One of the major causes of death in our society is suicide. This is especially the case with the youth of the world. Like the canary in the coal mine, they are unconsciously letting us know that something is amiss in our world.
What is suicide all about? Sometimes people take their own lives because they feel trapped in a corner. Sometimes they commit suicide because they feel that life is not worth living. Sometimes people seek a liberation from self hatred. Obviously there are other reasons as well, including biochemical imbalances. But, with the possible exception of biochemical imbalance, the common denominator seems to be a lack of meaning in life.
When we are talking about meaning, we are talking about spirituality. The bottom line as I see it, then, is that suicide often has a spiritual dimension to it.
The urge to take ones life is more common than most people realize. Publicly, we view this urge as extreme, abberational behavior. Imagine, for example, a candidate for public office revealing such a thought. But, privately, many sane, creative individuals of high intellect and spirituality have been beset with this fantasy. In fact, I would go so far as to say that the world needs such individuals to lead us from chaos and destruction. Please bear with me as we explore this line of thought.
At certain key moments of our lives, we are called to a “transformation”. This is not the same as “translation”, rearranging aspects of our lives from one side of the room to the other. No, at those times of our lives we are called to let go of one level of consciousness in order to move to a higher level of consciousness.
This letting go is precisely what the soul needs. This moving from one level to the next is what evolution is calling us to do. Paradoxically, the thing that we most need is the thing that we most resist. Why? Because moving to a higher level entails a “death” to the prior level. We then engage in one of the myriad ego defense mechanisms or mental disorders or psychosomatic symptoms that our evolutionary brain has enabled us to employ in order to preserve what we have. What we are being called to is what feels like a “crucifixion” of the self with which we currently identify. But what happens is that we misinterpret the call. We think that if we kill our bodies, then we will find inner peace.
We want this peace so badly that we will slash our wrists, shoot ourselves, or perpetrate all sorts of horrors upon ourselves. As painful as all these forms of death are, we imagine that they cannot possibly be any worse than our inner pain. This is partially true. There is no suffering worse than emotional or mental suffering.
I can testify to the truth of this from personal experience. Earlier in life, I participated in all forms of competitive sports and have the “trophies” to prove it. A broken arm, sprained ankles, a dislocated finger, a broken nose, a torn Achilles tendon, etc., are among my painful injuries of youth. But, as painful as those injuries were, however, I would take them any day compared to mental or emotional suffering. When I was going through what the Buddhists call the “Great Death”, moving from exclusively egoic consciousness to a state of oneness with the Whole, I thought that I was dying. And, in a sense, I was. But it was not the “death” of my True Self; it was the transformation of my limited sense of who I was from an egoic centered existence to that of a spirit who has an ego.
What we are left with is a sense of “non-self”. There is no more permanent Tom Legere. Actually, there never was such a creature.That is only what others still call me and I used to call myself and still sometimes do when I forget that I am more than this skin encapsulated ego held together by 206 bones.
The price for this level of consciousness? Everything. The reward? The “pearl of great price”, the” treasure buried in the field”, the “lost coin,” “salvation” The greatest gift that any human being can receive.
Viewed in this light, then, only suicide, not egocide, is pathological. Indeed, may all of us humans move to the level of the Christ, the Living Buddha. It is our calling and our birthright.
Next posting: Spiritual Alchemy
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