Unit 2: Dissolving the Self
Topics: Life after death?, the Soul, the Witness, sacrament, devotion, meditation
In this session I begin by asking, from various angles, “What happens to us after we die?” Orland is a bit evasive because, as he eventually reveals, knowledge of this kind is kept secret for a very good reason. He is again vague about exactly what this reason is, but I know part of it is that the full experience of most of the life-paths required in our current age hinges on the perception of mortality. A wall of separation is required between the earth realm and other realms.
Given that, Orland is careful to offer knowledge whose application is independent of what happens after we die. I’ll pull a couple things for special attention. First is the idea that the soul, upon leaving the body, enters the earth and delivers to it all the learning from that lifetime, all that it experienced. Interacting with the being of the earth, the soul of the departed can also transmit the earth’s wisdom to those who knew her.
What persists after death? Is there still a subject, a self? Orland says there is a witness, the same witnessing function that we exercise in life. I think Orland is also saying that because human witnessing is distinct from the witnessing of other beings, humans contribute something unique to the development of the planet merely by being here and living out our life stories.
A second important teaching here is the idea to source life forces beyond those inherited from the body; to be in a sense not limited by the body. That reduces attachment to the body and thus the fear of death. It also brings more understanding, vitality, and empathy. Therefore, Orland says, “It is critical to experience thinking free of the brain, feelings free of the emotions, and perceptions free of the body.”
To access these, we go to the second segment of this unit, in which Orland talks about sacrifice, love, and meditation. The ideal for the human, he says, is “I’m willing to be less of me that you may become more of you.” Less of me means the stripping away or the sacrifice of that which is not really me anyway, of that which is not permanent, that which must die.
To what do we give our bodies, our selves? That is a choice. We give them to what we hold sacred. Orland advocates making each other sacred; thus our bodies, our life forces, become a sacrament. And, he explains, this does not deplete us: “The more I give love, the more love is created; the more I give devotion, the more devotion is created. The higher forces of the human being, the more we give it away, the more it comes into being.” This seems contrary to the logic of materiality, but it is the law of higher realms.
Orland suggests a practice of meditation around dissolving the self, which is a practice not only for life but also for what comes thereafter. After all, he says, at some point we all must give away our thoughts, our feelings, and our bodies. That doesn’t mean we should stop using these faculties, but we need not imagine that we can hold onto them forever.
This session has a lot of subtle metaphysical information, yet the practice Orland offers is quite straightforward. “I dissolve myself.” Give it a try – you don’t even have to understand it for it to work. Just sit and do it. You will know what it means as you do it. The things that you hold together as an identity will come up for examination, and you can let them go. Don’t worry – they’ll come back as needed. You won’t die. Well, in a sense you will. You will become less and through that you will become more. Try this practice, if you dare.
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