The seeming death of the body is the real birth of the soul.
There are two deaths, the inner and the external. The first is going into the center, the second going into the vastness.
There is a [Hadith] which says: Mutu kubla anta mutu, which means, ‘Die before death.’ A poet says, ‘Only he attains to the peace of the Lord who loses himself.’ God said to Moses, ‘No man shall see me and live.’ To see God we must be non-existent.
What does all this mean?
It means that when we see our being with open eyes, we see that there are two aspects to our being: the false and the true. The false life is that of the body and mind, which only exists as long as the life is within. In the absence of that life the body cannot go on. We mistake the true life for the false, and the false for the true.
Dying is this ~ when there is a fruit or something sweet and good to taste, the child comes to its mother and says, ‘Will you give it to me?’ Although it would have given pleasure to the mother to eat it, she gives it to the child. The eating of it by the child is enjoyed by the mother. That is death. She enjoys her life in the joy of another. Those who rejoice in the joy of another, though at their own expense, have taken the first step towards true life. …
If we enjoy a beautiful thing so much that we would like to have it, and then give that joy to another, enjoying it through his experience, we are dead. That is our death. Yet, we live more than he. Our life is much vaster, deeper, greater.
Seemingly it is a renunciation, an annihilation, but in truth it is a mastery. The real meaning of crucifixion is to crucify this false self, and so resurrect the true self. As long as the false self is not crucified, the true self is still not realized. By Sufis it is called Fana, annihilation. All the attempts made by true sages and seekers after real truth are for the one aim of attaining to everlasting life. We love our body and identify ourselves with it to such an extent that we are very unhappy to think that this body, which is so dear to us, will some day be in the grave. No one likes to think that it will die and be destroyed. But the soul is our true self. It existed before our birth and will exist after our death.
The soul is our real being, through which we realize and are conscious of our life. When the body, owing to loss of strength and magnetism, has lost its grip upon the mind, the seeming death comes; that which everybody calls death. Then the soul’s experience of life remains only with one vehicle, that is the mind, which contains within itself a world of its own, photographed from one’s experience on earth on the physical plane. This is heaven if it is full of joy, and it is hell if it is filled with sorrow. … But the soul is alive. It is the spirit of the eternal Being, and it has no death. It is everlasting.