Suicide: a promising remedy, a false hope, a reminder of life’s trials?

robin-williams-suicide

Robin Williams (1951-2014) received a lot of attention this week after reports of suicide1 became public. (image source)

There is no escape.
There is only Realization.2

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.3

In the wake of hearing that Robin Williams committed suicide earlier this week, I started wondering:  how good of an option is suicide for dealing with depression?  Could it get a person out of their troubles?

Can it bring love?

Especially for people we encounter (or become!) who are homeless, destitute, disabled, unemployed, dealing with extreme addiction, suffering from extreme guilt over past actions, enduring overwhelming grief, suffering bizarre and insoluble chronic illnesses, or in severe unbearable chronic pain that no drug can alleviate – for such people, is suicide a useful alternative to the horrors of life?

Near death accounts

dia-de-los-muertos

(image source)

I wondered about cases where people had tried to bring an end to their life, but failed, and in the process having what’s called a “near-death experience”.  I was curious what they might have to say about this.

We’ve interviewed many people who had near-death experiences as a result of suicide attempt.  What they told us is that never again would they attempt suicide because they learned from their near-death experience that even when times are difficult, life has a purpose.4

That sounds interesting – especially if you get a chance to hear individual stories about this.  Unfortunately I can’t seem to find a good survivor quote from a source that I totally trust and which all my readers would trust.

And to further drive the point home, people who tried to kill themselves often got a taste of something much worse than the situation they were attempting to flee from.  In the understated words of one researcher:

The conflicts they had tried to escape were still present after they died, but with added complications. In their disembodied state they were unable to do anything about their problems, and they also had to view the unfortunate consequences which had resulted from their acts.5

It’s living that’s difficult

homeless-hopeless

Homeless:  “Trying to start over; please help.” (image source)

Dying is easy; it’s living that’s difficult.6

Not all NDE researchers say a near-death experience will prevent a person from suicide attempts, however.

For instance, some people reportedly have such a positive (and spontaneous) near-death experience, that later, when life becomes crushingly painful, they seek to go back to the loving place they once visited by taking matters into their own hands:

One woman spoke of having been hospitalized twice for attempting suicide many years after her near death event.  She had experienced a scenario that was both soul stirring and uplifting; but, with the passing of years and a life filled with tragedy and pain, the positive fulfillment she had previously received seemed to fade.  Memories of how wonderful it was on the Other Side prompted her to try killing herself.

She failed at each attempt and caused herself unbelievable grief.  When I last heard from her, she seemed reasonably back on her feet and more practical, stating that she now realized there was no escape and she had better get busy and solve her problems herself.7

Sometimes, real difficult…

suicide-factors

Precipitating factors in suicide, per a CDC study, include mental health, intimate partner, and physical health issues.  (image source)

And sometimes life can be unbelievably difficult:

…but there’s the impulse to suicide from sheer unending physical torture, which I have a lot of intimacy with, and I can tell you it becomes a completely, non-emotional, rational consideration. And really, the only thing that stopped me over hundreds of such considerations was my sense that other people would be too profoundly wounded.

And I even crossed that final barrier a couple times, and at that point it was simply the immediate presence of subtle demons that I really did not want to encounter in the death transition. But, to be blunt, I would have given anything to simply off myself and have it be of only consequence to me…

It’s profoundly isolating, and you feel that literally no one can comprehend you, and you’re not wrong. People can’t. They aren’t being tortured daily to the point of begging for death.8

Probably not just the death transition, but what happens afterward would be unpleasant, according to many religious texts.

I appreciate this account – from a sufferer of chronic illness who gets no relief from pain medication – because it shows what some people endure daily.

My experience

I have had minor moments where I felt suicide as a possibility.

Then the moment passed, but not until I consciously felt and acknowledged it, sinking beneath my usual defense mechanisms that keep me superficial, distracted, and insensitive to what I’m feeling.

I’ve never had a near-death experience, but I did have a positive experience once where I went outside my body and experienced profound love, peace and joy, infinitely more powerful than anything I’d felt before.  When I came back to my body, I was disoriented at first, and didn’t know where or even who I was.

Then, as I finally recognized my surroundings, I had a panic attack.  The shock of being inserted back into my life with all my problems and dilemmas was overwhelming and my body recoiled at what felt like the immense horror of it all – even though I’d never consciously thought of my life that way before, and things were pretty good by some standards.

Questions

  1. Have you ever had a moment when you felt life was hopeless? Or, have you had a near-death experience?
  2. How hard do you work to distract yourself from pain, despair and hopelessness?  Do you think the purpose of life and the purpose of depression is to take anti-depressant medication?
  3. Do you think suicide would be a good way out of someone’s problems?
  4. What does this mean:  “There is no escape.  There is only realization.”

Regards,
BOT Student

  1. Some people wonder why rich, beloved, successful celebrities so frequently are said to commit suicide, sometimes under strange occult circumstances.
  2. Adi Da Samraj, January 1996 or so, Manner of Flowers.
  3. Jesus, as quoted in Matthew 24:13, KJV.  Being “saved” presumes a lot of things which not everyone would agree with… but it’s still an interesting biblical quote.
  4. Interview with Dr. Raymond Moody, conducted by “Lilou”, and found here.
  5. Raymond Moody, “Life After Life”.
  6. Rama, also known as Frederick Lenz, as quoted here.
  7. “Beyond the Light”, by P.M.H. Atwater, p.17.  This book is included in The Basket of Tolerance.
  8. Chronic pain sufferer.
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48 comments · reply to one or post a new one

  1. Terry   Thumb up +9

    The question, ‘suicide or not’ is central to the existentialist consideration, as presented by Shakespeare’s Hamlet soliloquy. Since the act is irreversible and may have extremely negative consequences, it is necessary to make the right choice if possible, and not act based on uninformed presumption alone. But making the right choice requires knowledge of what comes after death (if anything).

