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Made You Think

Nov 27, 2023

“Perhaps the deepest reason why we are afraid of death is because we do not know who we are. We believe in a personal, unique, and separate identity — but if we dare to examine it, we find that this identity depends entirely on an endless collection of things to prop it up: our name, our "biography," our partners, family, home, job, friends, credit cards… It is on their fragile and transient support that we rely for our security. So when they are all taken away, will we have any idea of who we really are?"

Welcome back to another episode of Made You Think! In this episode, we're diving into The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche. We'll navigate the realms of meditation, telepathy, and the essence of a peaceful death. Come join us in this mind-opening episode that transcends the ordinary and challenges our perceptions of life, death, and everything in between!

We cover a wide range of topics including:

  • How to find more meaning from your meditation
  • Telepathy, shared hallucinations, and the uncharted territories of the brain and body
  • The role our egos play in spiritual practices
  • Reincarnation and the continuous nature of consciousness
  • The sacredness of birth and dying

And much more. Please enjoy, and make sure to follow Nat, Neil, and Adil on Twitter and share your thoughts on the episode.

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(1:02) In today's episode, we're talking about The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying in which Rinpoche explores the concepts of life, death, and rebirth. We open up the show talking about meditation, microdosing, and how to incorporate meditation into your day.

(6:07) Finding meaning from meditation, the role it plays in rehearsing death, and finding profound meaning in the experience.

(7:59) Is death just a middle step in our journey as opposed to the end? We talk about the author's beliefs regarding reincarnation and the idea that while our energy never dies, it has the capability of taking another form. 

(11:41) Attachments, the terror of losing your identity when you die, and why believing in reincarnation offers a valuable perspective.

(16:51) The author’s definition of “attachments” would most likely be broader than you’d expect. It not only encompasses your material possessions, but anything that contributes to what you see as your identity. 

(20:09) We talk about different phenomenons that happen in your body once you pass, plus some interesting stories in the book, such as remembering information from a past life.

(24:57) Telepathy: Is it realistic? Everything can seem magical or nonsensical until you can gather some sort of argument or case or explanation for it. Hundreds of years ago we may have thought the idea of electricity was a hoax, but today, it exists.

(28:15) There are so many things about our brain and body that we have yet to understand. Plus, we discuss the potential effects of electromagnetic pollution on our bodies.

(33:02) The first step in working your way up to telepathy or cross-mind communication is knowing your own mind and body first. 

(34:23) How mindfulness can help you pull yourself back into the present moment. We often worry about the future or something not going to plan. When you remember that all things are impermanent, it makes it easier to accept things as they are right now. 

(40:09) Ego and its role in spiritual practices.

(42:55) Shared hallucinations in sleep paralysis and altered states of consciousness induced by psychedelics.

(47:53) Nat shares a story of when he took psilocybin, and how that posed questions of whether we are connected to consciousness, especially for those who we are directly related to.

(52:21) Where are we in the journey of knowing everything? There’s no good way to measure this, as it can often feel that the more we learn, the less we actually know.

(56:09) In today's age, we have the capability to broadcast our thoughts and opinions on social media to a large audience. Once you say it, it can’t be taken back. How will we see social media shaping the relationship between parents and their children?

(1:00:36) “Peaceful death is really an essential human right, more essential perhaps even than the right to vote or the right to justice; it is a right on which, all religious traditions tell us, a great deal depends for the well-being and spiritual future of the dying person.”

What someone needs for a peaceful death, and how they may be more aware than you think. 

(1:04:05) Neil shares his experience of how he felt reading the book in relation to his dad's passing. We have a discussion on the key differences between a home-environment and the hospital, and when you might opt for one over the other.

(1:10:51) When you’re in the process of dying, it's not uncommon to change the way you view the world. Knowing your time is limited, you may find yourself to be more vulnerable with your loved ones and more deeply appreciating the moments you spend.

(1:14:21) Comparing birth and death as unique, sacred experiences, and the potential impact of hospital settings on these significant life events.

(1:20:56) We examine the theme of the mind outlasting the body, contrasting it with neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.

(1:25:39) When it comes to death and rebirth, many traditions talk about a similar experience of viewing your entire life in detail. Where did these ideas originate from?

(1:29:10) That concludes this episode! Make sure to pick up a copy of The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying to learn more about Tibetan Buddhist wisdom. Stay tuned for our next episode in which we will be reading Israel: A History!

If you enjoyed this episode, let us know by leaving a review on iTunes and tell a friend. As always, let us know if you have any book recommendations! You can say hi to us on Twitter @TheRealNeilS@adilmajid@nateliason and share your thoughts on this episode.

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Thanks for listening. See you next time!