Wisdom tells me i’m nothing. Love tells me i’m everything.

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I haven’t written a post in a while as so many things have been going on. I actually started to write this a few weeks ago and stopped because quite honestly it was too difficult. Someone I know and respect had some tragic news; his brother had committed suicide. I’m not going to discuss this very private story and the circumstances, I just wanted to somehow contemplate the complex notion of suicide.

I hope this doesn’t appear crass or insensitive and academic but it’s a challenging subject isn’t it? On the one hand some people and cultures would absolutely say it is the right of everyone to take their own life…I think of days of antiquity or feudal Japan for examples of people taking their lives with what can only be described as honour and dignity. It was indeed a respected form of atonement (Seppoku). I can relate to this.

“They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice… that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.”

ARTHUR SCHOPENHAUER

On the other hand others would see it as a sacred violation. A ‘sin’ for want of a better way to describe it due to the sanctity if life. I can relate to this as well. Perhaps that’s why suicide is such a heartbreaking experience for anyone who is close to someone who has succeeded or even tried to assert some control in their lives by this method. In some countries (mainly Islamic I believe) it is still criminalised…surely a way of making sure any one attempts suicide will be more committed to making it work?

No-one can truly understand the suffering and despair of an individual who has been driven to this point except that individual. I say driven as I don’t believe anyone would choose to end their lives if they felt they could really change or end their suffering. I might be wrong of course but it seems clear it stems from a sense of futility and lack of power to change their suffering. They are trapped and the terror of death is less than the terror of living. One can only try with compassion to imagine what a life lived with a feeling of endless hopelessness and despair must be like. It’s more than just a bad day.

I’m lucky. Like all of us I have had some bad times and some thoughts and romantic notions of ending it all, statistically more men than women are successful. It didn’t get further than this, perhaps it’s just as simple as being able to have a sense of humour about life.

“The thought of suicide is a great consolation: by means of it one gets through many a dark night.” 
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE

There is no conclusion to my thoughts at this point except to offer my sympathy to anyone reading this who is thinking about suicide and simply to say there is hope and lastly to anyone suffering the loss of a loved one you will get through it.

“But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself”

ALBERT CAMUS

Peace.

5 Inspirational Quotes about Death

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Despite what appears to be a morbid and perhaps nihilistic title, this blog is all about inspiration. How can death be inspiring I hear you ask? Well, it’s all about perspective. We’ve largely been brainwashed (yes I do mean that) into believing that the material aspects of life are the most important..global economic crisis, war, famine all find their root cause in this and what can be defined in Buddhism as the three obstacles: anger, greed and stupidity. Obstacles because they block our path to our true state of enlightenment (or Buddhahood). We ALL suffer…that is what it is to be human. So these events don’t just happen, there are people, individuals like you and me that make decisions alone or together to create these effects. This focus on materiality; money, shiny things, even the body beautiful all anchor us in fear….fear of loss, and fear of ‘not enough’. All, however, is very much impermanence and in this way a focus and attachment to material is not constructive. This physical impermanence is the very nature and essence of life and that is why death ironically can be so inspirational. Through contemplating our own mortality we begin to see that all we really have is this moment and each other. Death is not called the ‘great leveller’ for nothing. If there were a bit more thought given to our infinitely small amount of time on this planet perhaps there would be less interest in foolish things, less anger and as a result perhaps, less suffering?

Anyway here’s some quotes from people far wiser than me, hope you enjoy and please share and like (if you like).

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Life’s a beach

1) “Death is more certain than the morrow, than night following day, than winter following summer. Why is it then that we prepare for the night and for the winter time, but do not prepare for death. We must prepare for death. But there is only one way to prepare for death – and that is to live well.” – Leo Tolstoy

2) “Death is our constant companion, and it is death that gives each person’s life its true meaning.”  – Paolo Coehlo

3) “We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Sahara. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible people allowed by our DNA so massively outnumbers the set of actual people. In the teeth of these stupefying odds it is you and I, in our ordinariness, that are here. We privileged few, who won the lottery of birth against all odds, how dare we whine at our inevitable return to that prior state from which the vast majority have never stirred?” – Richard Dawkins, 1998

4) “There is no place on earth where death cannot find us – even if we constantly twist our heads about in all directions as in a dubious and suspect land … If there were any way of sheltering from death’s blows – I am not the man to recoil from it … But it is madness to think that you can succeed … Men come and they go and they trot and they dance, and never a word about death. All well and good. Yet when death does come – to them, their wives, their children, their friends – catching them unawares and unprepared, then what storms of passion overwhelm them, what cries, what fury, what despair! … To begin depriving death of its greatest advantage over us, let us adopt a way clean contrary to that common one; let us deprive death of its strangeness, let us frequent it, let us get used to it; let us have nothing more often in mind that death … We do not know where death awaits us: so let us wait for it everywhere. To practice death is to practice freedom. A man who has learned how to die has unlearned how to be a slave.” – Michel de Montaigne 1533-1592

5) “Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.” – Isaac Asimov