Painting. Rajasthan. c. 18th century A.D.
| tadyatha om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha |
Suicide and Self-Loathing
Stepping away from the Stream of Toxic Thoughts
Help from a compassionate Spiritual Friend
Self-rejuvenation and reconstruction of relationships is possible, even after a catastrophic collapse
| WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN THINGS ARE UNBEARABLE? |
When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times
by Pema Chödrön, p. 66–67
| "Trungpa Rinpoche once asked a group of students, "What do you do when you get squeezed? |
What do you do when things are unbearable?”
We all sat there, wondering what to say. Then he called on us one by one.
We were so scared that we answered very genuinely.
Almost all of us said something to the effect that we just completely fell apart, forgot about practice altogether, and became totally habitual in our reactions.
Needless to say, after that we noticed very clearly what we did when we felt attacked, betrayed, or confused, when we found situations unbearable or unacceptable.
We began to really notice what we did. Did we close down, or did we open up? Did we feel resentful and bitter, or did we soften? Did we become wiser or more stupid?
As a result of our pain, did we know more about what it is to be human, or did we know less? Were we more critical of our world or more generous?"
The True Path
Everybody is working on it. Everyone is working their way, slowly and steadily, toward full merger with the Divine.
Very few are yet blessed with full consciousness of this purpose and path. Nevertheless it is occurring. Nevertheless each person seeks information, validation, identity, and wisdom along the path toward unification.
| The social nature of male suicide: a new analytic model |
Mark Kaplan et al
|"The suicidal act is an effort to escape an intolerable view of self."|
Mental Seduction Repeating Instruction Loops
Repeating Instruction Loops
Sometimes folks get stuck in a thought-loop , while indeed proceeding up the path, and that loop with its brief but intense repetition is the instructional program for suicide.
The loop contains a compelling, repeating instruction which represents itself as the solution to a permanent problem .
How could a temporary action be the solution to a permanent problem? It is not reasonable, but it is nevertheless a seductively attractive error. Suicide as a one-size-fits-all"solution" seems efficiently lovely in its apparent simplicity.
Suicide provides the delusion of ultimate self-empowerment.
A person who has felt profoundly disempowered by others and disconnected from the source of vital personal goodness may experience, in the moment of making their 'final decision' a rush of self-validating power.
The choice to do something is indeed a choice. Many of those who are able to discuss or announce their suicide use precisely the words "it was the only choice I had left".
Suicide is effective. It is an effective negation of the validity of the soul's right to inhabit the body it built, similar to a power-crazed landlord evicting established tenants from their home. It is a nasty sort of exploitive power but is true power
The pre-decision to commit suicide feels even more powerful and self-determinative because it is a decision one makes on behalf of oneself; no predatory or abusive Other is able to interrupt or control this apparently final flow of one's own power.
Suicide is actually a desperate attempt to regain control of one's life path.
Disappearance of Choices
What can be done to prevent a friend or loved one from committing suicide?
The first step is certainly compassion. Appreciate that the suffering one is trying to regain self-determination and control in order to forge ahead upon their personal path toward God. At this juncture in the path, one has a feeling of absoluteness. In the mind, there is only"one choice left".
How did the remaining dozens of daily choices upon the path, to which a human being is normally entitled by virtue of rational intelligence, suddenly disappear from the field of human consciousness?
| Psychic Predators |
Psychology of Imprisonment
The second step may be to try to identify and disengage the life-force-eating predators.
There is a psychic predator(s) somewhere in this native's network of identity relationships with both people and beliefs. Yes it can be a spirit without a body. However much more often it is a spirit in a body, or a group of them who are hunting in a pack.
The predator(s) have imposed a behavioral regime upon the native which creates the psychological delusion that one is unable to make life-validating choices.
Over a period of time, the predators create an environment of physical or psychological imprisonment (12) which traps the native 's life force in a small space and makes it easy to 'harvest'.
Drained fuel tanks
Loss of self-determination and control
'No matter what I do, it will fail.'
In a suicidal state, one feels that one is being core-controlled by hostile Others. There is no more viciously toxic feeling for the freedom-loving human spirit.
In a drained and dissolute state , it seems that one's life-sustaining resources have already been repossessed by Others."They are after me." That is a foregone conclusion.
Since the supporting fuel sources (physical, emotional, mental, spiritual) seem to have been drained by predators, one is "already dead"and cutting the life-cord which connects the spirit to the physical body seems inevitable.
