RAJ: Good Morning.
QUESTION: Specifically one of the things that you had mentioned briefly on a few tapes has been the idea that we could possibly live to be 500 or 1,000 years old. And I have been involved and studied such subjects as physical immortality. And we talk about Awakening… I still get the feeling that people think of what happens when we Awaken would be that we would go through the traditional idea of what death looks like. In other words, that this body would be left behind to where it would be buried by those who are looking at that body, as opposed to the possibility that we do not leave that discarded form. And I think we would all like some clarity on those ideas.
ANSWER: Well, let me begin by saying that death is abnormal. The focus of attention shouldn’t really be on living 500 years or 1,000 years, or 10,000 years. The focus really should be on living fully now. However, if you will all begin to consider what I am telling you is a fact—that death is abnormal—then that becomes something just like disease, which needs to be healed, the belief in the necessity of dying needs to be healed. And the way healing occurs is always a matter of a shift of consciousness.
So, instead of seeking immortality—because you are already all immortal—I encourage you to seek the fullness of the experience of Life now. If death isn’t inevitable, and if it isn’t the stepping-stone to enlightenment, then that will change how you exist in the moment, because you won’t be able to say, "Well, when I die, I’ll go to heaven, so, if I dally a little bit longer in ignorance, big deal!"
If death isn’t the stepping-stone to anything, and if it is unnatural, then that really puts the focus of your Awakening—the focus of any fullness of life that you would look to in the hereafter—in the now, which is where it has needed to be all along. You need to approach today as though today is the day to wake up!
If there’s no single event in the future which is going to thrust you into enlightenment, then there’s nothing to wait for in the future. Therefore, if you want to experience improvement, you’re going to have to give your attention to improvement in the moment you’re living. And that’s what we’ve been talking about all weekend—how to improve the moment in which you are living. And the way to improve the moment in which you are living is through love.
You can’t say, "Well, in the sweet bye and bye my difficult husband will wake up, and so if I delay loving him until then, I’ll be able to love him then." If, in the sweet bye and bye, he is not going to be enlightened because of the fact that the "bye and bye" has arrived, then your delay in loving him, or in loving each other, is a complete waste of time—time that should have been spent having an object of your affection, and caring enough about him or your fellow man to hang in there with him with the intent to look at him with innocent eyes, nondefensively. Why? So that you might be the presence of Love which is transformational and which makes it easier for your brother to realize he doesn’t need to maintain his defenses any longer and can allow for a shift in him.
So, forever you have been. Forever you have existed—your life didn’t start a certain number of years ago, here. And forever you will be. So, you are already as eternal as you will ever be. You are at this instant Eternal Beings.
Remind yourself of that every morning when you wake up. Remind yourself of it because you have forgotten, and you believe that you aren’t. You need that little jog of your memory: "I am already eternal."
Well, if you’re already eternal, then eternality isn’t something for you to achieve, it’s something for you to start embodying, by being now in a new way.
So, here’s another apple cart that’s overturned. And the apple cart that’s overturned is that you will somehow automatically, through an event called death, be transformed. You won’t be. You won’t be transformed. You won’t experience transformation until, right now; you begin to behave like what you Are, instead of delaying it by saying, "Well, this is all an illusion." Or, "My soul is inhabiting a material body, and this body is a real impediment to my experience of my spirituality. All I can do is make the best of it until I drop this body. And thank God that I have spiritual truths to make this strenuous journey more pleasant!"
Can you see that all that means is that Eternal Beings are imagining that they are not eternal? That Christs, whose visibility and tangibility identifies the presence of God, are saying, "I have a soul that is different from my body, and my body keeps my Christ-hood from showing, and I’m stuck with that. But, you know what? I’ll think loving thoughts, and I’ll smile loving smiles, and I will behave as though I am the Christ, even though we all know I’m not. The best I can do in this lifetime is be Christ-like—use good manners, not be unpleasant with my neighbor…"
But you are the Christ, and what you’re experiencing is the Kingdom of Heaven, and you already are eternal. So, at the bottom line, if you’re experiencing anything different from that right now, all you’re experiencing is a bunch of ideas which are contrary to the Truth, which you are believing and holding yourself to. And you’re all just being a bunch of actors! You’re being the Christ, acting like a "mortal."