    Beyond the more-or-less popular lay literature on near-death experiences (NDE), I’m aware of only two books which authoritatively claim to present knowledge of what happens after death.

    One is “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”, which I tried unsuccessfully to read once; it was so tied up with arcane traditional language that I couldn’t get a handle on it.

    The other is Easy Death, by Adi Da Samraj. I’ve read and studied this book (which Elizabeth Kubler-Ross labeled a ‘masterpiece) over a period of about 30 years, during which time I’ve measured its content against the death process of family members and friends, as well as against the process of life. Adi Da claims life and death (and life and death) are inseparably continuous and mutually dependent for their characteristics. I highly recommend this book (and all his books and talks) to anyone who really wants to find out about the nature of life and death.

    According to Adi Da, suicide is absolutely ill-advised because it eliminates the body with which the limitations which might motivate the act can be transcended. Suicide also creates a state of more-or-less extreme confusion, which gets mixed in with all the left-overs from the bodily life.

    Regarding pain as a motivator for suicide, I have the following reports to make:

    In the mid 80s I worked all night and went early the next morning to the dentist, who asked me whether I wanted Novocain. I refused for some reason. Then he began to drill. I was so tired that my brain was unable to make the ordinary interpretation (as pain) of the profound sensations in my tooth. As a result, the brain concluded that these sensations were pleasurable. I sat there and moaned in ecstasy. The dentist asked if I wanted Novocain, and I said ‘no’. He asked about when he was finished, and then reported he had witnessed this before, usually when the client was very tired.

    I also suffer from severe migraines, since 1990. The worst of them had me in tears, sometimes insane with pain and fear for many hours on end. Further, this past year I went through chemo and radiation therapy for colon cancer. Over several months I was on the strongest possible dose of hydromorphone, and had to kick it or die. In the process, I’ve learned how to ‘conduct’ pain and fear by becoming gradually more and more willing to feel them both completely without making a negative judgment. This has been made possible because I’ve been given (by Adi Da Samraj, my spiritual master) the growing capacity to feel non-separateness from the One Being Who is the reality context of all experience.

    I live every day with more or less intense pain and fear, and yet I am happy; in fact I’m far happier than I was before having to live with this severe chronic discomfort. The extensive literature on pain management is further testimony to the possibility of profound growth in happiness through learning to live with pain.

    I conclude that suicide is not a good choice. I admit that some people do not have the option to make a rational decision about the matter, but perhaps this situation could be somewhat ameliorated by making the topic less taboo and taking into account the testimony of those who know about death (and life) most fully.

    • Thanks for sharing, sir.

      Yes, the modern taboo about acknowledging or talking about death seems to be a source of enormous anxiety in our culture.

      Yes, I’ve tried reading the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and it’s definitely not written in a simple manner, and although the book has been popularized by folks like WY Evan-Wentz, I don’t know that it was ever intended as a stand-alone text to instruct people all about death. The other book you mentioned seems much better in that sense.

      I was going to quote from a range of Tibetan and Buddhist and Hindu texts and teachers in this article, but then I thought, why? It’s kind of simpler to just keep it short.

      The topics of death and pain and disappointment are very interesting topics. Just allowing myself to think about them feels relieving somehow.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      I think that I’m going to buy this one.

      Could you perhaps give me a synopsis of some of the content?

    • Terry   Thumb up +1

      The book Easy Death by Adi Da Samraj can be checked out atits website, which is http://www.easydeathbook.com/

  2. I got the following comment from a reader, via email, speaking about Robin Williams (please remember that I encourage comments from a wide range of people, so long as they seem to be trying to contribute to the discussion):

    Given all the MASSIVE suffering out in the world and on so very many levels, someone in his position has at least the means to effectively deal with any tribulation: he is smart, highly intuitive and extremely well-funded. Any sort of man with these possessions of being should easily find a way to fix or at least track down the needed fix to whatever ails him.

    If he was heavily involved in dark magic, then it’s easy to see how his soul could be blinded to right potential and beingness. The demonic aspects would keep him blind to all good and goodness.

    Or, he was murdered.

    A great many celebrities over the years seem to pop off around ritual dates and times. Too many to be just coincidence.

    . . .

    I don’t know what to make of this, just sharing it because that’s what I do with interesting blog comments.

    I know some celebrities openly advertise their interest or involvement in occultism or black magic. Otherwise I don’t have any first-hand knowledge of such things. There’s a good book by Dave McGowan about celebrity suicides called “Inside Laurel Canyon”.

  3. Christina   Thumb up +9

    When I was 17 I tried to commit suicide but it was a failed attempt. When I read the statement~
    “It’s profoundly isolating, and you feel that literally no one can comprehend you, and you’re not wrong.” My guts sank because this hits the nail strait on in my situation. & the other part, about people regretting it. That was true for me to, except that at that age, the first thing that i thought and still think is….”What a stupid thing to do”.

    I took a bunch of heart pills from my fathers medicine cabinet at lunch time…about 3 full bottles and laid down beside my bed to die. Both my parents were divorced & I was living with my father at the time, my mother was an alchoholic. I was having an affair with my boyfriends friend and we got caught, and in a fit of rage, (which was not uncommon), he told me to just end it and so that was what i went to do. I wrote him a letter and he got it, disreguarded it but another of his friends came over to our apartment and found me on the floor & took me to the hospital. It was by far the dumbest thing i have ever done. I had no understanding back then about feelings and emotions and how they can unbearably wash over me & how to deal with it.

