Every time you meditate you are courting death. What is death? Death is really turning off the world so that the Spirit can be perceived. Superimposition of name and form over one's Essence is unreal. Why put up with it any longer?
The ability to stay conscious at the time of death is predicated upon how well you can maintain consciousness in meditation and sleep.
As you come closer to the Deity/Ishtam, you become empowered for deeper meditation. If any fear or thought of limitation arises, you are able to destroy it! This is expanding an inner muscle to help you remain conscious at the time of the dawning of deep insight, and also at the time of death. The search for deeper meditation signals an advanced stage of spiritual life.
[Speaking of the efficacy of devotional singing] With a beautifully crafted melody, complex rhythm, and a powerful message, what chance do you have of being lost in maya?
Death is really a meditation. Blaze a trail to immortality through your meditation practice.
To qualify ourselves is the first order of business for westerners. If we are to keep Vedanta alive here, and make it truly live here, then we must realize It and live it here.
People have separated Nature from humanity in a very immature way, and have thereby run afoul of even relative truth. One has to connect Nature to the self, and realize that it all has come out of one's self. There will be time for separating from Nature in a mature way later on, after this connection has been made...or remembered.
This is why you are at odds with the world, because you consider it real, consider it an actual location where you reside as a body. This fallacy takes away your spiritual experience. Let's say that you have money, and one day you lose it. That is a problem. But one day you wake up, and your peace of mind is gone. That is much more lamentable. World, bodies, and money come and go; Peace of Mind must remain, unbroken.
If you are focused on the "what" of objects, names, and forms, you fast become a student of the cosmos instead of a devotee of Brahman. The joke goes that Sankhya yogis speak with a "list." Well, we are not compiling lists in order to merely categorize relativity, or to show how much we know. Those are western tendencies and phenomena. One must not only make a distinction between the unreal and the real, but must use the unreal to indicate or point to the Real. In other words, and in my way of thinking and teaching, connections are far more powerful than rejections.
First separate to clarify the mind [as in philosophical discrimination], then pull it all together from a definitive realization.
What is superstition? It is believing that something outside is controlling everything. It is all your own participation in the creation that makes this universe. You cannot blame it on Nature and Maya -- they are insentient! You are the Sentient principle. Thus you have done all this with the help of your brethren who run the gamut from fools to geniuses.
Everything is run by desire. At the level of the gods, the animals, humans -- everything -- all have the desire to eat, to ingest.
If you do not make the connection between the Enjoyer and the enjoyed, and She who brings them together, then you live a deluded and distorted life.
If one wants to make a little sense out of the contemporary West's ridiculous obsession with animation and fantasy (vikalpa), and this waste of lavish sums of money for purposes of silly and innane entertainment, then one can simply declare "Back off!" That is Yosemite Sam's mantra -- one of the first American Vedantists -- meaning back off of Maya. Then, like Popeye, another original Advaitist, one can recite (maybe over a bowl of organic spinach), "I am what I am and that's all that I am." Turning poison to nectar is one of the great feats of the Vedantist and the Yogi.
It takes a stationary Witness to recognize movement, but it takes an illumined soul to fathom that all movement is nonactual...that a runner running a race in a dream goes nowhere.....
If you believe in reincarnation, then eventually you will realize that the Self is birthless and deathless.