Reconciling Non Birth and Death with Consciousness

Hey folks,

So I joined two newbuddhist two years ago, and I haven’t been a constant user, but I have progressed quite far in my mindfulness journey. I have been reading TNH quite a lot and find his writing accessible and thought provoking.

A hangup that I have been struggling with recently, and this quite possibly could be due to my proclivity to overthink things, has been reconciling the miracle of consciousness with non birth and non death. I fully accept the idea of a physical non birth and non death, “beings are either manifested, when conditions are correct, or not manifested, when conditions are not correct.” That being said, I have found it more difficult to understand how our mental formations fit into the non-dichotomy of non birth and non death.

Consciousness is somewhat of an anomaly in the scientific community, as it is quite difficult to quantify. That being said, of course humans are conscious. Possibly the “most conscious” being on earth, if you can even say that, but that’s beside the point. We are a collection of our thoughts, experiences, and mental formations. These have come to fruition since our “physical birth.” When our being no longer has the conditions necessary to be a functioning human being, what happens to our consciousness? After death, as our physical form experiences an exponential increase in entropy, does this occur to our consciousness as well?

It seems nihilistic to suggest that when the synapses stop firing, that memories are lost forever, but it also (at least to me) seems like the most likely scientific explanation. Of course, there is the fact that this doesn’t really matter, I mean it wouldn’t really change my human experience if I knew one way or another about the “death of consciousness.”

Not an easy question I know, but if anyone has any advice or a Dharma talk to point me to that would be great. Please strike up a convo in the comments or message me, this has been a burning question for me and I feel like I am spinning wheels trying to understand non birth and non death. Peace.