    Today, I still have those feelings. But not the same kind. This world is almost unbearable to me. The pain & suffering people go through is almost too much to comprehend for me. I dont understand any of it. I watch people complain about their lives, or lack there of and can do nothing. I see people starving in far off places and It puts me into so much grief that they do not receive what they want~ and so much confusion as to why there is so much confusion & then I read things & all it does is confuse me more with all the big words of dieties and efforts and strategies and alignments you must make in this life…really? Why? Why do people make up all this convoluted imagery to make sense of everything, reducing it all to a trinket or a word… I dont understand, & yet i find myself doing the same at times.

    Two years ago again, I felt unbearably hopeless, but instead of myself actually trying to take pills, I went to a hotel at midnight and checked in and cried for hours and begged God to take me away from this place, I mean really begged him and then just laid there waiting & feeling the surge of unbearable energy in my body without doing anything about it, I was just waiting & feeling it all…waiting for the whole thing to pass, which it did hours later. So those painful moments still arrive, rarely at that level, but they do and instead of doing something about it, I do nothing & wait and the storm passes. But that is not what people tell you to do, they tell you to fix yourself and read stupid stuff and do rituals and purify yourself with whatever. But none of that works for me I just have to lay there & wait. sometimes it can take a long time, but eventually it will pass.

    I cant speak to pain really. Physical pain that is, but I have had bad physical pain & for me but only to be very still & let it leave instead of cramping down on it works. It cant stay in the body it is too much.

    It is very sad to see someone who everyone thinks has it all perfect & is happy & funny, but is suffering much. It is probably that they know there is so much pain in the world, why add to it. it makes no sense, but people do because they dont know any better, & they just try bring joy & laughter & Beauty which sometimes helps. That is all I can do & that feels good.

    • Thanks for sharing Christina. Very moving story. I’ve felt some of those exact same things before.

    • Lynne   Thumb up +3

      I really like you Christina. Your transparent and real and easy to feel. It seems to be a rare quality revealed these days. I read what you wrote and it has me reflecting on what I am feeling is really important. Like the simple stuff. People dismiss the human element and, like you say, go for all the high brow techniques to deal with anxiety. I do it myself. That is why I value friends who will consider serious things with me and also take me back to fundamentals. Like, am I eating well, getting enough sleep, being honest and sharing the inside on the outside. Am I loving people in a real sense rather than in my imagination, bringing care to them and all that sort of thing. The world is so complex and fast and pretty fucked in many ways. We all seem to agree on this pretty much yet habits of isolation seem pretty strong. That’s part of why I like this site because it helps me to see broader points of view and consider my own limitations and values amongst it.

      I am not sure I ever considered suicide. I was anorexic in my teens which could be considered a slow suicide but I do not think it was really about getting out of here. I certainly have gone through periods of the type of feeling you describe. It has sunk me into holes. Somehow, and I think it is by grace and finding my spiritual teacher, I generally find that the worlds suffering, and feeling it, allows for a compassion that serves to open my heart, slow down and do simple stuff. Like praise folks. Not as a superficial taking on of a thing but genuinely. We do not see the good in each other enough from what I observe and if we do then we do not acknowledge it. Okay, we all have a whole bunch of unconscious dark stuff but a little praise goes a long way if it is meant.

      And touch is fundamental. You know that thing about babies dying if they are not touched. We humans do not touch each other enough. I do not mean sexually. I just mean loving the body that is dying. And all our bodies are dying. Even the really rich ones. We have all this effort going on to achieve a lifetime of goals but I walk down a street and feel all the pressures in the bodies, their shapes and speed of movement, and just want to lie them down and touch them so they relax and get filled up with some nourishing care. Simple stuff that feed the being in ways that allow us to then serve each other from a nurtured rather than empty place. The world feel empty to me and it’s on the mouse wheel at warp speed, distracted by illusions about what will fill it up. I am with you about beauty, real beauty, that kind that comes in magic moments and opens you right up.

      Thanks for all being honest here.

  4. Parinirvana   Thumb up +3

    The zealots who blindly spout fundie religious crap at people, when discussing such an emotive topic as this, are profoundly insensitive.

    I would ask…

    Does life have an enduring purpose, in itself?

    If so, what is it? If not, what does that mean?

    How would intense, prolonged suffering further such a purpose, so as to make the endurance meaningful?

    To what end?

    I was appalled to read that a man suffering from permanent ‘locked-in syndrome’ in my country has been denied the right to end his own life, despite his desperate, tearful pleading.

    What good can come of his emotional, mental, and physical agony? What inner processes could lead to freedom from suffering, when in that state?

    And, as always, the biggie; IS THERE FREE WILL?

    • Thanks for sharing sir.

      I was planning to quote from a big bunch of religious and spiritual “authority figures” for this article, but something told me not to. Maybe a wise decision. The NDE researchers I quoted – Raymond Moody and the other one – I feel they have a lot of integrity, for what that’s worth, in terms of reporting their findings accurately. Though I think it’s good to look at multiple sources and not rely on just one source.

      I would encourage you to explore accounts of near death experiences, if the topic interests you. For me, if the accounts are genuine and honest, they provide a kind of “evidence”, giving some sense for how it all works, what happens when we die, and why we’re here.

      Adi Da suggested that near-death experiences can be useful to look at, except that 1) generally they only describe the beginning stages of the death process, rather than the whole experience, and 2) people tend to see their own relatives and their own idea of “God” (if we can use that word). So if someone in Bangladesh sees God looking a certain way, it doesn’t prove that God or Reality always looks that way, universally, to everyone. NDE’s don’t prove one religious sect’s superiority over all others, in that sense, it seems.

      There’s a video my teacher recommends called “Saved by the Light” about a chap named Danion Brinkley. It’s available on youtube last time I checked. The production quality is not so great, but I really enjoyed the story, once it got going. It touches on some of the issues you raise about free will and so on. I think you might enjoy it if you have time to check it out.

