Stop and imagine the following for a second. Imagine that you are living in a prison as a prisoner for a lifetime. The prison is in the middle of nowhere, so there seems to be no escape. You were born free, but you have been in this prison as long as you can remember.
You don’t have memories of your early life, but you subconsciously know the feeling of freedom, and you want to experience it again. But one day, you are told that you are sentenced to death. They don’t tell you the exact time, they can come any day and take you for execution.
What would you do not to go crazy in this impossible situation? How could you live like this and keep your sanity? One strategy would be to try to forget about the death sentence in every possible way. You don’t think about it and don’t speak about it. When someone mentions it, you try to ignore it. You pretend that you won’t be executed at all and that everything is all right.
You spend your time with mundane tasks, just to divert your mind from the impeding thought of death. You become aggressive when someone mentions that you are sentenced to death, and even start fights with other inmates. You create problems for yourself which your mind then has to solve. Your so-called “life” is mostly a strategy to divert your thoughts from death.
You create a routine in the prison because this gives you a false feeling of security and continuity. You collect money, connections, and power because you unconsciously hope that these will save you from the death sentence somehow. You deaden your life just to forget about death.
However, you see your inmates taken away by the executioner one by one. You don’t see where they go, but they never come back. This reminds you again of your own future, and the repressed thoughts and emotions rise to the surface of your consciousness.
You create false hopes that maybe the executioner won’t come for you, even if he takes everyone else away. Or if he comes, he will spare you because you are special. Or that maybe they just take everyone to another prison instead of the execution chamber.
Or maybe you will be rewarded for good behavior, and you will be taken to a luxury prison where your friends are already happily waiting for you. And those behaving badly will be punished in a torture chamber forever somewhere underground.
If everything else fails, you hope that the manager of the prison – the warden – will save your life somehow. You have never seen him, but you know that he is the most powerful person around here. But you are not sure that he even exists because nobody has seen him yet. You believe in him, otherwise who would organize the prison so well?
So you hope that there are hidden cameras in your cell and that he is watching you. You pray to him, asking him to solve your little “problems”, make your life comfortable and ultimately to spare you. But he never answers.
And then, when your day comes, you are not ready to go with the executioner. You are utterly scared. And you regret all the things you didn’t do in life, and all the time you wasted on your stupid problems and mundane tasks. But now it is too late to live a life that really matters.
Well, you don’t have to imagine all of this because it is your everyday reality. But I think you already guessed it. The prison is your ego, and the sentence is death. The other prison you hope for is your next life, and the good and the bad behavior are your karma. The luxury prison is heaven, and the torture chamber is hell. The warden is God, and the executioner is Death.
So, how can you save your own life? If you stay in the prison, the electric chair is unavoidable. The only way is to escape from the prison. But wait, I told you in the beginning that there seems to be no escape. This is still true, but a few people are already living outside of the prison. Outside, there are no walls and no death. How did they manage? You have to use their help if you want to get out.
The only trick is this: you have to realize that the prison is not real. You are creating the prison in your own mind, and you imagine that you are an inmate sentenced to death. But if you forget about your death sentence, you will never have the motivation to try to escape. You will just accept your situation like all of the others and hope for the best. So the first thing to do is to remind yourself of the electric chair and face death.
But why did you build this prison in the first place? You built these walls to protect yourself, but the very same walls became your prison. There is something out there that you are even more afraid of than death. It is nothingness, it is the ultimate void, it is being nobody and disappearing forever. The truth is that you are so much afraid of freedom that you choose imprisonment and death instead. At least you already know life here, but you don’t know what is out there.
You could freely walk out of the prison, the doors are not even locked. Maybe you already glimpsed outside and found yourself at the edge of the void, at the border of nothingness. You knew that if you stepped out, you would surely die. But why die so early, if you can live a little bit more in your cell, and hope for a savior? You got so scared that you turned back, and now the prison is your only reality.
Yes, if you step outside, you will really lose yourself. But you have to lose yourself to find yourself. This is a conscious death, but only your ego will die, and you will win total freedom. Your ego has to die for you to be free. You have to sacrifice yourself to save yourself.
The only way of escape is to realize that you were never really inside the prison, the whole thing is just an illusion. And then, you have to let yourself fall into the void, and become one with everything and nothing at the same time. Experiencing death is the only way to escape from a dead life, from the fear of death and from the prison of your personality.
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