An Empty Shell

S:  My wish as a ‘mind & intellect’ is to live in peace and bliss all the time and forever.

V:  Mine too.  But unfortunately it’s not possible.  The mind is always subject to change so there’s no way to make it permanently happy and blissful.  That’s why Vedanta shows you that you aren’t the mind or affected by it.  Bliss does not touch you but neither does sorrow.  You are always free.  Granted, knowing this makes your mind much happier and improves the quality of your life.     

S:  Therefore the fear of death is so strongly managing my life, being, behaviors and ego.

V:  That’s completely understandable.  But if you keep studying Vedanta you’ll see that that you don’t ever die.

S:  If pure consciousness is not some kind of thing, feeling or an experience that I can grasp as a human, it remains an empty shell for me. 

V:  It may seem that way at first.  But Vedanta says that pure consciousness isn’t something outside of yourself that you experience because you and pure consciousness are identical.  You can’t look outward and say, “That’s me!” or “That’s the experience of me!” because you are yourself.  Think of it this way.  In any and all experience there are three factors:  the experiencer, the experience itself and pure consciousness, that which reveals the experience.  Since you are the pure consciousness that reveals the experiencer/experienced you can’t point to a particular experience and say, “That’s me!” But that doesn’t mean you’re some kind of empty shell because it’s totally obvious that you’re present along with each every experience because each and every experience is being revealed by something.  And that something is you, pure consciousness.   Are you an empty shell, unknown to yourself?  Are you ever not present in an experience? No.   

S:  If we define pure consciousness as “no experience/feeling/mind/thoughts,” then it’s actually the equivalent of death for me.

V: I can see why you’d think that but is the absence of experience/feeling/mind/thoughts really the equivalent of death?  No, because by that definition we’d die every time we went to sleep.  But no one believes that they’re dead when they sleep.  Nor do we fear sleep.  In fact, we want it!  So even if pure consciousness is free of experience/feeling/mind/thoughts, it isn’t the equivalent of death, nor is it undesirable.   

To me, true death would be total annihilation, absolute non-existence.  But as pure consciousness, it’s impossible for you not to exist because you’re existence itself.  It’s a fact that your body will die.  And although there’s no way to be sure, it’s possible that your mind will die too.  But one thing is certain:  even if your body and mind die, you don’t.  Similar to the experience of sleep, when your body and mind are absent, you still exist and you’re completely okay.    

If what you want is an afterlife of blissful thoughts, feelings and experiences then no problem.  But unfortunately I can’t help you with that.  I have no idea if there is an afterlife or not, let alone how to get a good one.  The existence of the afterlife and how to go there is purely the department of religion, for instance the ritualistic portion of the Vedas that describe how to accumulate good karma and avoid bad karma.  Be warned though, there is a catch:  the Vedas themselves say that if you build up enough good karma to go to heaven, once that karma runs out, you’ll be reborn to suffer and enjoy all over again.  That’s why Vedanta doesn’t bother with the afterlife.  Vedanta wants permanent freedom and says that permanent freedom comes from the knowledge, “I am pure consciousness, unborn, eternal, unchanging.” 

S:  So the idea/fact/knowledge of pure consciousness is not really of help for me to change my life perspective and life quality.

V:  When you understand what I said above, that you are eternal etc., it greatly changes your perspective and if applied properly, can improve the emotional quality of your life quite a bit.    

S:  Therefore, how can I use the knowledge of pure consciousness to grow, overcome my fears and become enlightened?

V:  Knowledge of pure consciousness, meaning the clear, doubt-free knowledge, “I am pure consciousness” is synonymous with enlightenment.  They’re the same thing so you can’t use the knowledge to get enlightened.  It is enlightenment.  Sorry, that’s a technical answer but that point needs to be understood. 

As I said above, when you have the knowledge, “I am pure consciousness” it helps your mind to overcome fears such as “I am going to die” because it shows you clearly that you are immortal. 

If you are concerned about personal growth, then Vedanta recommends doing spiritual practices like meditation, worship and karma yoga.  Or, if you are not particularly spiritual, just living a good and righteous life.  No joke.  Those are the keys to emotional growth and maturity, not necessarily self-knowledge.    

All my best, Vishnudeva

This is a continuation of a previous Q & A, Total Bliss.  If you have further questions Contact me.   

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