      As far as people having the right to end their own lives, I certainly would not stop anyone, at least not by force. I do think that suicide is probably a mistake in all cases, but I think people need to make their own decisions about that, like everything else, so long as they’re not harming someone (other than themselves) physically.

      Certainly an interesting topic – death, not to mention pain and misery.

    • Christina   Thumb up +3

      To your questions I would answer yes, to take care of my Children and support my Husband and try and heal the Earth as best i can in this little spot i occupy. I dont know what that means, except that when I do decide to die then I will probably know, but the fact is that i dont know now but I do see the fruit of living my life the way I do and so that is all i can go by now. If I knew that my children would live if I had to die, ( if I had to push one out of the way to avoid a train per say) then there is no question, I would do it without thinking. I dont think many Mothers would even think about it, or fathers for that matter. So thinking about that there would be no fear it would be a timeless moment. Like a no death. I believe free will exists but within the consequences, no. Unless some sacrifice is made to reverse the damage. Like a penance or true reflection & renounciation. That is where Grace comes in. I think grace is magical. That probably sounds weird but some things are not meant to be understood in my mind. My biggest fear is freezing to death, Im not sure why but if i was going to freeze to death, and i knew it, hmmmm, not sure what I would do, but it is comforting to know that those people who jumped out of the 911 towers were at peace, for whatever reason.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +3

      It would be interesting to examine the different religious/spiritual traditions and their attitudes towards suicide, I just object to them being used as arguments by people who want to force others into their way of thinking.

      I’m acquainted with NDE’s, and Brinkley has come up before. I’ll check that ‘Saved by the Light’ thingy out.

      The website nderf.org has a massive collection of accounts, in the thousands, and is updated regularly, if you haven’t already come across it. To me, they seem too subjective and individual to reach any solid conclusions about post-mortem life, from them. Note that the brain releases a dump truck of DMT at the time of death, a substance that is found in psychedelics consumed for entheogenic purposes, like in ayahuasca brews.

      So you don’t feel that even voluntary euthanasia is EVER morally justifiable, or ever the ‘right’ choice?

    • Christina   Thumb up +2

      I grew up with men and one of the things I did was to tear off the heads of Doves when they went hunting & I tried to do it as quickly as possible after the dogs brought them back. When I feel into this now it makes me feel sick. I knew they were going to die and so it was meant to be from my standpoint & looking back I never even thought about it, now it would be much harder for me but i know i could do it. Last night our cat caught a baby bunny and gave it to my dog, It was bleeding. I knew it was going to die and so i took it to pasture to die. That was very painful for me. I dont like to see anything suffer. Once I was riding my horse and a bird had got hit by a car and was lying in a ditch flopping around, my horse started moving toward the ditch and I was a little worried because i didnt want to ride in that ditch, but he deliberatley, went against my will, (he was very determined at times & dangerous) and stepped right on that bird, smack center and killed it. I never forgot about that. I was riding with this very old woman and she saw the whole thing and told me what happened because I didnt understand how he could just go straight over there and step on it.

    • john dough   Thumb up 0

      Just to caution you, you seem very angry and dismissive of the “fundamentalist” orientation as though you think nobody here might be sympathic to such a “point of view.”

      (rest of comment edited by moderator)

    • Folks, this is a good time to revisit my comment policy which is really simple. Some of the footnotes on that page are good as well.

      Being angry is okay, using colorful language might be okay, expressing emotions is okay. It really depends on the context.

      Criticizing other people who post comments… I’d like to discourage this, unless it’s done in a very simple way that itself sets a good example for the rest of us. Does that make sense?

    • If a man believes there’s no free will, does that imply that consciousness is secondary to material phenomena?

      Does most government-run education tend to teach us (or imply) that there’s no free will, to the extent they even address such a topic? Where do we get this idea from?

      As I understand it, quantum mechanics – such as Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle – tells us that consciousness might have a senior role to play, somehow, in the outcome of physical events.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      Whoa, the comments went a tad crazy while I was out.

      How did ‘I hate n***ers’ possibly come from my initial comment? I am certainly not ‘sympathetic’ with any POV like that.

      The Fundie part was directed at those who, in response to discussions surrounding suicide/euthanasia, simply throw Bible/Qu’ran/whatever verses at those facing such issues, out of sheer spite and ego, rather than an earnest desire to explore the controversies, for the sake of compassion and doing right by people.

      As for free will, well…

      From the absolute standpoint, there is no identity on which to pin such concepts. It’s just another duality.

      Consciousness, as in ‘I Am’, needs an object to be conscious of. In that respect, it is a counterpart of matter, of whatever vibrational frequency. Consciousness is always ‘of’ something. Where there is changelessness, self-consciousness cannot be. Only pure awareness.

      So if consciousness requires the body to be, and the existence and condition of the body is determined by it’s environment, then… where is the free will? The consciousness arises where there is constraint and compulsion, in the form of the body. The body is a conditioned process. It’s a chicken-and-egg kind of deal.

      We may have will in the form of the Heart, and it may somehow have an impact on events extraneous to itself, but could it be said to be ‘free?’

      Hmmm…

      Also, capitalist society is (in theory) geared around the idea of meritocracy. The idea that the poor are deserving of their fate, as they didn’t work hard enough and made wrong choices, and that you make it through by ‘pluck and application’, ‘pull yourself up by the bootstraps’, et cetera. Does that sound like a society that disregards free will, to you?

    • Christina   Thumb up +1

      Perhaps that comment from John Dough was directed at me & not Parinirvana.
      I did many things when I was younger that looking back I would never do now, unless something was obviously going to die & I had to relieve it. I don’t edit myself at certain times because my belief is that context overrides content. that may be a big mistake on my part, but I am sure it will be more understood overtime.