Now, if death is unnatural, and if it is an illusion—and I tell you that it is an illusion—and if it isn’t the stepping-stone to enlightenment, then you’re stuck with the obligation to stop being Christ-like, and start being the Christ that you Are.
As I’ve been saying since the beginning of this Gathering, that isn’t always easy, because you’re so committed to your imaginative sense of who you are, and you all have created little rules of the "game of being mortal." It’s like the old game, "Let’s Pretend," except now you believe your pretensions. And you have all agreed to bind each other to those pretensions, because the game is so stimulating, even though it scares you to death. Scares you to death? (Raj was making a fun and had to repeat it in a question to get the audience to laugh.)
What is Love? It’s you, remembering that you’re the Christ, and reminding your brother and sister that he and she are the Christ, and neglecting to play the game of mortal humanhood any longer. And when you remember that you’re the Christ, the manner in which you will remind your brothers and sisters that they are the Christ will not be in the old way that you, as an ego, tried to teach each other something. It will be through an expression of tenderness, compassion, patience, and love. When you say, "no," it will not be a judgment, but a simple statement of fact, stating your position, and it will not be heard as a put-down or as a judgment. You will not lose your integrity in the process. And this is the way you uncover the eternal life which you are incapable of having an experience different from.
You are incapable of successfully having an experience different from eternal life. That means that you are experiencing your eternality at this very moment, even though you’ve imagined that it is a moment in a span of years that began at birth and will end at death.
The way the illusion of birth and death will be undone is when you begin to acknowledge your eternality now, and begin to behave on the basis of what that really means—that it isn’t an achievement which is going to occur in the future, and it’s not a gift which will be bestowed upon you by God when you have finally earned it.
If the gift has already been given to you and you’re not experiencing it, it means you haven’t opened the gift. Does that state it clearly? So, what are you faced with? Nothing but opening the gift and receiving it. But, if you imagine that it’s a gift which will be given next Christmas, or next lifetime—even though it has been given—you won’t touch it. And so, that’s why I’m telling you, the gift is in your face! It is already the fact about you. Contemplate what that means, and see what changes that brings to the way in which you live the moment you’re in.
If there’s not a prize at the end of the road, and if you were going for a prize at the end of the road, now what you do in the road, right where you are will change. If being where you are on the road isn’t a part of getting to the prize, then either life at this point in the road is totally meaningless or the fact is that it’s totally Meaningful, and it needs to be taken hold of in its fullness today—here at Asilomar, in those chairs or wherever you are when you get home. The fullness needs to be taken hold of now because it’s not ever going to come in the future.
Again, if you get up on Christmas morning and you don’t look under the Christmas tree, you’re not going to see anything to open, and you’ll wait for next Christmas. And if you always think it’s going to be coming next Christmas, the gifts will go unopened that are already there.
Now, if there isn’t any "next" Christmas, what does that say about today? Well, it isn’t leading toward anything particularly good, is it? Again, that can be very discouraging…or one can say, "Well, I’m going to open my eyes and look under the Christmas tree that’s right in front of me."
You’ve got to start looking for the fullness of Being now! The ultimate is happening now! But everyone is so locked into the definitions of everything that you’ve given, and that you’re so sure of, that it doesn’t even occur to you that there is more of Reality to be experienced now. And that doesn’t just mean Reality "out-there," it means the Reality of each one of you right now.
You are the Christ right now. You are the full, unlimited expression of God at this very instant. You are the ultimate of What You Are right now, even though you are insisting on imaginations about yourself, and claiming that those imaginations are what are really true. And part of those imaginations is that you will grow old and die, and immortality will be gained next Christmas…next lifetime.
And so you are like the Christ who got up here last night and pretended he was the ego. (At entertainment night there was a professional comedian who did a skit called "Miraj the ego." It was hilarious.)
I think you get the picture.
~excerpt from Gathering with Raj, Asilomar, 1996