I have heard you say that if we lose consciousness—through fear—at the point of death we re-enter the circle of birth and death. Is witnessing all we can do at this crucial moment or is there any specific technique?
Maneesha, there is nothing except witnessing, and witnessing is not a technique.
Witnessing is your nature, your very nature. You are nothing but witnessing.
Witnessing is the purest consciousness.
And it is not only fear that makes you unconscious. Fear is only one element. When you are dying, it is not only fear that makes you unconscious; you already have too much unconsciousness – fear only takes away the thin layer of consciousness. One-tenth is conscious, nine-tenths is unconscious. Fear takes away the thin layer of consciousness and you are drowned in your own unconsciousness. It is so deep. It does not come from outside.
In meditation, when you are witnessing, you are by and by, without your knowing it, dispelling unconsciousness. You are becoming more and more conscious. The thin layer of consciousness becomes thicker and thicker and thicker, and a moment comes when your whole being is full of consciousness. This is witnessing.
So when death comes, you witness death. When life was there, you witnessed life. It is nothing new: death is only an object, just as life was an object. If you have learned how to witness, there is no question of being afraid. You will be a witness in your death too.
And if you are a witness in your death, you will never be born again into any other prison of the body. […]
Maneesha, there is no technique as such. Your being, your consciousness, has to transform all the dark corners inside you. The light has to reach into every nook and corner.
That’s what we call meditation.
Witnessing penetrates to every nook and corner – slowly slowly, all darkness, all unconsciousness disappears. And if you die consciously, witnessing death, you are freed from the imprisonment of the birth and death circle. Then you can melt into the cosmic whole, into absolute silence, into great ecstasy. That is the only authentic religiousness.
Excerpt from Yakusan: Straight to the Point of Enlightenment, Discourse #2
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