      As far as being quiet, how can I be instructed that way? I would rather say something entirely stupid & insensitive that was true than that which was super intellectual & sensitive that was not to for my self. The remark you made about race though was interesting, because I never felt that way ever, even though my adopted family was very openly racist around me. I always thought that was really weird. And as far as Yahweh is concerned, he would never leave a Woman out. I can promise you that.

      So, I am very openly sorry if I have offended anyone here with my questions or my experiences. It is not my intent at all to offend. My earnest intent is to Learn authenticity & truth…everyones truth. There are many very very wise people here & I am grateful to learn from you all.

  5. brian   Thumb up +6

    I read an article by a doctor who specializes in resuscitation science, and has frequent occasion to try and revive suicided people. One thing he said was that all the people he talks to that have jumped off a bridge reported that as soon as they began to actually fall, they changed their minds. That was interesting.

    The people that jumped off the world trade center on 9-11 are another case. Some I have seen on youtube appeared resigned and even relaxed on the way down, maybe relieved to at least be able to breathe and escape the flames.

    I once considered suicide to escape being tortured, but I was too afraid to try it.

    • Some friends of mine had a sizeable meditation hall setup about 6-7 blocks from the world trade center in lower Manhattan. Some of them, especially some of the ladies, reported a lot of ghost activity right after 9/11.

      Interesting what you say about people having a change of mind after leaping.

    • bodhibody   Thumb up +2

      “Interesting what you say about people having a change of mind after leaping.” > Has to do with the thought process. Thoughts are in the realm of imagination (duality). A person trying to bring about change through action of jumping. Relief from suffering. Imagined (mental) or physical from injury or illness, is same experience in the body, pain. Once you leap the thought process more or less comes to an end and bodies natural survival instinct kicks in, too late, you can’t change the situation, but you see what is coming. Transcendental Reality, which is why pics of people seen falling from the World Trade Center look peaceful. There are no more choices. (non-duality). Sometimes permanent shift, if person survives the fall.

  6. Parinirvana   Thumb up +3

    Isn’t the fabled Enlightenment total voluntary annihilation of the person, in every sense? To find freedom?

    Isn’t that just a more complete form of suicide? What’s the difference?

    It’s a form of suicide where the inner Heart is as willing as the body-mind, to let go.

    When questioned as to what is wrong with suicide…

    ‘Nothing wrong, if it solves the problem. What, if it does not? Suffering caused by extraneous factors – some painful and incurable disease, or unbearable calamity – may provide some justification, but where wisdom and compassion are lacking, suicide cannot help. A foolish death means foolishness reborn. Besides there is the question of karma to consider.
    Endurance is usually the wisest course.’

    Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That

    Let’s bear in mind also, that most people in the West are truly disillusioned by all things spiritual (thanks to organised religion and wrong doctrine) and are atheists/materialists, at least at the level of the mind, so the question of what happens after, doesn’t really arise.

    • You’re asking if enlightenment is the same thing as suicide?

      My sense is that they are very different things. One seems to be free and happy and radiant, the other seems to be violent and self-involved. Though they might both involve a kind of disillusionment about ordinary life pursuits. I think suicide increases the identification with “self”.

      One thing I have to be careful of is thinking that I’m smart just because I have a blog. lol. I was getting sloppy here yesterday.

      Here’s a two-minute clip that, in the second half, sort of addresses a question about annihilation of self, asking if that is related to enlightenment: https://www.youtube.com/v/HLfZjNhnGU8 To me the answer seems to make sense, saying that egoity is an activity rather than an entity.

      It sounds like Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj is being very skillful and diplomatic in asking whether suicide really solves any problems. And whether it’s based on wisdom. He’s answering the question with a question, it sounds like.

      See, I don’t know what kind of scene he was surrounded by, but if he was a public teacher answering questions from random people, he probably was diplomatic and vague-sounding and oblique in how he responded to questions, at times. There is a lot of pressure to be diplomatic as a public teacher, I think. The questioners don’t necessarily have a strong pre-existing relationship with him to build on. I don’t really know, I’m just guessing here.

      Whereas a teacher like Adi Da insisted on being a private teacher, not in public but in a private setting, and only answered questions from people who claimed to be his devoted students. Thus, because of this “limitation” he assumed, Adi Da could afford to be incredibly blunt and direct a lot of the time in how he answered questions. (at least, in the 1970s – 1990s)

      Instead of saying “does suicide solve problems? what if it does not?” He just said plain old what happens when someone commits suicide, based on his own direct observation of these things. The people around him had some trust in what he had to say about it, so he just said it. Makes it all simpler, in a way.

      There were times when Adi Da could be a trickster, but in his main talks that are in the books I don’t think there’s much of that, if any.

      “Endurance usually is the wisest course.” I’m glad people tell us these things, cause life is a real ordeal sometimes.

  7. Christina   Thumb up +3

    I actually felt really good about it once the decision was made. Better than I had felt in a very very very long time. Remembering back, when the knock was heard on my door, I felt a bit annoyed. Maybe it was because I had thought about releasing myself for a while, even before someone had told me to just do it. For me, it was about getting out of the way and finally reaching peace, But it was not the genuine Peace of Surrender, that I just had never really experienced before in my life when i was young. There was really no other way out of my situation I thought. Im reading I am That, & last night interestingly enough before bed I came across this in my reading.
    Q~”People die willingly quite often.
    M~ “Only when the alternative is worse than death. But such readiness to die flows from the same source as the will to live, a source deeper even than life itself. To be a living being is not the ultimate state; there is something beyond, much more wonderful, which is neither being nor non-being, neither living nor non-living. It is a state of pure awareness, beyond the limitations of space & time. Once the illusion that the body-mind is oneself is abandoned, death loses its terror, it becomes a part of living.”

