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Yogi Bhajan: Dead While Alive

Sat Nam Dear Family,

“Being dead, while alive.” This is the secret call of ultimate reality. Many have heard it, some deeper than others, few have truly understood it experientially. Augmenting this reality, this understanding, into the psyche is the journey unto Infinity.

Let’s begin by understanding that ultimately, being dead while alive means that you’re alive to the existence we live in, in other words, this world while at the same time understanding that the dance of this world doesn’t touch us. We are dead to the drama this world provides. We see the drama as a drama. Our participation is to serve, love, display compassion, and enjoy ourselves in this world s well as the next.

The natural question arises, “How can we enjoy ourselves if all we see drama everywhere. There’s just drama, just emotion, no fun? Good question, it’s been a good question forever. Let’s answer the call. When drama is substituted with Dharma, drama is seen in a different light. Drama is even to be participated in when God is seen everywhere. Drama becomes Dharma and the experience of Dharmic drama is divine. So, participation therein becomes divine as well if it’s accompanied with real Dharma.

Lets’ define Dharma. Dharma is service and devotion to the compassion of God. Being an example of this to God’s satisfaction allows you to enjoy all as His will in His name. Becoming this is called being dead while alive.  A "dead while alive" experience includes an experience which can only be experienced, not described. It’s like trying to describe what a banana tastes like to someone who’s only eaten nuts. Nevertheless, there are some aspects which can be shared. The experience of invincibility, of courage, of love is so overwhelming that the security it provides is beyond the beyond, certainly, beyond my words.

It becomes easy to love someone, everyone when they are seen through the eyes of God’s neutrality. The worst person you’ve ever known or heard of becomes lovable. Not only out of compassion, but out of the knowledge that God made them and his signature remains within them in the form of their soul. All the rest is karma playing out it’s game.

The game of karma can and will be painful. Compassion is easy when it’s understood that the amount of karma being created makes one grateful for the relief from this game. Gratitude will turn to compassion when gratitude is real. True compassion becomes a calling card for being ‘dear while alive.’

‘Dead while alive’ means that the Universe, this world, people in it, are viewed through a different lens. Back in the 70’s, a very popular writer named Kurt Vonnegut wrote a book called “Breakfast of Champions.” He was an insightful writer with wonderful humor. In this book he talks about how people are viewed. The lens has shifted to seeing people as such: he’s a little better than average, average musician; he’s a perfect not so great, self-destructive man; or, she’s a perfect ballerina. Vonnegut loved when protagonist Kilgore Trout met a perfect this or a perfect that. No judgement was assigned, good or bad, just seeing the perfect this or that that God created was good enough. And, in the day, it was.

Vonnegut saw something most would find unpleasant. Seeing people as machines is cold, apathetic, and non-compassionate. Certainly, no fun. But, Vonnegut found it fun. His fun came in the humor and joy he could add to his writing through his view. No more hate. How can you hate someone when they’re only playing out their karma in the only way they can, through God’s will as the machine they have been programed to be.

The lesson learned was that it took so many karmas to produce just one karma-less person. That’s why there are so few. Vonnegut appreciated the villain as much as the hero so long as both were the perfect villain and hero machines. He appreciated perfection in all its forms. That’s pretty much like being ‘dead while alive.’ Like God appreciating His work.

He really hit on something. This is the view of being ‘dead while alive.’ People are like machines playing out their karma. Usually, totally unaware of the fact that their free will is and will always be, subject to their karma. 

Science now accepts that everything, and I mean everything in the Universe was made out of nothing. That means that the split second it took in order to manifest the Universe, the violence which created everything must have been beyond the beyond,This explosive violence is the exact opposite of nothingness. So, from nothing came everything within a split second.

When I try to explain the Law of Polarity, I use this example. It seems to be understandable. In other words, you can’t have everything without nothing; black without white; up without down; good without bad finite without Infinite. In a conscious person, the more bad he/she is aware of, and has bypassed, the more violent the explosion to good there will be accordingly.i

Knowing how bad you really are can make you really good. Guilt is removed and the process can advance. Judgement is now a no-no. How can you judge anything when you're so bad and you know it. You also know how good you are. Knowing how bad you are allows you to feel really good about yourself. It’s a real self-esteem booster rocket.

Knowing that you possess all, good and bad, individually and collectively, makes you responsible and not responsible for everyone including yourself, at the same time. You don’t just recognize, but you experience the Infinite and the finite both within you. You can do whatever you want in His name and be protected, covered, loved. If you’re looking for fun, that’s real fun! The meaning of ‘dead while alive’ is not fully understood until it’s experienced.

Stay tuned,

Your friend, Hari Jiwan