I have always been a person that has tended to accumulate a fair assortment of stuff. I would save my favorite childhood stuffed animals, hundreds of pictures, or other items that remind me of a earlier life memory. I often believed that the object that I was keeping represented that moment in time in such a way that it was difficult to part with it. Over the last few years, I have cleared and purged many of my belongings, from a perspective of not needing to have much; to lighten the load. That objects do not hold the importance I thought that they did.
When I started reading about the present moment, Eckhart Tolle, and how much emphasis the Ego puts on belongings, I more deeply understood that I, and others, form our identities around who we think we are, and what we have. So, not only did my belongings represent memories to me, but also in that, aspects of my identity, at least according to the Ego.
In his book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle writes about the idea to “die before you die”. What he means by that, is to die to the idea of your identity before your physical form dies and is no more. The fact is, we all are mortal; physical forms that will one day be dust, and then nothing. And, although that is fear producing to people, including me at times, it is a fact. All physical forms are fleeting; they live, and they die. So to me, to die before I die not only means acceptance of the mortality of my physical body, but also to die to my assumed identity. To me, it means to die to the belief that I am who my Ego says I am in terms of identity: all of the personality traits and forms that I take on to define who I am, whether that be daughter, mother, worker, lesbian, wife, and so on. To die to those ideas for me, means to not believe that I am only that.
As living beings, we share two things in common: not only are we all mortal, and will one day be dust. But, we also are all immortal, in terms of our true selves. We are all part of what is known as the deathless dimension: the divine presence. So, when our mortal selves pass away, it is only the physical form that dies, but our radiance, our true essence, lives on.
The beauty of this realization for me is that it takes away much of the fear I have experienced in the past of death and dying. I more easily understand that I am not merely a physical entity that is here for a short time, but a radiant light that is always shining, and that is one fragment of the Universal light that is all of us. That we are all part of that universality and although we forget it, caught up in our physical forms and identities, that it is not all that we are. That to die to who we see ourselves as in our identities, helps us to let go of things, and be more present to our light, our true selves.
To surrender to this reminds me of how free I am.