    What i have noticed in this book is that much is gained by reading it slowly and in succession. Each chapter builds upon itself. But after this discussion yesterday… this chapter~ You Are Free Now, chap 30 on page 106 was where i was at in that progression. Talk about free will, life IS AMAZING & WONDEROUS. Often thinking I have grasped it, but then that to is an illusion.

    Also, thanks you again edu for the resource. I am incredibly grateful.

    • I think the book was rec’d by Parinirvana.

      Didn’t Nisargadatta Maharaj used to sell cigarettes? I have a friend who sells cigarettes who likes him.

    • KB   Thumb up +3

      The ‘world’ propagandizes itself, diverts everyone through the mechanism of attention, guides everyone in the direction of ‘self’-fulfillment, as if the purpose of existence were to become attached to the conditions that are appearing. The purpose of existence is not in its action. The purpose of existence is Inherent. Its purpose is to be submitted to What Is Inherent. The purpose of existence, then, is to transcend conditions, or modifications of What Is Inherent. If you do not live this surrender, this process of transcending egoity, you are binding yourself in this lifetime and beyond it. And, being limited basically to the consciousness of a gross personality, you do not understand what you are doing. You do not understand the consequences of your own actions. You have lost the thread of tradition and the ancient ‘experience’. You do not know what you are creating for yourself as a result of your actions in this lifetime. You are frittering your lives away with Western karmas, and you do not understand the results of doing that, in this life and after it. You spend your life puzzling away whether there is God or whether there is any survival of death, and so forth. And, all the while, there is God and there is survival of death. But there is more than God and survival of death. There are laws in all of that. There are all different kinds of ways to get up in the morning, too, all different kinds of ‘experiences’ that follow getting up in the morning—so with death. What determines your ‘experience’ after death is what you have inherited in the deeper unconscious being as a result of your action, when you had the capability of action. I remember Saying to you many years ago that while you are alive, you make the mind, and when you die, the mind makes you. By your action, all the while now, you are putting things, so to speak, in this unconscious, this deeper personality, which is outside the brain. You are enforcing and reinforcing patterns. You are patterning it. You are (in some sense) indulging in what is there in the unconscious, but you are also adding to it. And all your life, in most cases, the unconscious is just that—unconscious. That is why you wonder whether you survive death, because you are not aware of the greater part. Then, when you die, the conscious part falls off, the physical falls off, and that which was unconscious before, which is outside the brain, is now ‘who’ you are—and ‘where’ you are. It is a place. It is the mind-realm. This is what follows life. Death is by no means simply a doorway to ‘heaven’. What is on your mind now when you lose physical attention? What kinds of thoughts do you have, what kinds of dreams do you have, what kinds of fears do you have? That makes your ‘experience’ after death. While you are alive, you have physical concentration and a brain that locks you away from the so-called ‘unconscious’. You have an opportunity while alive to purify yourself. But, instead, all that ‘stuff’ is not ‘there’ now. It is outside the brain. And, so, you think it does not even exist, and (therefore) just indulge yourself in physical life as if the physical exists for its own sake. It is not there for its own sake. It is there to help you purify the deeper being, the deeper personality, to the point where you can Realize What Transcends even the deeper personality. Conditionally manifested existence is an opportunity for Realization. But most people do not understand that this is so. The body-based mind, the gross personality, is ruling the ‘world’, creating ‘world’-culture, creating everyone’s destiny. What I have Fully Realized and am Offering to you as an Opportunity, or to everyone in general, may not make sense to most people. They have lost the tradition, lost the ‘experience’. Nonetheless, many people might be somehow attracted to this Offering, because things do not go all that well. Devotion to one’s gross existence does not produce Happiness, so people become dissatisfied with the entire range of things and become heart-sensitized to some degree. Many may (therefore) be capable of responding to this Offering, and through ‘consideration’ may develop the appreciation of the Opportunity.” Avatar Adi Da Samraj

    • Christina   Thumb up +3

      Oh…my mistake sorry. Thank you Parinirvana. :)

    • Thanks for sharing KB.

      By the way, paragraph breaks are our friends. :) And unlike on Facebook, the “return” or “enter” key is not going to bite us here, thankfully. You can hit “return” as often as you like, and it won’t submit the comment.

      Also I encourage people to share their own feelings and responses and opinions, as they are moved. Even if it’s just a sentence. Such as… do you like this quote? Have you found it useful?

      My own sense is that teachings are not only commodities we could share, they are not only treasures we could venerate, but they are also something we could touch and caress and put in our mouth and taste and chew and so on. And then tell a friend what happened when it got all the way to our stomach.

      I believe Adi Da once said we could make love to his teachings. And the books should be worn and marked and dog-eared. :)

      Also… I don’t want to get in trouble with publishers so maybe let’s be reasonable how big of quotes we post. Something I have to remember myself. Just another way of respecting the rights of others, I think.

      Great quote KB. Thank you and welcome.

  8. Edu   Thumb up +3

    I’m currently strugling against psychic attack (yes folks this things exist!).

    I’m not a depressive person. Nor suicidal. Never was. I also didn’t knew about the actor’s death, as I don’t watch TV.

    Guess what kind of unusual thoughts I had this week? Suicide/Nihislistic!

    Ah, it figures…

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      I think that such experiences actually have incalculable spiritual value, as detachment and dispassion are called for, plus conscious, constant discrimination between the non-Self/ego, and the Self/Spirit.

      If you simply see these thoughts and feelings as neither you nor yours, not under your control, how could they even be an issue? It’s the false identification with these phenomena that causes the suffering, and that false identification perpetuates itself, if left unchecked.

      I’ve gone through some similar things (I gift orgone too, BTW), and I have found the above to be generally accurate.

    • Sorry to hear that.

      Not paying attention to TV or the news sounds like a smart idea. I gave up TV last winter, and recently gave up Facebook. Kind of a relief from distraction I don’t need.

