I was gathering my thoughts around the topic of pain and suffering in connection with my previous posts about forgiveness and grieving, when news about Robin Williams’ passing and suicide became the headline…
One book that I have just started to read opens up with one of the characters committing suicide…
Synchronicity is clearly tapping my shoulder.
Death — especially suicide and abortion — is a complex topic that many of us are grappling coming to terms with.
I was quick to judge when I learned that Robin Williams committed suicide. Thankfully, I was also just as quick to catch myself. I opted, instead, to do a deeper inquiry.
Why do souls commit suicide? Is it part of their spiritual contract? Do they know before they incarnated that they would end their earthly experience in such a manner? Is a suicidal person sinful and less spiritual? Is suicide a sin? What can I, we, the world do to assist those who are suicidal? What is our responsibility? How can we heal from the pain and deep wounds of losing a loved one who committed suicide?
I quickly referred to Your Soul’s Gift: The Healing Power of the Life You Planned Before You Were Born. Author and psychotherapist Robert Schwartz, PhD explains why souls would, before being born, plan to have specific experiences such as abusive relationships, abortion, incest, rape, mental illness and suicide.
Schwartz based his explanation on his extensive research and experience as a trained hypnotherapist, conducting past life and between-lives regression sessions with his clients, alongside sessions with mediums and channels. He writes,
“We as souls do not plan suicide as a certainty; rather, we plan various life challenges, well aware of the possibility— and in some instances probability— that we may respond to these experiences by ending our lives. The souls who plan to be with us know that suicide is an option in their pre-birth blueprint, and they willingly accept this risk in order to join us in an incarnation.”
How can we help individuals who are going through depression — the ones more inclined towards committing suicide?
“Help them understand themselves better. They need to know what is happening to them. You cannot tell this to them by handing them a book or a list of characteristics and tools. They need to find out themselves by being given the opportunity to tell their story to someone who listens with no judgment and with complete compassion. When they are able to open up and tell their story, then you can help them find meaning in it, and you can show them that they are not crazy but often are very sensitive, kind-hearted people. You can help them by reflecting a point of sanity in their confused world…the energy of trust and compassion, encouragement and inspiration. Make them aware of their strength, the qualities they have already shown, their accomplishments. Often these people have very low self-esteem and need to be made aware of their beauty and incredible strength.”
Is suicide ever planned by a soul before birth? If so, why would someone agree to be close to the soul who was planning to commit suicide?
“Suicide is never planned before birth, although there may be a likelihood of it happening due to problems the incarnating soul is going to meet on the way. The life plan of a soul has some fixed points, but also a range of possibilities depending upon the choices the soul makes [when in body]. Suicide is never a fixed point, but it can be a probability, in some cases a high probability.
Some souls choose to be close to someone who has the potential for serious psychological imbalances. They may choose to do so to gain more understanding of the human psyche, to become more empathic, or to learn to keep their distance when necessary to create boundaries around themselves and not be swept away by the other person’s pain.”
What happens to those who take their lives? Do they conduct a life [or death] review in which they are made to feel remorse over what they did?
“It depends on the state of mind in which they arrive. There is always help available. There are guides present to explain the situation to the deceased and to help them cross over to a place of recovery. Some souls, however, do not hear or see the guides; they are too caught up in themselves and their worrisome thoughts. They may roam around for some time until they find their way to the light. The places of recovery help souls come to terms with what they did, look at the reasons behind the suicide, and find ways of addressing the hurt and emotions beneath.”
How can those who have lost a loved one to suicide heal, especially from guilt and self-blame?
“Guilt and self-blame are [normal] human reactions to suicide…understand that they [those who committed suicide] had lives of their own, that they are souls unto themselves, and that they steer their own course in life, even if you try your utmost to help them change or recover…realize that you did the best you could and that you could not have prevented the suicide. There comes a point in the decision-making process of people contemplating suicide when it is between them and themselves. It is their choice. Respect this. Guilt and self-blame ultimately express an overestimation of one’s power. It was not in your power to prevent the suicide. No one has such power. To accept and respect one’s own humanness can help to release guilt and self-blame.
