego, the ‘I am the
body’ idea, that the Kingdom of God is conceived to
be elsewhere. Be sure that the Heart is the kingdom
– Ramana Maharshi
Jesus said the same thing, “The kingdom of God is within you.”
That got me thinking. If God is formless, capable of any appearance, and is also omnipresent within everything, then there is no exclusive appearance that should be exclusively identified as “God”. God created all of that and is beyond any appearance, any thought, or any emotion.
Some envision that when they die and meet God, they’ll enter this beautiful heavenly realm. They’ll be met by some powerful blinding light which beams unconditional love into their soul, gives them a big hug, and tells them how good it is to see them. However, that’s just an experience that will come and go, like any other experience. It’s just a particular state of awareness containing a visual appearance along with emotional feelings. It’s a nice experience, no doubt about it, but God is beyond form, beyond emotion, and beyond thought. He’s supposedly the creator of all these things and beyond them all. It doesn’t seem to me to qualify as an exclusive vision of the Ultimate.
So what are you supposed to see when you’re one with God? When you’re with God? When you’re beside God? Will you sit in empty blank space, in some state of peace? Will you perceive all possibilities simultaneously, in some timeless state? Will you see visions of Jesus, or the Buddah, or Shiva? Once again, those are just forms manifesting within awareness. God is beyond that.
Then I read some of the insightful commentary contained within the book I just mentioned earlier.
Because we limit Ourself, and believe the tiny, unworthy body to be ‘I’, it becomes necessary to think that there is, apart from ‘I’ some glorious and almighty God, living in a wonderful and faraway Kingdom of His own, who creates this vast universe. In truth, however, since soul, world and God all sprout out and appear from ‘I’, the Source, both God and His Kingdom should be known to be Self.
– Sadhu Om
Then it dawned on me that I’m already this observing Self which contains everything. I’m already One with It. This everyday experience of me sitting on my computer, typing this blog entry, that simple experience is just as divine as if Jesus came as a colorful mirage of light over my bed tonight. I’m already experiencing the Ultimate, everyday. Right here, right now.
I continued reading on, and Maharshi, along with the book’s commentary, seemed to read my mind.
Know that you are the perfect, Shining Light which not only makes the existence of God’s Kingdom possible, but also allows it to be seen as a wonderful heaven. To know this alone is Jnana. Therefore, the Kingdom of God is within you.
– Ramana Maharshi
We are taught here that the worlds exist because ‘we’ exist, and that they are known because ‘we’ know our own existence as ‘I am’. In short, our Sat-Chit [Existence-Consciousness] is the cause for the existence of the worlds and for the knowledge about them.
– Sadhu Om
The heavenly vision of Jesus on some throne, along with dancing angels singing His praises is just one of an infinite number of timeless possibilities, all contained within Me. A vision of Buddah is of the same nature. A vision of a blinding light which beams unconditional love, same thing. Just more possibilities which could be manifested within My awareness.
Everything is One, all is already divine, and I’m already seeing the Ultimate. However, I haven’t seen or realized this due to mental confusions of all sorts. The biggest confusion is ego, this feeling and belief that I am some separate independent existence from the Ultimate. I’m not separate from the Ultimate, so there’s no particular experience which fully captures It. The best that can be done is to take a piece of this Ultimate and project it out in front of me, like a movie hologram, and it will be seemingly separate from myself. However, I’m looking at an aspect of Myself and there’s no real separation.
So if I want to see Myself, the Truth with a capital T, what am I to see? There’s no particular thing to see. I’m some sort of observer, which can always stand above any experience of forms, thoughts, or emotions. And even the manifest forms, thoughts, and emotions come out of me. I can experience all of that, but I’m not limited to being exclusively any particular manifestation.
For the one who has obtained the Eye of Self-Knowledge by diving deep within himself, there is no other thing to be seen or known. Why? Because, having lost the wrong knowledge that he is the body-form, he has rightly known himself to be the Formless.
– Ramana Maharshi
I hope all of this makes sense to everybody. This worldview leads to extreme tolerance and love. You want a vision of Jesus and His heaven? Why not. You want to be with Buddha? Sure! You’re a scientist and don’t believe in any of this? Ok. What do you want to see? Planets? Solar systems? Galaxies? Strange worlds with interesting technology? Ok! It’s up to you! Enjoy the experience.
The only real problems arise happen when you falsely identify with what you’re projecting out of you. Then you get caught up in jealousy, hate, anger, alienation, and all the negative suffering we wish to avoid. The world being manifested out of you will only be as beautiful as you are on the inside. I’ll go into that in another post.