Typically the thought-loop is short and tight. 'No matter what I do, it will fail.'
One cannot direct one's own course with integrity and enjoyment because Others are in control.
Who are the predators?
To help a suicidal friend, try to find out who and where are the predators.
Often the predators are nice-looking parents who have indoctrinated the native to believe that 'society' has a 'right' to control one's destiny. This deep indoctrination by materialistic parents teaches the child that one"is " (identity) one's family's social dignity. This is the spiritually corrupt culture of social-material"look-good" which denies the primacy of divine intelligence (5) and substitutes a weaker form of 'social opinion' (10) as the ultimate authority.
Although it is the height of contradictory thinking , the native will feel compelled toward self-annihilation as a moral act of social preservation."Save-face" suicides are very common and not only in the Asian cultures where they have become famous. Also in the US, news stories feature adult suicides "caused" by bank foreclosure on 'owned' property or financial misdeeds.
In these cases the parentally misguided native has become attached to the illogical belief that one 'is' one's money, one 'is' one's property, or one 'is' one's social reputation. If the money, property, reputation, spouse, child, or other external object is taken away, the miseducated ego-membrane is so deeply attached to the idea that someone-something so profoundly controls one's destiny that is is 'unthinkable' to go on living. There is simply no resource available for doing so.
| Self-destructive logic|
Psychic Predators and their false claims
Sometimes the predator is a spouse or Other. From within the protected space of an intimate relationship, this Other has penetrated the weakened ego-membrane defenses of the native . The Other has successfully injected the thought-field of the native with the short-loop instruction"you are nothing without Me".
Is there a known agent in the native 's life who has asserted"you are nothing without Me"?
Whether the Entity is a parent, spouse, lover-other, child, social superior, cult-leader, or social-judgment as a anonymous interior voice , this invasive soul-draining agent is a life-force predator.
| Natural self-sufficiency of the Soul|
"You are nothing without Me"
This statement cannot be true.
Each soul has full integrity and no soul depends for its essential life-force entitlements upon any external soul. It may be step-wise helpful along the path for some weaker personalities to assert the truth of the claim you are nothing without Me" in reference to the object"Me" such that"Me" the Supreme Being.
However even this scaffolding will need to be kicked off eventually when subject-object distinctions are eradicated in the final phases of complete merger with the Divine.
Therefore a suicide prevention helper may need to inquire into the native 's core convictions .
| "Loss " of a Beloved One |
It is essential that a spiritual friend who wishes to help redirect the thoughts of a suicidal person should have the deepest possible compassion.
A suicidal person who has recently suffered a material separation from a beloved child, a beloved parent, or a beloved spouse or other Mirror may be"naturally" suffering a profound delusion.
Materialistic (Shani) social indoctrination may have infected the native 's belief system with the claim that the Beloved is "gone".
Nothing could be farther from the truth.
When a formerly incarnated human being separates from the food-eating-body (annamayakosha) the spirit of that being retains complete personality integrity, sans the highly disposable temporary"body".
The Beloved has not gone anywhere; they are fully present; and they can be contacted easily and successfully in meditation .
Here again the belief is the problem.
Nothing is "lost"and nothing is "gone".
No one has run away with one's life-force-energy.
It is not possible for anyone to take one's designated energy reserves without one's permission.
However in the psycho-emotional shock of"death" many people sincerely feel that they cannot go on living without their psycho-mirror-Other. It is a great act of compassion to show the bereaved a path toward reconnection with their beloved, and this is easily accomplished with basic clairsentient skills.
| The role of spiritual friends |
Eradication of predatory Others: entities and thoughts
Correcting logical assertions
Replacing false beliefs with true beliefs
Rebuilding of relationships
Replenishment, restoration, and renewal
Again, it is a failure of logic. Everyone needs an ego-membrane to carry on living in society. That is true. But even after a catastrophic collapse in ego-membrane identification, there is something more secure supporting the ego-membrane (faith, belief, truth, the divine) which persists and forms the foundation for subsequent re-identification, rejuvenation, and renewal.
Luckily, erroneous logic can be corrected via self-examination in the company of compassion and committed spiritual friends.
Furthermore, the source of ego-membrane fuel can be replenished. The 'stolen' resources can be restored. A social life-pattern can be rebuilt and relationships reconstructed, even from prison.
