What is the experience of birth or death?

What is the experience of birth or death?

Hello Rupert,

As you’ve clarified, consciousness without an object inevitably is timeless, such as in deep sleep or the apparent interval between thoughts. This leads to the following:

While we do, in fact, observe the factual birth and death of others and do experience the dying process ourself, we cannot possibly experience death or ever find ourself experiencing an afterlife state of no body-mind. The moment the body-mind apparently dies, eternally experiencing consciousness has no object, so the sense of time has no existence. The very next experience of conscious awareness (theoretically a subsequent ‘life’) would instantly occur, for no time would have elapsed. Therefore, this present sense of conscious awareness, be it a dualistic or non-dual experience, always is. 

Consciousness eternally expresses itself in this moment as ‘my conscious awareness’. Not only does consciousness never die but an experience of body/mind also never dies (though we cannot know any shape it may take other than the present one). Your comments are appreciated. 

Thank you,
Fred Campbell


Dear Fred,

We do not, in fact, experience the birth and death of others. We experience the appearance and disappearance of perceptions, which the mind interprets as the birth and death of others. However, the essential substance of these perceptions never appears or disappears. It is ever-present. It is our self, presence.

In fact, it is not quite right even to say that we experience ‘the appearance and disappearance of perceptions’, but it is a step in the right direction. The only thing that says there is the ‘appearance and disappearance of perceptions’ is the current thought. In other words, there is no knowledge of anything having appeared or disappeared outside the current thought that imagines it. 

That is, appearance and disappearance, birth and death, are concepts, never experiences. Only the ever-present now is truly experienced, but it is not experienced by something other than itself, such as an individual body or mind. It is known or experienced by itself alone. 

Yes, our only knowledge of the mind and body are thoughts, images, sensations and perceptions. These are always appearing and disappearing, moment by moment. However, we cannot really say ‘always’, because ‘always’ implies time, and time is simply a mental construct imagined by thought. Thought imagines a series of images or events and creates time to house them. There is no ‘always’ in time. There is only this ever-present now.

Likewise, the future, whether it be two seconds, two years or two lifetimes from now (not now a moment in time but rather the ever-present now) is imagined with the thought that thinks it. There is simply no time that is present in which an afterlife or, for that matter, a past life could appear or reside. Everything is now.

But again, that is not right. What is this multiplicity of things, this ‘everything’? Only thought conceives a multiplicity and diversity of things. Experience itself is one and now, seamless, indivisible, intimately utterly one with our self. It is not even ‘one with’; rather, experience is our very self.

And yes, this presence never dies or disappears, nor does any object, such as a body or a mind, die or disappear, because there never was an object, as such, in the first place. 

The substance out of which all apparent objects are made is this eternal presence which knows no birth or death. It is forever at rest in its own eternity, its own ever-presence, dancing as every expression of experience.

With love,


You might also like


How do we know that awareness is ever-present?

Published on 1 June 2021

What is the link between intelligence and consciousness?

Published on 1 June 2021

Is the word 'consciousness' the most accurate way of pointing to our experiencing?

Published on 1 June 2021