What happens when you physically die?
That depends on the situation. The more you identify with the body, the heavier it is. When you realize your true nature, you also realize that all the things which change are phenomena. At one point in time there was a beginning of what you call your life. But, what existed before that? At a certain moment the forms of that little life arose, and at a certain moment they will disappear.
Then the observer also ceases to exist?
Yes, to the extent it has been conditioned to this life form.
You introduce a limitation: 'to the extent'.
To the extent that you are dealing with a physical observer, it’s a conditioned observer. Perception, for example, is dependent on the structure of the eyes. When the body is gone, perception stops. It’s that simple.
Then your feeling of being also stops?
Yes, that feeling ‘I am’ is a quality which is also going to disappear. Then your original nature which is independent of conditions is all that remains. So that means that all conditions are relative. This also applies to all qualities. That which is not relative, is, by definition, absolute. And That is free of everything. Nevertheless we have an internal knowledge of it. That can become so clear that you affirm, “This is it” and "the rest is relative, based on a particular life-form."
Becoming aware of that absolute means, I think, that there must be an awareness which is more expansive than the everyday consciousness. We are speaking about it now ...
Yes, we can only talk about the words which point in the direction of that absolute. Within being-experience it is clear that the various qualities increasingly disappear, even the 'I am', and that goes in the direction of a complete disappearance. When this process truly continues, you can no longer speak about consciousness, an 'I am aware of it'. Nevertheless, at a certain point there is the knowing: 'This is the inexpressible".
Douwe, on the one hand, the way you say it, I find it very simple. Yes, it’s great fun to listen to you. I automatically enter right into the sphere. But on the other hand, I still feel very strongly the limitation of the ego that you're always speaking about. That limitation of the ego, I just can’t escape it. On the one hand, I know that the ego always lures you back in so many different ways, by a toothache, by the things you do and so on. Then I think: 'Damn, is this ever going to stop?" On the other hand, I also think it’s great; so I am attached to it once again. I am simultaneously attached to it and plagued by it ...
Isn’t that the fundamental conflict of people?
How do you escape it?
Try to look at it in a different way. That ego is self-being. It is self-being in a limited form. You are yourself, as an ‘I’. And ‘I’ am attached to that little I-life. This is a form of self-being, a limited form of self-being. Who confirms that it is limited? Isn’t that a self-being which has a more expansive view? You affirm: there's that ego; there are the limitations; there are the attachments; there sits pleasure, and there, pain. So you're not just this form of self-being which we call the ego. Apparently, there’s already a self-being which has a wider consciousness. Looking back, this is what affirms the restrictions. So when you become aware of the ego, you're no longer positioned specifically in it. Thus, the self-being of the ego has a depth and a height which has always already existed, but about which the ego doesn’t know. In your ego you can become aware of yourself. It already contains this depth. The broader consciousness is not another self-being, no, it is the same yourself-being, but with fewer restrictions. You can stay at that position and then you notice that you are freer from the restrictions that exist on the ego-level. To the extent that they remain, you handle them wisely. Just as you deal with children, you give a little here and there, in order to allow things to go in a good direction globally. You remain aware of yourself, as a self-being that is more expansive, more mature. This sphere remains more spacious than that of the little ‘I’ who relates everything to itself and is attached to everything.
While I'm working with people and so on, I feel a kind of loneliness and narrowness of my ego.
You see how grief-filled the ego is. You only need to look: the ego wants everything at once, which is impossible. It wants unity and it wants to be big. It wants to enjoy endlessly and it wants to be one with other people. But at that level it doesn’t work that way. Why not? The ego brings on separation between itself and others. These separations are not bridgeable, because these separations are simply inherent to the ego. However, you can look into yourself and experience that you are much more expansive. From out of a larger space you look back at the ego and see the cause of the problems. You also affirm that here and now there are no problems, because the separations are not there. You also affirm that this situation is far more valuable than the one with all that misery. That is how your center of gravity gradually shifts. When you notice this shift, that's a wonderful, beautiful event. Everything that that ego truly wants, but can never really achieve, is realized here. What the ego seeks, becomes freed when you release your limited forms. Then everything becomes grand and joyful. You don’t have to give up anything nice, not what is beautiful in the world and not what is beautiful in yourself. That beautiful only becomes freed when you let go of your tension