It is important that the spiritual friends who are helping to eradicate the predators and refill the life-force energy resource-tanks are themselves not afraid of death and themselves confident of spiritual survival regardless of physical conditions.
The spiritual friend must be a bulwark of unshakable faith and self-confidence.
14th Dalai Lama 1935- Policy of Kindness Tenzing Gyatso and Howard C. Cutler, M.D.,
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living .
"From the Buddhist point of view, being in a depressed state, in a state of discouragement, is seen as a kind of extreme that can clearly be an obstacle to taking the steps necessary to accomplish one's goals.
A state of self-hatred is even far more extreme than simply being discouraged, and this can be very, very dangerous.
So those people involved in Buddhist practice who suffer from self-hatred or self-loathing should avoid contemplating the suffering nature of existence or the underlying unsatisfactory nature of existence,
And by reflecting upon these opportunities and potentials, they will be able to increase their sense of worth and confidence in themselves."
I have recurring suicidal thoughts. These thoughts frighten me. I don't want to hurt anyone in my family, especially my spouse and children. I love them so much!
But I'm confused and bewildered by how strong and maybe even addictive the suicide thoughts are.
I can really see"doing it". It feels like a great release, almost a spiritual experience. What is going on with me? I'm pretty sure I'll give in to these thoughts eventually, since they are becoming more and more pressing.
Yes I'm depressed, but not every depressed person destroys themself. Why do I want to die?
Karmic Nature of Thought
I agree with you that suicide has terrible consequences for the loved ones "left behind". Most of us have serious trouble getting in touch and staying in touch with our deceased beloved family and friends. So if only from the point of view of compassion, suicide is not a very nice thing to do to the people you love.
But I think there is something else important to consider. Exactly as you say, suicide urges are thoughts. You use the word"thought" five times in your question!
You have a very important spiritual goal in this lifetime to try to get"behind" or"between" the compulsive experience of"thought".
Suicidal thoughts are IMO the loudest possible wake-up call about the nature of Thought, and why the spirit cannot rest until one is able to separate the experience of"thinking a thought" from the experience of"just Be-ing".
Your Jyotisha nativity shows a strong but somewhat oppressed condition for Budha, who is the graha in charge of daily, repetitive mentality. One consequence of this Budha condition is a natural tendency toward negative, pessimistic, or alienating types of mental process.
These negative thoughts are certainly not evil, in the sense of malintent. You are not trying to hurt anyone else. In fact, you are a very moral person! Your strong morality is evidenced by Shani's fierce drishti upon your Budha position in both radix and navamsha charts. Rather, the problem is one's naturally negative expectations and a level of Shani-imposed karmic bondage, or enslavement, to the experience of thought.
Sad tale of a Friend's suicide
Recently one of my best friends from childhood committed suicide. He was a very eccentric thinker in terms of planning and designing wonderful futures, but he was highly pessimistic about human nature. I used to rely on him to help me cut through my own idealistic expectations of people I worked with, to get his view on their likely motivation.
My friend is a wonderful teaching example, because he was indeed a very financially privileged man. He had enough money to do anything that caught his interest. He was a skilled artist and musician, social visionary and connoisseur. He had a solid humanistic education. In fact, his scholarly focus had been Philosophy -- but exclusively of the western rationalist variety. And this is where I think he fell.
My friend was a Thinker. He was raised with the highest western individualistic materialistic positivistic Calvinist values. He inherited the rational humanistic positivism of Descartes and Dewey. Everything in his family culture and in the business world around him told him to Think About It."Think and Be Happy"."Think and Grow Rich".
My friend was steeped in a culture of exalted mentalism. He richly paid by an information economy that rewards technical problem-solvers, rational systematizers, and purveyors of controlled, next-step, conceptual thought.
My friend was a paragon of his generation: a handsome, fit, forty-something polymath with tons of money, steady relationships, and a bright future. But he fell. He got sucked into negative thoughts. He managed to convince himself, through the dangerous practice of isolated negative thought repetition, that his entire world was collapsing and that he needed to kill himself before he got annihilated by mysterious evil forces.
What? Mysterious evil forces? This guy was an exemplary rational thinker! What happened?
Releasing ego-membrane attachment to mentality -"I think therefore I am"
I know my friend pretty well, and I have a strong belief about what happened.
