We were born. Yes? We can feel there was definitely a time when our existence began. Because if we hadn't been born, that would mean we'd possess eternal life. But obviously, we don't. Indeed, if we hadn't been born, it would mean that there was never a time when we weren't around. But obviously, we weren't around in the 18th century, right? So clearly, we're not eternal, not unborn.
Even so. Can you tell me the objective and exact moment of your birth? How would you accomplish that? Perhaps you'd show me a certificate of birth, from the hospital in which you were born. And it would say something like: you were born March 3rd, 04:22 a.m. But if that was the exact moment of your birth, that would mean that while you were in your mom's belly – up to exactly 04:21 a.m. – you didn't exist in any way. Hmh... is that acceptable?
So how will you be able to pinpoint the objective and exact moment of your birth? Try it. Really try it. Personally, I haven't been able to.
Why am I asking for the exact and objective birth moment? Why is this significant? Because as said, that which isn't born can't die. Meaning, if you can't find the exact moment, how would it make any sense to say that you were born, objectively speaking? And if you haven't been born, how would it make any sense to think that sometime in the future, you will die?
If it turns out we can't pinpoint the exact starting moment of our existence, birth, death, permanence and impermanence would have to be illusory. Mirage-like. Dream-like. And consequently, the fierce drama of life and death would gently and peacefully vanish.
Now. Today is a sad day for me and my family. Because clearly, our beloved dog just died.
"If it is true that the self is not a thing, but a process...
then it is also true that the tragedy of the ego dissolves because
strictly speaking, nobody is ever born and nobody ever dies."
- Thomas Metzinger
- Thomas Metzinger
Photograph: Integral Monastery