QA132 QUESTION: I have a question about a friend of mine who’s in a state of absolutely total negativity. She’s been in institutions twice. Physically, she’s tremendously handicapped, so she can only take very limited jobs, and she’s cut herself off completely from everybody. She doesn’t answer her phone, and she’s threatened to commit suicide. She won’t talk to her family because she’s afraid they’ll lock her up. She called me and said that she would have to find some way to commit suicide, because the only possible future for her is either to be institutionalized or for something dreadful to happen to her. But she insisted that I not tell her family that I have been in touch with her in any way whatsoever. Now, I don’t know. She’s tried to commit suicide twice. Do I tell her family?
ANSWER: I should say Yes, because what she fears in the institution, or whatever it is she fears by continuing to live, she cannot possibly avoid by committing suicide. On the contrary. Only by meeting her problem does she have a chance of avoiding the difficulties. To let her go harm herself even more than she already has done in such a case is not binding, because there is a higher ethics to be considered.
This is a person who does not know what she wants, what is good for her. She is not in a position to make a decision, shown by the mere fact that she wants to take her life rather than meet her problem. Therefore such a destructive decision must be avoided.
QA221 QUESTION: I’ve been experiencing lately a desire to run away, and I’m really fantasizing on how to end my life. What scares me is twofold. One is, I feel like I can get things easily – I have kind of a flip attitude towards being here. It’s like I spit on life, in that light. On the other hand, death really looks attractive. I’m really attracted to that, and I never knew this about myself. But I get into such a state of depression that it doesn’t seem worth staying around. I can’t find anything exciting. It’s the attraction – it’s scary. I’m scared.
ANSWER: You have hooked all the pleasure principle on the negative excitement. And that is why you feel cornered now. You feel that your Pathwork has brought you face to face with some of the negativities and has, so to speak, forced you to see the self-dislike that this engenders.
The trap lies in having the excitement. But since you already know the negativity, you cannot even really enjoy the negative pleasure anymore, quite so carefreely. Then you seem to have no other choice but to give up the excitement and be good and have a dull and very difficult life, as it seems.
So you combine a spiteful anger to that, thinking, “I do not want to live. If it does not come glibly and easily, if I cannot manipulate life at my own discretion, and if I cannot always win and have it exactly my way and be completely carefree – have all the negativity and no consequences, not even the consequences of self-dislike and shame and guilt – if I cannot have that, I give it up.”
Now, there is a choice in the way you look at it. You do not yet see the power of thought and the possibility of creating other thought material. For example, as I indicated in the last lecture [Lecture #221 Faith and Doubt in Truth or Distortion], raising the mere question, “Perhaps there is another possibility that I do not see yet; perhaps I could develop and be responsible, and do things for their own sake, for the sake of decency and honesty and truth and love – not for the sake of getting something. Maybe that will bring a new way of self-expression and excitement that I’m not yet conscious of, but I am ready to investigate whether such a possibility exists.”
In other words, I very strongly advise that you recognize, number one, the spiteful element in your flirtation with death; number two, the hookup and conviction that the excitement and pleasure only lie in being negative; and number three, that you question that belief or that outlook and make room for another possibility – and truly pray, truly pray for that vision.
QA234 QUESTION: I’ve been working on seeing the cruelty in me. My brother, who committed suicide two and a half years ago, came up in conversation today. There is still much fear in me about my brother and it has distorted my feeling and thinking about my brother, and my role in his life. He’s a very important person in my life.
ANSWER: Well, let me speak about your guilt in regard to your brother first. It is a total unrealism that whatever exists in your lower self could be the cause of another human being deciding to take his life away. That is an absolute absurdity, for there is no human being on Earth who does not have a lower self. And if a person’s life or his willingness to go through his life should depend on other people’s perfection or lack of perfection, it would not make any sense.
Now, the reason that you assume this dreadful burden of unrealistic responsibility is clearly and obviously a direct result, not of your cruelty by any means, but of your refusal to take self-responsibility where you really should have it. In other words, there is quite a large and substantial part of yourself where you indeed wish to saddle others with the responsibility of your own life.
It is precisely because you still have a stake in this – in blaming, in demanding that others should exonerate you of the obligation to grow and change and expand and create for yourself – and because you have this demand that you must think you too are obligated to fulfill such demands that others may actually or imaginarily make of you. This is really the dynamics of your guilt. It is the anatomy of your guilt here.
Now, as to the cruelty, it is a result of all this confusion. It is very good that you begin to face the cruelty, to acknowledge it and accept it, and thereby you will learn to transform it. Because you will see how much vital energy is contained in the cruelty that could be used gloriously for constructing a creative fulfilled life. But you do not let yourself use it in that way, and thereby it must turn into a negative force.