My friend would not, could not, and did not permit himself to stop thinking. He was so immersed in mentalized reality that he could not bear to detach himself from the bizarre clanking freight yard of his own thoughts. He died from acting on a super-negative thought, which he allowed to capture his full attention. Just as you say, thoughts are addictive. Thoughts are seductive. Thoughts are chained together, so one thought always leads to another. Some thoughts occur in VERY addictive, VERY compulsive short-loop sequences that are impossible to break without stepping out of the world of thought.
My friend was so ego-identified with thought that when he got sucked into a very bad space of being enslaved to that negative, short-loop thought that says "destroy yourself", he had no leverage. He couldn't get out of it. He told me somewhat about the mental descent he experienced: a path that would clinically be labeled as paranoid personality disorder.
He needed to stop thinking in order to get some leverage on the compulsive mental process. But he couldn't stop thinking! There are many drugs that will shut down the human mental process, and much better than drugs there are excellent meditation practices which lead the mind"out of itself" by placing the consciousness in the spaces "between" the thoughts or"behind" the thoughts or even conceptually"above" the thoughts. The point is to get out of entrapment of thoughts!
In the end, it was the great misfortune of my friend to be tremendously overinvested in his culture's high appraisal of rational thought. His thoughts ate him alive. As the suicide thoughts gained inordinate power in his mind, he was unable to utilize any of the meditative practices to escape the clutches of those thoughts through physical, emotional, or spiritual means.
He did not believe in therapeutic drugs, in psychotherapy, in taking the advice of friends, in seeking counsel with family, or in any form whatsoever of a Higher Power. He believed he was in charge and he and only he could control his thoughts.
Stepping away from Predatory, invasive thoughts
Despite the teaching of"positive thinking"advocates, there are many times in life when one cannot directly control one's thoughts.
"Predatory" thoughts like suicidal seduction are of highly suspect psychic origin. They are probably not really your own thoughts. These thoughts are particularly dangerous and hard to control.
But without getting into the psychic nature of invasive foreign thoughts, it is still a fairly acceptable adult commonplace that, indeed, one can not always control one's thoughts.
Therefore when predatory, life-threatening thoughts gain inordinate control of the mentality, survival makes it necessary to move the focus of consciousness completely out of the realm of thought, and into a safe, non-thought space.
Ideally one aspires to avoid the negative thoughts and their mandates rather than chemically handicap those thoughts through unhealthy distractions or drugs. One can learn to remaining"awake"and committed to life while"avoiding" thoughts, i.e., not actively engaged in thinking. Rather, one is wide awake and observing those thoughts (quite intently!) to make sure they don't jump their banks and cause trouble in the lower emotional and physical particulate levels.
Have a thought without"getting involved" - watch it flow by
Yes it's possible and indeed a very good skill to have: to learn to monitor thoughts without getting involved in the thoughts.
Skillfully avoid toxic materials in the thought stream is not"avoidance behavior" or"running from the problem". Rather it is a practical, top-down self-preservation strategy and a life-affirming act!
And as a side benefit, this life-reserving practice develops considerable inner calm. It makes people nicer and more compassionate in the long run. (Although our goal right now is not to make you a Nice Person, but rather to keep you a Breathing Person!)
My friend's thoughts became so consciousness-dominating that he lost feedback from his physical senses. He had no emotional affect. Any generalized spiritual awareness which might have penetrated the causal-astral-fleshly bodies was trivialized by the massive, all-consuming voice of the Thought.
I have always felt that if my friend had applied some of his huge mental intelligence to acquiring the meditative skills needed to step *out* of the stream of thoughts, that he could have avoided falling victim to these predatory thoughts. He would have completed his incarnation and benefitted so many other beings along the way.
Regulating intensity, preserving life
The physical body is not neutral territory. Pain and pleasure are acute: we need ways of getting out of pain sometimes, or it will annihilate the consciousness. We need to be able to step into and step out of the violent reactions of the animal body, through meditative practices which involve regulating emotion and thought, in order to avoid sensory brain overload!
The emotional body is certainly not neutral territory. Emotional pain can be far more devastating than physical pain, even though it seems more dispersed. Again we need to be able to step into and step out of the vast churning ocean of emotion, through meditative practices which involve thought and presence, in order to avoid emotional overload!
Most modern people know about regulating physical pain and emotional intensity in order to sustain their lives during difficult periods. When things get"unbearable", we have a host of culturally known remedies - from the drugstore to the therapy office to the streets.