  9. Lynne   Thumb up +1

    Okay, I just viewed a video and visited a website called deadatnoon.com which has been posted by Gillian Bennett, post the taking of her own life on Monday.

    I have to say that I support her brave choice and how consciously she planned her death with a bigger picture in mind. It does not appear to be a foolish death as Sri Nisargadatta Majaraj suggested in Parinirvana’s post.

    Each death stands on its own merits so it seems to me. Her measure and understandings of the world dictated her death. In another context with a different understanding or point of view she might of done otherwise but within the integrity of her conscious awareness this process seems honest to me.

    More food for thought for us anyway.

    • I just checked out the link.

      Are boredom and discomfort reasons to take a life?

      The words on the website seem cogent enough. It doesn’t sound like the author is a vegetable. But to each their own I guess.

    • Lynne   Thumb up +1

      Hmm. I don’t have an answer to your question. It seems she had a variety of reasons for taking her life. They seem primarily altruistic from her point of view.

      She certainly seems to have not been a vegetable. She considered it and left a form of gift in her wake. We have no idea if she regretted the decision as she begun moving through the death process.

      I also viewed a video of her family speaking in the last few days. They were obviously heartbroken but maintaining a relationship of sorts with her even now. I appreciated that.

      And I feel my limitations of point of view. Like life is a straight line or something. But psychically this is not so. I have sometimes commented to friends that maybe this is the afterworld now. They have laughed . But really, there is such a dream quality to this place, a plasticity that is really tangible. So when I feel to her I kinda grok a logic but I cannot hang onto it for very long.

      Would I have held her hand as she died. Hard call but I think so, for now anyway. If I suffer dementia do I feel I would consider suicide as an option for myself. I doubt it.

      Same room, different scene. All around.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      I have to agree with the BOT student.

      I think that it is a challenge for any of us, myself included, to accurately gauge just how precious this life is, until we are truly facing the end. No way back.

      Consider how much the Divine Intelligence has brought forth, just to get us here in these bodies, able to even reflect upon the very nature of That which brought us here, and even become It in time, as is our destiny.

      Think of the atoms, cells, micro-organisms, minerals, et cetera, that functioned for our construction, and indeed, still are functioning right now. Each an equitable part of the Self, experiencing and working as that expression affords.

      Can you grasp the deep divinity behind that? The reality guiding you through all of these thoughts, feelings, and experiences?

      We are all part of an unimaginably vast ocean of Love. One Love.

      Alone, we are but a formless essence of the Love/Reality. The rest has been granted to us, by the other expressions of that same Love, and ‘their’ sacrifices, struggles, sufferings, and loves.

      With that in mind, look upon all you have been given.

      I myself have neurological issues not at all dissimilar from the lady linked on that site, albeit less severe. But I’m also much, much younger, and have several other issues besides, that most others I know have never had to deal with.

      From what I have just seen she lives in a seriously plush, opulent home in a beautiful, picturesque portion of New Zealand, surrounded by an abundance of chlorophyll, negative ions and general nature goodness. She can express herself intelligibly. Quite well, in fact.

      I dare say that she could have found ways of dealing with her deteriorating memory, or perhaps even alternative healthcare means of arresting the rate of decline, despite her age.

      Very few people on this planet appear to have the level of awareness necessary to approach life meaningfully and with full sincerity.

    • Lynne   Thumb up +1

      It is such an interesting thing. I know I am not speaking from the deepest of place in relation to where you point Parinirvana, so I am qualifying what I am saying…. but……as a mother, if I threw myself on my child to save her life as a heavy something as it fell on her, knowing it would crush me, would that be an acceptable form of suicide?

      I kinda get that Gillian had some of that going on for her family and the State as she called it. Preventing their suffering. I know there are other ways. I have read both beautiful and horrendous stories associated with dementia.

      There is an opportunity to transcend limitation in any moment and your last sentence seems very true to me.

  10. Paul   Thumb up +2

    I really enjoyed this post. I was really sad about Robin Williams passing and this was a heartfelt and helpful consideration.

  11. Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

    I’m facing a situation right now that may have some parallels with this discussion.

    My dog (Black Lab – around twelve human years old) is really quite sick. Took her to the vet; just like our doctors, they basically have shrugged their shoulders, and handed us some antibiotics.

    She’s lost the vast majority of her hearing, and she is almost completely blind now, too, thanks to her cataracts. It’s getting so bad, that we recently have had to physically guide her around the house, lest she bump into things all day.

    As if that isn’t bad enough, she now has a temperature and is extremely lethargic.

    For the past year, it’s been a slow, progressive deterioration of her health, and loss of her senses.

    I’m beginning to feel as though the most compassionate thing to do would be to have her put to sleep, rather than let her suffer the ongoing pain and limitations.

    A dear member of our family, she has been with me for half of my life. She has seen me through some tough times, poor girl.

    Very sad.

    • Lynne   Thumb up +2

      Sorry to read about your dear companion. You obviously love her very deeply. It sounds like she is going through her own process. Maybe she is near passing.

      When our last cat, boots, got old and very sick we made the decision to have him put down. He went very gracefully. I wondered if I should of left him under the bush rather than have him take the trip to the vet but I suppose my sense was that he was okay whichever way it went.

      Animals seem to have a lot to teach us about passing and lack of resistance to the process.

      May you assist her well and trust your sense with her.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      Thank you.

      If she regains her health (apart from her limited hearing and eyesight) do you think that I should leave her to be a doggie for a little longer?

      Is the deprivation of two of her main senses, ‘reason’ enough to go the euthanasia route? Given that dogs perhaps do not have the same level of awareness that we have, she must identify with her body entirely, and thus the suffering is all the more real, to her, than it would be to me.