Acknowledging the fact that one sometimes cannot help someone, even a loved one, involves a sense of humility. This can be a liberating sense of humility. It can set you free from the notion that you could have prevented the suicide. It can help you, also, to forgive the person who wasn’t able to open up. In forgiving, you recognize the person’s responsibility while being compassionate and understanding at the same time. It releases guilt, because in forgiving you also recognize that you were not responsible.
Even if he later kills himself, if you have reached out to his heart and touched him, he will take that with him forever. Your help reaches across death. Love is expressed by bodies, but it does not perish with them. When created and shared, it can never be lost.”
Surely, suicide is considered taboo by society. I find it quite interesting how the author explains that this very taboo view of society may, in fact, contribute to the increased incidence of suicide.
“Contemplating suicide is a choice one can make. In an enlightened society, people with suicide plans would be permitted to talk with a counselor who would consider this option with them. By allowing it to come into the open, and by not immediately rejecting it, the therapist could create a sense of liberation in them, which might help them, paradoxically, to release the suicidal thoughts and consider other options. When something is forbidden, it has a particular attraction. If suicide is completely taboo, then those who suffer from depression will be drawn to it, and they will feel even more depressed because of that attraction. If those who are drawn to suicide are asked openly about how and why they would wish to end their lives, there is a release of the pressure.”
Schwartz continues to add that to help lessen the incidence of suicide, those who are considering taking their life “need not be ashamed of this thought.”
“They are simply seeking a way out of their despair…nothing they can ever do will take God’s love from them. There is always help available to them, whether on this side or the other. God or Spirit does not condemn suicide and instead favors a humane, compassionate approach to anyone considering this option. If we [as a society] will allow suicide to be one possible pathway to take, we will see, again, paradoxically, that the number of suicides decreases.”
Is suicide a sin? This question is probably the most controversial around the topic…..
“Suicide is merely a form of transition. The most-common reaction after one has moved through the transition is sadness that one lost this hard-earned opportunity to be in physical body and learn. This is true even if the physical incarnation seemed impossible and unbearable. From the perspective of the other side, one sees opportunities one did not see while one was feeling thus so trapped.
But, for the most part, the ones who take their lives are souls on their own track, learning their own lessons. There’s little the loved one could have done, whether it’s a child’s parent or a person’s partner who dies. The one left behind needs to know, ‘The other person made this choice, not me.’ In most cases, the practice is about compassion: to see how deeply this one was suffering, and that this one, no matter how hard he or she tried, could not successfully learn the lessons that he or she came to learn in the incarnation.”
Schwartz goes on to explain that the anger felt by the loved ones left behind is a “feeling of abandonment.” Rather than denying the anger, what will effect healing for both parties is to acknowledge the anger and “work with lovingkindness, wishing oneself well. ‘May I be happy. May I have peace.’ And wishing the loved one well. ‘May you be happy. May you have peace.’ Very gradually, the feelings of anger begin to give way to genuine compassion and the deep love one has felt for the other.”
I was particularly struck by Schwartz’s explanation on the “sanctity in suicidal thoughts.” The idea reminds me of A Course In Miracles‘ teaching that every relationship, experience, or being is holy. Hence, my growth comes from my ability to find the holiness in everything and everyone — to find the “sanctity in suicidal thoughts.” As Schwartz points out, to see that “the one who contemplates suicide is a Holy Being standing at a crossroad.” He explains,
“Society does not yet recognize that there is sanctity in suicidal thoughts. The one who contemplates suicide is a Holy Being standing at a crossroad. From that crossroad, regardless of the decision made, one being will die and another will be born.
If suicide is not chosen, then the one who wanted to die in fact died, and a new person, equally holy and now laying claim to physical life, is born.
If suicide is chosen, then the one who wanted to die in fact died, and a new being, equally holy and now laying claim to nonphysical life, is born.
For the soul a divine rebirth occurs at the crossroad and there is no judgment of either form the rebirth may take. Whether physical or nonphysical, the new life is known by the soul to be sacred. If the rebirth is into the nonphysical realm, the soul does not view the suicide as bad, sinful, or an affront to God. In complete nonjudgment and with utter compassion and unconditional love, the soul simply says, ‘The lessons are unfinished. Let’s try again.’”
Robin Williams. Actor. Comedian. Husband. Father. Friend. Genius. Above all else, Robin Williams, a Holy Being.
To know more and get a copy of the book, click here.
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