Yet as a culture, the modern West is excessively mentalized, and it is not yet widely aware that thoughts, too, can run wildly out of control. Thoughts can kill just like a broken heart or a car wreck.
Step one: therapeutic support
My advice is to get thee to a reputable prescribing psychotherapist, and please be shockingly honest with the licensed healer about where your thoughts are going.
Unless you pose a clear and present danger to self or others, you probably won't lose your freedom by being honest in a confidential medical relationship. Consider using anti-depressive or anti-psychotic medications on a *short-term* basis to disable the thoughts temporarily.
Long term solution
The key word is temporarily. Few people want to live their life in a numbed out druggy fog.
As soon as one notices that those huge, dominating, short-loop, compulsive thoughts of suicide and annihilation are"gone" for a couple of days, it's time to start getting serious about a longer-term meditation solution.
The meditation practices take time to get established, so it is smart to stay in therapeutic treatment until one is fully secure in the practice.
Learning to"step outside" of the thought stream
The longer-term solution isn't drugs, and it isn't talk-therapy or behavior mod or"positive thinking" or any other physical, emotional, or mental method either. (Although I am not casting aspersions on those methods for those who cannot access the meditative path.)
The longer-term solution to victimization and exploitation by repeating negative thoughts is learning the meditative practices that will quickly and effectively move the consciousness *out* of the grid-lock anxious violent congested flooding traffic of thought.
Finding a healing sanctuary, getting away from physical pain
It works with physical pain. Move the consciousness to a place in the body which is not hurting, and the awareness of pain will recede. One of my elderly relatives died a horrible cancer death, wracked with pain as it seemed like every cell in her body was poisoned and torn.
A swami from the local ashram came in to sit with her. Let's find a place that doesn't hurt, said the swami. But oh! said my relative -- EVERYTHING hurts, I am in the most horrifying state of total acute pain!
The calm and confident swami said, let's scan your body and find a pain-free spot. It took them a few minutes, of searching the body by quadrant, but they found, together, several places that didn't hurt at all. The tips of some fingers, I think I remember, and several small toes.
And that knowledge, that refuge, that sanctuary created by finding a small place of freedom from the obsessive, torturing nerve pain -- finding that place allowed my relative to practice breathing.
Her eyes began to glow. I want to tell you that she died in a state of extremely deep peace after having lived a full life in service to many beings. I will always be intensely grateful to that swami for what she taught me not by principle, but by her hands-on working example.
"Find a place where it doesn't hurt."
Sanctuary from obsessive, destructive thoughts
When one is seeking sanctuary from enslavement to destructive thoughts, one must find the"place where it doesn't hurt".
It is essential to seek refuge from these compulsive thoughts, which carry the frightening possibility that one might cause serious harm to one's beloved friends and family.
Meditative practices which create a reliable path guiding the consciousness out of the deep-carved channels of compulsive thought are not an amusement for you at this point. They are not optional, not something to do when one"has time", or a special activity reserved for the annual spiritual retreat.
It is essential and life-saving for the suicidal person to learn to identify the different energy bodies (spiritual, causal, astral, physical) and to practice the mental discipline of conscious separation from the thought stream, with regularity and vigor!
This is the way out of the otherwise terrible fate that suicidal thoughts create.
The"place" where the consciousness goes when it is not thinking, not feeling, and not responding to the five senses, is located in the interstitial layers "between" the thoughts. These spaces are sometimes called"empty" in the literature but they are really not"empty"at all. In the spaces between thoughts there is abundant nourishing prana and rejuvenating nectar of divine love.
This is a very cool place to be. It is a much, much better place to be than being dragged behind an out-of-control freight train of life-destroying thoughts, worrying constantly about what might happen to self and others!
Controlling not the thoughts, but one's reaction to the thoughts
With the possible exception of very advanced yogic practitioners, normal folk like you and me cannot really control our thoughts directly.
However one can be totally in control of one's *reaction* to one's thoughts. The position of control is a seat of"witness " or observer role, which is located within viewing distance but not in the actual stream of thoughts.
"And now my friends,
all that is true, all that is noble,
all that is just and pure,
all that is loveable and gracious,
whatever is excellent and admirable -
fill all your thoughts with these things."
~~ Epistle to the Philippians 4:8
file update: 25-Feb-2017
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