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Body + Consciousness + Death = Consciousness?

Consciousness + Body + Death = Consciousness?Are you taking anything with you when you die? Is consciousness continuing on independent of the body after death? Or, does consciousness evaporate with the body and mind as you pass?

One of my uncles wore a shirt to Christmas back in the 1970’s and I still remember it because it went against everything my mother believed in as a Christian and she reacted strongly.

“He who dies with the most toys… WINS.”

In my mom’s book (the Bible) my uncle wasn’t going to be the winner he thought he was.  Well my uncle did die with the most toys in the family. He was easily a millionaire by virtue of investing in stocks and saving every spare penny besides his collection of Alfa Romeos, Austin Healeys, Karmann Ghias and a slew of motorbikes. But he didn’t take them along after he died of cancer recently.

Most of us, including my uncle realize we’re not taking anything with us when we die – nothing materially anyway. Some of us believe that we continue to have a soul or consciousness after death. I’m not sure I’m one of those people, but I have considered it.

I asked a friend once, “What do you think happens when you die?” She smiled her big Thai smirky smile and said, “That’s it. Black. Nothing. Your body is gone. Everything that relies on your body is gone too, you just stop.”

She was Buddhist, and grew up in the USA. I was surprised at her answer as I expected her to say that we are reincarnated as many Theravada Buddhists believe in that since the Gautama Buddha told the world he saw his past incarnations as he was enlightened.

The more I thought about it – my friend’s idea sounded like the most logical possibility. There were only two possibilities really from what we see going on here.

1.) Everything stops. Or,
2.) Consciousness is not tied to this body and will continue on after death.

If everything stops – no worries. Whatever you do here on earth doesn’t affect you because nothing of you exists anymore at all. What could affect nothingness?

However, if it’s true that consciousness continues that gives tremendous meaning to our short time here on earth.

If the only thing we take with us is our consciousness – then what better focus to have here on earth than optimizing that consciousness? What better to do with our time?

If your consciousness continues on – whether being reborn or just existing in some other fashion, then wouldn’t it make sense to use these 70 years to optimize consciousness in whatever ways possible?

Everyone is asking about the meaning of life

What if that’s it? What if the meaning is – you take only your consciousness with you when you die. Improvements or regression in consciousness continue on after this life, nothing else does.

There’s a chance this is true. The other alternatives don’t mean anything. It’s encouraging to think that this crazy life here on earth means something, so why not this?

What counts as taking consciousness to a higher level?

As far as I can tell I’m not taking my master’s degree with me when I die, it’s an attainment for here on earth and I doubt I can use it afterward. I learned a lot going to school for my degrees in psychology – but, did it raise my consciousness for what’s next? I don’t know.

I’ve written millions of words on the computer and in notebooks over the years. I know I’m not taking my blogs with me, but is what I’ve written of benefit to my consciousness in the next game? I don’t know.

Was there any real conscious benefit to writing all those words? I don’t know, but I hope so.

I hope they’ve affected others in a good way. I hope I’ve shared things that others can learn and laugh as a result of. But, for me personally – did I gain something in my consciousness that I can take with me as a result of writing all those words?

I think so. I think I’ve gained some life knowledge about giving to others. Yes, I got something back in return – the satisfaction that someone found the free words useful. I gave it just because I want to help other people. Whether this blog ever does well enough to support me as a career or not at this point is irrelevant because it may take years for that to happen. It’s far more likely that it won’t happen. I’ll never recoup the time I spent writing articles here and at my other blogs and be compensated for that effort in the form of cash at some later date. There’s a 99% chance it won’t happen.

Is writing to share life knowledge with others a worthy pursuit to raise my level of consciousness?

Or, should I continue meditating and spending time in the deep states of Jhana and move as close as possible toward nibbana before I pass away?

What do you think?

If only our consciousness continues on are we OK as sales people, or advertising professionals spending thousands of hours of our lives trying to sell others things that they’ll use temporarily but that don’t help them manifest a higher consciousness? What are worthy pursuits for our careers? Free time?

What morality or life lessons that, if shared will help others ascend to higher consciousness?

Is meditation or Buddhism the only way?

Can believers in a religion move into a higher consciousness by practicing their religion?

Anybody have any insight?

Best of Life!


Creative Commons Image credit: Zygzee at Flickr


2 thoughts on “Body + Consciousness + Death = Consciousness?

  • at 12:30 pm

    I agree with your friend. I think dying is simply a journey into nothingness. Although the idea of reincarnation is romantic, it’s really just that – a romantic idea. Besides, even if it does happen, we will all still be starting from scratch, and might not even ‘remember’ our past incarnations. Definitely no Alfa Romeos there! 😀

  • at 10:42 am

    I believe that when the light goes out, then it’s out for good. There is no life after death, that is only a belief people have held on to bring comfort to their lives. But as years go by and Religious beliefs deminish due to science, what is left? Consciousness lives on, why would it for us and not for every other living being on the planet? And besides, what good is consciousness if you no longer have the ability to do anything with it!


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