      She’s quite poorly at the moment. We’re having to lift her out of the house, for the toilet. She’s narcoleptic and apart from toilet and food, she doesn’t really move at all. I don’t think that she’s in severe pain, per se.

      This sucks. My best friend is fading away.

    • Lynne   Thumb up +2

      I am sorry.

      You know, my sense is that animals main sense is really psychic. And their embodiment actually allows them a type of freedom that us more head oriented humans do not attain so easily.

      Does she have permission to go? Have you sat with her and patted her and told her it is okay to go? Maybe she would benefit from that if she felt held back in any way. And maybe if prayers are part of any practice you have then that may serve her well for an easeful transistion.

      I am also feeling animals psychic connections as we speak of this. And how they often leave great gifts even as they appear to be suffering. And there is no accounting for mysterious timings in passing.

      We often have dogs in the healing treatment rooms I work in. We have all learnt to trust that when a dog goes up and touches peoples bodies that it is an indication of a problem there. They are very direct communicators but I am sure you know this from your experience.

      I don’t know that I should really give advice directly about this but when I feel into her and you and what is unfolding then my biggest sense is not to ethunaise her. I do not know why I say that but that is my gut on it unless something drastic changes in her pain process.

      Continue to live with an open heart. The wound hurts but it is space through which love shines.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      We’ll see. She’s going back to the vet tomorrow, for all the good it does.

      I’ve been doing research online, but I can’t really match the symptoms with any one condition or disease. It’s peculiar. She was only recently at the kennel, but it’s a very good one that she has been going to from the beginning. It isn’t ‘kennel cough’ or any of that.

      I’ve been praying, blessing, and sat with her for most of the afternoon, where able.

    • I’m not an expert in these matters, but it’s my understanding that animals have FAR less identification with their bodies than people do.

      If an animal in the wild gets sick or injured, what they do as I understand it is go someplace secluded, sit, and fast from food and water, with their body in contact with the earth. Then they either heal – often remarkably – or they don’t. Either way, a positive change comes relatively quickly, which they embrace in either case. I’ve heard that wild animals can drop the body with almost the same ease that we can snap our fingers.

      As humans we tend to think we are superior to animals, and in some ways maybe we are. In any case, we often think we know what is best for them, and with our good intentions, we tend to want to interfere with what they themselves would do if they were living out in the wild.

      So if I was going to butt my nose into your situation with your dog, I would be curious to know… does your dog have a strong desire to get up and go find food to eat every day? Or does she prefer to sit still? Does she mainly eat, almost as an automatic reflex, when food is put right in front of her nose?

      Here’s a story an aquaintance of mine wrote that you might appreciate: No Fish Is To Die. I setup this website in 1997 – it was my first foray into websites. Unfortunately I don’t like some of the changes that were made after I left. Oh, here’s something else good, maybe even more interesting: talk from 2008.

    • Maybe the most important question is… do you have people you can talk to about your dog – not about her physical condition, but about what it’s like emotionally to have a pet go through such changes…?

      . . .

      Going back to the Robin Williams stuff… when human beings think of suicide, we think of doing something violent to take control of a situation. But when wild animals stop eating, and die, is it violent in the same way? Or is it more of an acceptance and embrace of something?

      Some people say fasting can be a profound method of healing the body’s ailments, particularly the way animals do it. So not eating is not simply a way of being negligent towad the body, in animals, as it might be in, say, anorexic girls. If an animal doesn’t eat, we might project our own feelings and ideas about it onto the animal’s situation, presuming something negative when maybe it’s not a negative situation.

      It’s interesting to me to see how different animals are from us, and yet how similar.

    • Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

      Fingers crossed, we’re on top of it, now.

      Her appetite is back, she is able to walk normally, breathing and heartbeat normal, tail wagging again, et cetera.

      Thank you all for your words of support.

      On another note, I have run into a bit of a crisis of my own, but that’s another thingy.

      Oh well.

  12. Lynne   Thumb up +1

    I am pleased your girl is feeling better.

    I remember you were a bit concerned in an earlier posts about hijacking them and I cannot speak for the owner of this blog but if you had something going on that you wanted to share I am sure that is probably fine. I know in my life generally things do not happen in isolation. Things on the inside begin to be reflected on the outside. I can be a very random expressor of things at times but my worldview I pretty much see constant threads from a multiple of directions all converging. I have learnt to observe this and not attach to much meaning to it except in the sense of it being part of the Great Mystery.

  13. Parinirvana   Thumb up +1

    Why does bad stuff happen to good people? And good to bad?

    After all of the high and mighty spiritual effluvium and detritus, like ‘karma’ (yeah, right), how is this disharmony explained, and actually going to be resolved? REAL solutions, as opposed to calling it all an illusion that must be escaped from by going into some ‘mindless state.’

    Adults with the mental age of a three year old, courtesy of mercury injected straight into their bloodstreams, is not an illusion. The suffering and despair of their parents, as they juggle two jobs AND care for that adult, who may not even be able to use the bathroom unassisted… these things are not illusions, and it is downright offensive to say so, especially coming from some middle-class, effete New Age doucher, who probably works for the public sector.

    In the final analysis, life just seems a pointless exercise and struggle in conditions of arbitrary cruelty. And yet, once self-consciousness appears, it’s continuation is strongly desired and very, very hard to let go off, despite the suffering that it causes. What a terrible position for any sentient being to be placed in.

    It ISN’T relative. For some, life is a fount of continuous blessings and gifts, wealth, and comfort. For others, it’s a terrible, heartbreaking living nightmare of bitter suffering, fear, pain, grief, sorrow, humiliation, and dwindling faith in humanity, learned through hard experience.

    Where is Spirit for those people? For the many good people suffering so, why does it not become more solidified and real in their day-to-day experience?

    Why has it happened so?

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