Every time I fall into one of these pits, I want to curl up and die. Yet I’ve noticed that they invariably precede a breakthrough of some sort. They seem to be a means of emptying me so something new can fill my cup. In this sense, longing for death is a psychospiritual congruency and precisely what I need. Despair returns us to ground zero, to the place of nothingness which seems barren but is in actuality a realm of dormancy, a wintering of the soul without which there can be no spring.
– El Collie in Branded by the Spirit, chapter 14
When things seem especially dark and hopeless, there is often a draw to death. We want whatever causes the pain to die, and that’s a natural, innocent and even healthy impulse.
We may want our own human self to die, or the situation, although one is a bit drastic and the other is temporary. So what’s a kinder and more lasting solution?
What’s really at the essence of this is the death of identification – with the identity or story creating the suffering. This identification may wear off with time, it may suddenly drop away, and we can align with the process by inquiring into the identification or story.
What’s the stressful belief here? What’s the consequence of taking it as true? How would it be if it wasn’t here? Is the story true? What’s the validity in its turnarounds? What do I find when I stay with each of these questions – allowing them to sink in?
Synchronicity: As I wrote this, a man’s voice said “it’s dying” on the soundtrack to Black.
– death of human self, the situation
– death of identification, taking a story as true
I also know this impulse towards death when things seem especially dark and hopeless in this swing back from a period of expansion. It’s an innocent impulse, and there is also something deeply wise and healthy in it. It’s an invitation for the exact remedy needed: the death of one or more particular identifications.
Despair comes from beliefs, opposition to what is, and the remedy is a wearing off or release of identification with these stories. They are allowed to be there, but no longer taken as true.
So that’s the healthy impulse behind a draw to death. We are not really drawn to death of this human self or