A friend who once worked as a psychiatrist in a posh town in California once said to me that he saw the act of suicide as a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Ironically, his own crazily hedonistic lifestyle militated against his innate wisdom and he himself later tried to commit suicide. But I never forgot his words, especially since I lost a few friends in this manner; every single time I heard someone had offed themselves the shock was great. The worst news was the suicide of a lovely woman I knew in New York. One fine day in fall, she had gone home and shot herself with a gun she had just bought, and that too before her beloved cat. Since she lived alone on the top floor of a condo, her body was not found for several days, and that poor cat had to be a witness to the gradual decomposition of the body of his beloved mistress. I was in a restaurant enjoying brunch with a friend when I heard the news; I literally screamed—because I had once been close to her. She had been a strong Zen practitioner, calm, quiet and loving, and also the last person in the world I would have thought would have killed herself. Later I heard she left a note saying she was going over to the other side to see what it was like, or something asinine in that vein, which just goes to show that we should never go by a façade.
I love the teachings of the East because they tell us clearly that getting rid of the physical body, which is just a mix of the great elements of fire, air, earth, water and consciousness, and run by the three “gunas” of rajas, tamas and sattva, does not get rid of our suffering. Simply put, our immortal Spirit takes a new form and the suffering continues. This nugget of mystical information should be enough to stop us from ever contemplating suicide, but then, how many on the planet today give a damn for eastern philosophy, or even know that its ancient truths are priceless?
Gautama Buddha’s First Noble Truth, Life is Suffering, means that we are not been personally victimized by a sadistic god when we suffer; no, we are merely experiencing the results of our past thought, speech and action in countless lifetimes. Gautama goes on to state that there is a sure way out of suffering, and this truth is echoed by all sages and mystics who assure us that our true nature, the very substratum of our being, is nothing less than immortal existence, pure awareness and unalloyed bliss. What does this mean? Simply that all shades of unhappiness are false. So while there are situations and circumstances beyond the purview of this post, for ordinary folk who feel so down that ending their lives begins to sound like an attractive proposition, just keep moving forward despite the fear and the pain, one step at a time; sooner or later you will turn the hairpin bend of angst and find yourself on a bright and spacious road that leads to the realization that your essence is, and always has been, perfect immortal bliss.
Greetings from Arunachala, Shiva the Destroyer in the form of a hill of fire and light, who initially intensifies our darkness so that we can see our relative selves clearly and burn off all that we no longer need, and live in the eternal sunlight of Spirit.
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You once asked me what it was that I found so appealing about the Hindu and Eastern thought. You have summed it up. Peace.
Thank you, Vance, hope you are shining!
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Mira Prabhu on Suicide