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Considering Suicide

My friend Clinton Callahan from the Next Culture Training & Research Center in Germany wrote a great piece that is right up our Radical Honesty Alley! What we usually refer to as the mind, Clinton calls “the Box”. I think he is brilliant and funny and wise. Read, learn and let me know what you think. Leave your comments here on our blog so others can read what you write, too.

Love, Brad

Distinction: In the moment you seriously consider suicide your authentic life can begin.

Notes: Most people have at one time or another had the thought of committing suicide. Even if the thought only flashed through your mind you still thought it. Killing yourself can seem like an obvious solution to dealing with insurmountable problems or unbearable pain. “Why not simply end it all?”

When you catch yourself thinking of suicide you might react: “Oh my God! This is bad! Look at what my life has come to! There must be something wrong with me! Do I keep the thought to myself? Do I try to get some help?” And so on.

The point is that the thought of suicide is exactly that: a thought. Thoughts are formulated by our Box (we often forget this) and are generated to suit our Box’s purposes. You are a prisoner within the thoughts permitted to you by your Box…

Until that moment when your Box seriously considers suicide. Finally the Box has hit bottom and has given up hope of managing your life. The Box says, “I can’t do this anymore. I may as well end it all…” This thought is an exit door. Fine. Use it.

The thought of suicide is your Box admitting its inadequacy for managing the complexities of your life. This thought signals a precious chance for you to make a fundamental shift, because the inadequacy is true. Hallelujah! It’s about time the Box gets out of your way! Your heart beats all by itself and will keep beating until it stops, independent of the Box’s dramatics. Finally you have a chance to enter authentic life!

Experiment: Considering suicide is a valuable opportunity. The next moment you seriously consider suicide take your thinking all the way through that open door. Do not let your Box wiggle back and forth between yes or no, one foot through the door, one foot held back. This is how the Box blocks you from life. The Box has been caught in its act. It is too late for the Box. Making you confused about life will not interfere with your life anymore.

The instant you notice the thought of suicide put your fingers around its throat, look it straight in the eyes and say, “I heard you. That is it. You have come to your end. You have given up. From this point on you lose your rights to my life. My life does not belong to you anymore. You have forfeited the rights to my plans, my wishes, my limitations. The life “I” had does not belong to “me” anymore, because that “me” has just killed itself.

“My life now belongs to humanity, to the greater good. My actions are hence forward no longer oriented around personal preference. From now on my life is dedicated to serving all beings everywhere. I will do whatever is wanted and needed. My Box has lost its rights to have an opinion about my life.”

You cannot know what this means or how you are going to do it. But actually that does not matter. It is none of your business anymore. It is humanity’s business. Your Box has played itself out. Immediately go for a walk outside in the town carrying with you the sensation that most everything you previously used as reference points for your self-definition has committed suicide. What remains is a less knowable and more authentic you stepping into a new life with a wide range of simple resources. You can still breathe and see. You can speak and take actions.

Your life is now about providing whatever you can of what is wanted and needed by humanity, specifically those people in your immediate presence at home, at work, or at play. This is not theoretical. This is very practical. It is a fresh orientation towards what needs doing. You do not have to worry about what to do anymore.

Humanity is whoever shows up in your circle. Perhaps it is your child or your child’s friend. Kneel down, greet them, listen, find out what they need and provide it. This is not complicated. You are not a robot or a doormat. You are serving. Perhaps they need a glass of water. Bring it. Perhaps they need a shoe tied. Tie it. Perhaps they need a boundary or a clarification. Make it. Perhaps they need to share their pain. You just listen. If you are careful to detect the true need you will often discern that you are needed to only listen. If they specifically ask for help then there is something for you to do. Otherwise just be with them until they are filled with being.

Then keep moving. Your next job will come along in a moment and it will be obvious. You can neither predict nor control who will show up next in your circle. But you can trust the source of jobs, and you can feel gratitude about being involved in this new arrangement.

Stay relaxed. Stay open and attentive. Don’t rush. Participate in whatever happens. Stay connected. Take care of yourself so that you can take care of whatever you see needs done. No one else sees things like you do. If you see a job that needs done that is your job.

Wash the dishes. Make a call. Pick up messes. Give feedback. Put things where they belong. Provide an idea. Complete the job. Write a letter. Do the next thing. You are not waiting around to be served anymore. Instead you are serving with kindness, cheerfulness, and attention. You are doing the next thing as if everyone else’s needs were also your own needs, as if you were just as happy about helping other people get to wherever they need to go as you used to be about helping yourself.

Impulses to move come from your center, halfway between your hipbones, not from your mind. You may start to move before you know what you are doing. This is fine.

