Religion, Karma, and Suicide  


As far as I know, most religions call suicide a "sin." They say what God has given, it is not in our hands to throw away; nor, they say, can there be such a quick passage into Heaven. For nobody would stay in this hard world if only one bullet, one bottle of pills, would suffice to open the door of Heaven, and leave all this hardship and all the struggle behind. Truly, then, the earth which is said to be a part of Godís plan for us, would be deserted, a ghost town.

I cannot tell you, for sure, whether suicide is a sin, or a crime. I just donít know. What I do know is that it is a shame. It is like hearing the story of a person who died in the desert, passing only a few yards from a well filled with water, without ever seeing it. It is like hearing the story of a man who died in poverty, without ever realizing that there was a vast treasure of gold buried underneath his shack.

My friend, life and meaning is here, on this earth, at this moment, in your life, it is all around you, and in you. You want to end your life, but you are standing right on top of what gives life meaning! Please, believe me, dig a little deeper, wait a little longer, and you will see. You will find the hidden treasure!

My friend, according to my own spiritual belief, which you do not need to agree with - but I tell you what I think, just the same - we live many lives on the earth (I believe in reincarnation). According to this belief of mine, every one of our actions on the earth generates consequences for our soul (the law of karma), and thus, it is said, that if a man commits a crime, he will generate a punishment (which could be a future life of poverty or sickness), while if he acts in a kind and compassionate way, he will generate a reward (which could be health, or a life of freedom). Just because you are suffering now does not mean you are paying for something you did in the past, however (that is a popular, but rigid interpretation of the law of karma). You may be undergoing what you are right now as a form of soul heroism, soul solidarity, or soul learning.

Within my view, suicide is really a kind of cosmic postponement. It is like dropping out of a school that you must graduate from (not like nowadays, when you can drop out for good at 16). If you drop out of the 11th Grade this year, you will be "left back", and have to start in the 11th Grade all over again, next year.

Suicide, I believe, is just like that. If you try to escape from a problem that is tormenting you in this life, you will only have to come back to face the problem, all over again, in another life. And you will not "graduate" until you "pass the lesson", and finally manage to solve the problem in a constructive way.

For me, it is like coming to a deep river. To continue on your journey, you must cross it, yet you are afraid of the dangerous waters; you cannot find a bridge and do not know what to do. And so, desperate and feeling trapped, you end your life on the banks of the "uncrossable" river. But lo and behold, my friend, when it is time to live again, do you know what will happen? Of course, you will find that same "uncrossable" river in your path, all over again; you will come back to relive the same terror, the same fear, the same feeling of helplessness, the same feeling of desperation. And for all eternity, as your lives spin around and around like tires trapped in the same place in a snow bank, going nowhere, you will remain "stuck" by this river, unable to pass beyond it, until your soul finally accepts the pain that must be borne in order to find an answer: for answers are often like seeds in a pod which must be split open, before they can come out to grow. Perhaps, if you can struggle just a little longer, my friend, your soul will finally find a bridge downriver, or a ford; or find the materials to build a boat; or master the strength needed to swim across the treacherous currents. And I ask you - isnít the pain of struggling to find an answer in one lifetime, better than the pain of coming to the same impasse, over and over again, in one life after another? Isnít it better to just face the problem now, to deal with it now, and get it over with, once and for all? Why force your soul to keep reliving this agony, why keep it trapped in such a painful place, for so many lifetimes, why not find a way out of it, now, whether that way is something you change about the environment you are living in, or something you change inside yourself?

All of this is especially important because our actions in one life, besides generating karma, tend to create patterns of behavior and reaction which may become more and more ingrained in our soul as they are repeated. Just like habits.

If I am afraid of the dark, for example, and sleep, one night, with my lights on, I am more likely to need that light on another night, as well. It becomes my conditioned response, my "pattern" for dealing with the fear of the unknown, my substitute for dealing with and overcoming my fear of the dark. I do not find God, or angels, or my protectors, instead I let demons rule the universe, and come to depend upon a light to drive them away.

In this same way, a man who is under tremendous stress or who feels that his life is useless, may turn one day to drugs to help him get by, setting up a behavioral response path that he will travel down again, whenever he feels that same pressure or that same emptiness returning. A pattern of drug abuse may be set into place, that will cover one wound with another, and never let him find real peace.

Such patterns, of course, may also extend across lives. The more we run from a problem in one life, for example, the harder it may be to deal with it in another; the harder it may become to free ourselves, and move on to the next stage of our soulís evolution.

For this reason, suicide is not a good soul choice, for it only strengthens the pattern of reaction that keeps us from progressing. Face the problem, now, I say, live with the hardship, now, I say, for you are stronger today, and have more resources to deal with the problem, than you will have tomorrow, if you give up today. For each surrender will only weaken you, while each time that you endure, your soul will grow in power, in its ability to withstand, and in its ability to constructively avoid.

