Thursday, July 2, 2009
And the other topic was. . .
. . .my increasingly firm belief that the only way to "cure" mental illness is through spiritual practice.
I was thinking this as I drove home tonight from my Zen meditation group. Then, I promptly forgot all about it.
About an hour ago, I found out that a person I had known briefly, but well, committed suicide. I'm thinking about her, and all the other people I have known who have done the same (too many).
I've been at the edge of that abyss, but I always knew that I'd never jump in. There are many things that have stopped me. The most trivial of these is the reason I call this blog "everything is interesting." No matter how depressed I've been, if there's something new to discover, I must keep going. And of course, there is always something new to discover. If I'm in the middle of a book, I want to finish it. I want to see the next good movie. I want to discover a treasure in my mailbox. I want to see what blooms in the garden, or what bird returns to my feeders.
But, none of this would matter if I didn't firmly believe that suicide is immoral. Yes, immoral.
Please don't mistake me; I do not judge those who choose to end their lives. Their decision was not immoral.
And yes, that is a conundrum.
I can understand wanting to put an end to ones' pain. But, as one persons' pain has ended, others' pain begins.
During the winter, there was another suicide I knew, and I remember a friend of hers, angrier than hell and hurting, telling me that she couldn't forgive, for she had been there for her, all along her path of recovery from a previous attempt. Was her friend lying about feeling better? Anger. Hurt. Sadness. From one person to another. It does not end with death.
We all suffer. I think there is always hope. I think there is always the possibility of change, and because I think this is so, suicide is not an option, even for the worst of situations. When every moment is an opportunity to be fully alive, even to pain (the ultimate learning tool), suicide is just not an option.
I'm sad for those who can not see any other way. I wish they could have felt what is the truth. Even the smallest life has meaning, touches others, sends ripples out in all directions, for we are all connected.
That is what makes our suffering, and what we do about it, a spiritual condition. Our interconnectedness is broken, irrevocably, even for one instant, when even one of us chooses to take our own life.
Painting note: "Ophelia" Paul Albert Steck 1895
A few more thoughts:
1. I hesitated using this romanticized depiction of a suicide; the beautiful young woman, finally "at rest."
2. I rail at the notion of finally being at rest in death. We can find rest in life. As long as we continue to push or believe the notion of pie-in-the-sky-when-you-die, people will continue killing themselves and others, whether it's for 72 virgins or solace.
3. I am sorry that I am unable to clarify the idea of "spirituality" cogently. I will continue to try. Life is abundant and transcendent in a speck of dust. That is spiritualty for me. And as long as that holds true, life is always interesting, and worth living.