You may notice that you are debating in your mind whether or not you should do something. As soon as you notice the debate look to see what the impulse was. Be grateful for the impulse. If it is not too late, skip the debate and take the action. Soon enough you will get feedback about whether or not your service actually served. The debate is completely unnecessary. Skip the debate.

There may be times when no job seems immediately next. Then your job is to wait. It can be useful to find ways to wait well, that is, to wait without impatience but also to wait without going to sleep. Just waiting does not necessarily mean to be inactive. You can be interiorly active and exteriorly passive.

There may be times when so many jobs become obvious that you work harder than you ever worked before, beyond any reasonable limits of personal comfort. Do what you can that you see needs doing, whatever it is. Try this for awhile. See what happens.

Best wishes,


© 2012 by Clinton Callahan. You are granted permission to copy and distribute this SPARK for personal or non-profit use as long as this author, website and copyright notice are included. All other rights are reserved. SPARKs are excerpted from the Wild Thinking books. To get your own email subscription to SPARKs click on the PUBLICATIONS / NEWSLETTER button of http://www.nextculturetrainings.org/. Thanks for experimenting! It build matrix to hold more consciousness!

{ 6 comments… add one }
  • crgbs November 16, 2012, 9:02 pm

    When I first thought about suicide a little more maturely, I realized that if life mattered so little as to be something I could throw away to avoid my suffering, then it didn’t matter either way: my suffering counted just as little. I could continue to play out my losing hand, or fold at any time. To keep myself honest, I bought a gun so If my disappointed and frustrated ego ever came around whining I could call his bluff. This was not as honest as I thought at that time.

    I realized later that all our wants only serve life in general. My disembodied “I” doesn’t want to be, eat, shit, and fuck, it is just my body that does. All our desires and their fulfillment ultimately only serve mankind and the whole web of life. There is nothing with respect to which my life can be said to have any value TO ME. With that, there is nothing tragic and nothing comic in all the universe.

    Serving the appetites is fun. There may be a hierarchy in the appetites I serve, but if I love myself, my family, or all mankind it is just another case of life living me. The only transcendent thought is that there can be no values for the individual (who does not remain duped). People like to idealize love. Love is nothing but the behavior of animals, mostly mammals, that tends to promote the survival and well-being of its members, esp. their young. The feelings are just there to get you to perform the behaviors.

    I think giving oneself to the greater good is not suicidal enough, but a continued claim on being.

    The impact of science on culture has consistently been to minimize man and his prejudices in greater and greater orders of magnitude as it progresses. I think our “box” works wonderfully well by now, with education (and minus the emotions). Why save the world? It will end. Another may begin or not, but who could possibly care? The simple, ugly truth is still far more beautiful than the most beautiful lie.

  • Brad Blanton November 16, 2012, 10:13 pm

    I like everything you say here except I can’t understand how a bigger box is a better box if the imposition of any box is a lie… brad

  • anne November 19, 2012, 11:22 am

    Caroline Bonnet emailed us about this post: “We need to kill the mind, not the person. But actually when it’s not in cahoots with the emotions, running circular rants, it’s a pretty good tool to use when needed. But use it wisely, it’s like having a dog that you tell – go fetch the paper, thanks for bringing it, now go lie down in the corner until I need you again. Get a grip. Don’t let your mind control you, it’s a tool to use and put away when finished, afterward sitting in Mindless Bliss. “

  • anne November 19, 2012, 2:08 pm

    Avinash emailed us these thoughts: ” I cannot agree more with what Clinton Callahan has said . I read something very similar (though put very succinctly) , a few years ago , in Alan watts’ “Psychotherapy East And West” , where he quotes the Zen master Bunan , thus :
    “While living , be a dead man , thoroughly dead ;
    Whatever you do , then , as you will ,is always good .”
    From personal experience , I can say that , it takes years and years to be first authentically convinced that , yes , psychological non-survival is a precondition of the beginning of LIVING. Till this conviction crystallizes and “takes over ” , we willy-nilly continue to live what J. Krishnamurti calls a ” second-hand ” life.
    Many people insist , wrongly I believe , that this is necessarily a ” black or white ” scenario. I think, it may not be so . There can be an evolutionary process , with a long
    “gray passage”. One may take time to REALLY see that the “mind” /”box”/ “ego-consciousness” is only a parody of authentic individuality. But , I say very happily for all friends that , to “see the point ” is nothing short of EXHILARATING !

    • Brad Blanton September 3, 2013, 9:26 am

      Avanish–Because I am inept at using word press I just read this post from almost a year ago. Thanks. I like what you say here and am very happy to know you and be your colleague and friend. thanks. brad

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