My friend, let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, there was a man who was in a championship boxing match. It was not going well for him. He was getting hit too often, with hard blows from the champion, he was growing tired and bleeding from a cut. And then, suddenly, a hard punch knocked him down to the canvas, and he heard the referee standing above him, beginning to count to 10. "1 - 2 - 3 - ."

There, on the canvas, the wounded boxer struggled to get into a position from which he could rise. But his body was slow, it did not seem like his body anymore. And he thought, "I could get up, but itís so hard. It just isnít my night. Iím so tired. I hit the champ with one or two good punches, and I havenít really put up that bad a fight; but heís got me this time. Better just to stay down, let him have it. Iíll get him next time."

And the referee was still counting, up to "5", now.

But then, something else flashed through the boxerís mind. All the hours in the gym. All the fights in little clubs and arenas against journeymen: rough, unknown fighters who would not let you get past them without a bruise, without putting some hurt on you, even as they did not match your talent. Such a long, hard climb up to this one moment, to every fighterís dream, the chance to get into the ring with a world champion, and to fight for his championship belt. How many more obscure clubs, arenas, and journeymen would it take to climb all the way back to this same opportunity? How many more swollen faces and bloody noses and hands painful from hitting people who just might want it more than he did, before he could finally fight his way back to a rematch, to be here all over again? And what then? Back in the ring with the champ. A beautiful dream, interrupted by the bell, signaling the return of reality. And the fighter thought: once the blows started to come, what would make that night any different from this one? Just like tonight, he would be in pain. Just like tonight he would be exhausted. Just like tonight, he would reach a point when all the planning and the preparation ran their course, and nothing was left except for a nearly naked man, and the heart beating inside his chest. How badly did he want it? What price was he willing to pay for it? And the downed boxer realized, in a sudden instant, that if he could not do it tonight, he would never do it, that what he faced now was not a fluke, not the hurt of a "lucky punch", or the result of being undertrained, but the obstacle he most always face, the door he must always come through, if he really wanted to be a world champion. And he knew, then, that if he gave in now, he would always give in.

The referee, still counting, was up to "9", when the fighter, lifting himself off from the canvas, got back to his feet, and covered up to weather the storm of the excited champion, coming in for the kill. The punches rained in, but the wounded fighter caught them on his arms and gloves; he staggered backwards from two punches that did get through, but they werenít enough to put him down; and then he countered with a punch containing all of his will, all of his life, all of his knowledge that it was now or never, that this was a chance that would never come again, or in a different form, that this was what it was like, and what it was all about. That punch didnít end the fight, but it rocked the champion, and sent the fight on into other rounds.

Of course, it wasnít easy. The next two rounds, in fact, were sheer hell, and he spent part of them in a daze, hurt and fighting on from instinct, like a wounded animal, but always coming back to drive the champion off him whenever the end seemed near, or else to tie him up in a clinch and get a little breathing room. And then he began to notice that the champion, too, was tired, and breathing hard, just another man, like him; and from somewhere, deep inside, a second wind came to the challenger, and he began to put his punches together into effective combinations and to make them come to life, filling them with will, and with the amazement of what lay within his reach. Until, at last, it was the champion who crumpled to the canvas, and the battered challenger who stood tall in the ring. And a new champion was crowned that night.

My friend, I have told this story to show you the value of not running from the moment your soul must face in order to stay upon its rightful path. In the struggle called life, there are many resources God has given us to draw upon, and the ability to endure pain head-on is only one of them; there is also the ability to step out of painís way, and the ability to give up the things that are causing us pain. There are many approaches, some proper for one occasion, some for others. What matters is that we remain loyal to the purpose of our soul, whose journey towards God and Self can never be advanced by suicide.

You are here, now, at a great moment in your life, a moment filled with extreme hardship, but also with opportunity, for your soul to unfold its wings of greatness. Why, when you are right here, go all the way back, to start from the beginning, from the bottom of the mountain?

Of course, this example drawn from the realm of boxing is just that - an example. An example, and a symbol, to inspire us. An example, and a symbol of life, at its most grueling, most challenging moment. And I tell you - you who are a mother struggling to raise children on your own; you, who are a father, who has lost his job, and has a family to feed; you who are seeking God; you who are lost, falling in darkness, because you could not find a place to stand on in their world; you who are growing up surrounded, or locked out; you who are fighting to be yourself; you who are battling for health; you who are searching for love; you who are just trying to find a reason for living - you are all in the championship fight which I just wrote about, all in something just as great - greater, in fact, to God and to others - for the boxing match is a symbol of life, and what you are going through is really life.

And I tell you, friend - that to win this great fight you are in, you have merely to do your best, to keep the flag of your soul flying high, to try, and not quit the life God has put you in, but stay in it valiantly; for that is what being a champion means to God, and what it means, in life.

So, my friend, it is right for you to take care of business, here, on the earth, and to stay. Right for you to find a way across this dark, swift river that blocks your soulís path, now, so that the ordeal is ended in this lifetime. So that the future will be set free.

God bless you! May you be helped and guided every step of the way!

- From your friend, J. Rainsnow.


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