Steps on the Path 03 — The Future of my Consciousness


STEPS ON THE PATH is a twenty-one part series based on the twenty-one meditations of The Stages of the Path to Enlightenment by Je Tsongkhapa, a 14th century Tibetan Buddhist master. Je Tsongkhapa’s meditations were commentaries based on Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment, a work the 11th century Indian Buddhist master Atisha wrote and presented when he was invited to reintroduce the Dharma to Tibet after a period of government suffocation. Both of these works are called Lamrim practice, and are said to compile all the teachings of the Buddha into one meditation practice. This STEPS ON THE PATH meditation series is an interpretation by Still Yourself to reflect an updated and modern understanding. They may be read and contemplated in any order you like.

—Meditation Three —
The Future of my Consciousness

AS I LEARN to live daily from the perspective that I may die today, I naturally begin to wonder what will happen to me when I do leave this place. I know clearly that I am not this body, that I am something more than this body. My true self is a consciousness driving this body. When the wax of a candle is used up, its flame goes out, but I know that when this human body I have is used up, the flame of my consciousness will not go out—it will continue on in another form, whether that form is to be purely energy or to inhabit another body.

What if the place my consciousness ends up in is one where I will not be able to benefit others and serve as a light of truth into the universe? What if I have no access to truths, or I do not have the mental capacity to make conscious choices? Even more humbling, what will the memories of my consciousness be for those I leave behind? What sort of being am I choosing to be here and now with this priceless human life? Where is the focus and intention of my energy and awareness? It is said that what state of mind our consciousness is in at the time of death is what will ripen the karma that will determine where our consciousness goes next—am I consciously shaping myself not only for the here and now, but for the unknown future as well?

What happens after I leave this body and this place can never be known, but what can be known is this life and this body, here and now. Here is where I can take action, where I can make choices, where I can make a difference for those around me. Today I choose to think, speak, and act with mindful regards to myself and all others, for the benefit of this present moment and all moments to come.