Religion, in its purest form, explicitly tries to teach people they’re supremely loveable and priceless. Those who’d do away with religion (in its entirety) don’t have a viable substitute! ... See MoreSee Less
The humble can be trusted to wield immense power wisely…doesn’t seem to many humble leaders emerging through the current crisis…
ipso facto…. ... See MoreSee Less
To say life feels “meaningless” is to profoundly misunderstand life; as if you are a bridge that is either useful or not…life is an artwork not a bridge! The Mona Lisa is entirely meaningless if all you see is paint and canvas but it’s simultaneously priceless ... See MoreSee Less
Imputing sinister motives to people you disagree. Straw manning arguments that you disagree with. Slipping into lazy, dichotomous “us” and “them” thinking. THIS is the real pandemic we’re fighting and it’s more dangerous than COVID. ... See MoreSee Less
We don’t have enough ceremony in our modern lives. It doesn’t need to be hippy-dippy nonsense, it’s a psychological container for deep emotional work. Forgiveness, heartbreak, trauma all need ritual. So, when you need to, make up your own. ... See MoreSee Less
SO YOU HAVEN'T CONSIDERED DYING YET?
I was recently speaking to a client who was feeling suicidal. He was lamenting the state of his life; dissatisfied in his 10 year marriage, miserable in his job, crippled by mounting social anxiety, arguing with his daughter and utterly despondent about the future. The mystery of existence is not that we feel suicidal at times, it's the exact opposite. The mystery is that more people don't contemplate death more seriously and frequently! The seemingly insurmountable suffering and confusion and powerlessness that can be visited upon us as individuals makes it patently obvious why thoughts of suicide are so common.
In Buddhism there is a meditation practice whereby adherents are encouraged to contemplate their death at random intervals 5 times every day. Apparently, you can even get an app for your smartphone and hear the little notification PING as "you are going to die" flashes upon your screen direct from your hand-sized, electronic Zen Monk. In the Eastern traditions, contemplation upon death is considered wise, NOT pathological.
It may sound callous and insensitive of me to regard feeling suicidal as potentially beneficial - you might want to levy accusations at me, muttering under your breath about how awful and horrible and terrible I am. You might even offer up your opinion with a generous helping of expletives as a side dish. And you might just be right. Maybe it IS terrible to dance with death. Perhaps it IS awful to dine with the reaper. But seriously considering death CAN be useful. That isn't to say that it is wanted! That isn't to say that it is easy! But I believe that the part of the psyche that cries out in anguish when life is dreary and dull and colourless is simultaneously the part of us that seeks for meaning.
When somebody is considering suicide, it's often the case that they don't actually want to kill themselves. They're just desperate to kill the parts of their life that aren't working. The part of you that wails "I want to die" is the very same part that stomps its feet, hurls itself to the ground and screams "it MUST be better than THIS! I'm NOT continuing to live if it can't be satisfying and joyful and meaningful!" And in my estimation ... fair enough!
Meditations upon death, however torturous to the soul, are inextricably linked to meditations upon life. Seriously considering death is an equally serious contemplation of life. They're one and the same.
My client said to me "I don't think I actually want to die ... but I don't want to go on like THIS!" If you can walk toward the cliff's edge and teeter on the brink, staring out into the infinite abyss of death and Seriously, SERIOUSLY consider the implications of annihilation, then one step back from that cliff edge can actually represent freedom! If you're prepared to consider leaving this mortal coil, then allowing for the possibility that you can take that holiday you've always wanted seems reasonable. If you're prepared to honestly think about the possibility of no more tomorrows, then saying "no" to a family member seems like a fair alternative. Or it's at least worth a second thought.
If you have the guts to regard death, then you might find you are badass enough to consider life too! Understanding death as an ever-present reality of existence - even mustering the courage to look it square in the eye and whisper "wanna dance, b*^&h?" - can embolden you to live life in a fuller and freer way. ... See MoreSee Less
The only fear is fear itself & those with no nobility will play on this factor, if you allow it!
Rather than saying “I should do that” say “although it’d be a good choice for me I’m NOT going to choose that right now.” Don’t BS yourself and others, it’s profoundly disempowering.
As master Yoda always said “do, or do not, there is no should” ... See MoreSee Less