Fascination with tragedy

It’s normal for humans to have a fascination with tragedy.

It’s built into us since it has helped our ancestors – whether human or much further back – to survive. 

This fascination can take a few different forms. Most commonly, it’s a fascination with tragic news, gossip, and stories of any kind. 

We do need to know what’s happening in the world, and in our local community and those close to us. And grittiness and tragedy is part of that. But a fascination with tragedy isn’t really needed. It’s something we can explore and invite to soften or fall away. 

Another form this fascination with tragedy can take, perhaps especially for some on a spiritual path, is a glorification of tragedy or general life difficulties as fodder for healing and awakening. It is true that the grittiness and challenges of life can be and are fodder for healing, awakening, maturing, and embodiment. But we don’t need to glorify it or seek it out. 

So what do we do with this tragedy-seeking in ourselves?

The first is to be aware of it. Notice. See some of the dynamics. See how it influences our daily life. 

It’s also good to see that it’s here for a reason. It has served humanity well. Without it, we may not even have been here. It is a form of love put into us through evolution. 

And then there are more specific approaches. Here are the usual ones I currently find helpful. 

Release some of the tension created by it in my body through therapeutic tremoring (TRE). 

Inquire into it (The Work, Living Inquiries). 

Change my relationship to it through heart centered practices (ho’o, tonglen). 

Clear conditioning and wake up the issue with Vortex Healing. 

Vortex Healing is by far the most effective and powerful approach for me now. Although more powerful is a combination of them all. 

The (ordinary) tragedy of a human life 

There is a very ordinary tragedy of a human life.

We all experience loss, failure, illness, death.

There is nothing remarkable about it, even if – for some of us – it may seem that way. It may seem that we are singled out by life. We are singularly unfortunate. We are singularly a victim of life.

One reason it may appear that way is that most of us present a relatively successful facade to others, at least as long as we are able to. And we reserve the rest to close friends, or perhaps only ourselves. We share our highlights reel, and hide the bloopers.

Sharing this with others – perhaps even in a more structured setting – is a good way to see that life is different. Life is hard for all of us, at times and in certain areas of life.

Another is to meet the victim in us with love (and the hurt and pain), and also do inquiry on this.

As I resist and fight against my own pain and victimhood, I tend to feel apart from humanity in this. As I meet it with love and curiosity, it softens – and may be seen for what it is – and I feel a part of humanity.

Life’s inherent and inevitable tragedy becomes something that brings me closer to myself and others. It’s something we all share. It’s even something I can meet with kindness and love in myself. I may even find that wounds, pain and tragedy is not quite as solid or heavy as it initially appeared.