The Right To Die
I have been answering questions on Facebook.
THIS QUESTION CALLED ME into deepest sincerity, compassion and honesty as I could imagine. It was emailed to me last week. Even though I stayed up all that night to write it immediately, I have sat with it for some days.
First I'll bring you up to speed if you haven't been following us. The writer refers to what we have been saying below. We have been using the term "verbal container" in several posts below. We could also say verbal context, or perspective, or belief structure, or world view, or mind-set, and they all refer to what we say to ourselves and to others. We say it either consciously in words, or unconsciously in mimicked beliefs.
We have been proposing that no thought, no action or feeling can be more wide sweeping, than the verbal container that it is held in. So if you want to change something, look to change its container first. We are pointing toward the simplicity of this, not to complexity or to "another philosophical layer".
This question I found gut wrenching, and I stand in absolute AWE. First is the background leading up to the question.
Thank you for your words on Facebook regarding “I am doing more and more writing”. You talked about suicide and the comment someone from France made, regarding the ’right to death’. You used suicide as an example of life being couched in a verbal container. It's so true.
I am intimate with this particular example. I live in Oregon, which is a ‘right to die state’. I helplessly watched my son die in this ‘right to die state’ as hospice nurses exuded a sense of honor to take part in this horrible event.
I also watched from the beginning in horror, at the medical malpractice that put my son in this compromised condition, and then at the medical machinery that prescribed the death cocktail as its own cover up.
My son’s body had actually recovered from the critical conditions of renal failure caused by his mismanaged medical care. This recovery occurred even after he was sent home to die. But the ‘verbal container’ that was already in place as the creator of the subsequent events, would not stop its momentum.
This preset programming acted out horribly and swiftly before my eyes.
I was completely helpless before it. I talked to my son in earnest about his decision but he was set – he was done. Even though he had now beaten the cancer, he would not survive the medical profession. (I am also a health professional by the way, so I am intimate with illness and healing and so many things that we must deal with.)
In the story running in his mind he had no future, he ultimately had only this death sentence.
In the final outrage the doctor began monitoring his wristwatch for the time it would take him to die, after giving him barbiturates to stop his breathing.
Instead, the intelligence of his body threw up the cocktail. He had retained just enough of the poison to put him into a comma. He died after two days of absolute agony for all of us.
On the other hand, the same medical profession (it could be any profession – this is just an example) will do almost anything to prevent an unsanctioned suicide.
I saw the police pick up a 13 year old child, brutally cuff her hands behind her back and take her to a psychiatric lockdown unit, because she threatened to commit suicide! ‘Life is precious’ and so on – and so on.
And so on.
So it looks to me like you can go several ways here. You can broaden your verbal container, (what you are saying).
For Example -
1. there are bad people out there; or
2. there are conditioned people out there; or
3. we are all evolving, etc., etc.
4. Or you can fall into the ‘so called’ absolute nothingness.
5. Somewhere in-between, there must be some kind of a "connect with life"? - or maybe there isn’t.
6. So is there a "yes" that can stop all this madness?
#6 is finally the question and it deserves a complete and substantive answer. No dancing around this.
MY RESPONSE FOLLOWS:
First of foremost this is the experience of a mother wanting with all her soul to save her son. Even in the face of his pain, of his diagnosed options, of his supposed decisions, and of his rights or no rights, in the face of everything we're led to believe, save my boy. save my man, rings out.
Whatever will be said is some sort of conventional wisdom, and it is a hypnotism of sorts. Many of us want to intone that is the way that it was, and acceptance is the key.
I find empowerment lies in acknowledging that a big part of what is, is in what we are saying about it. It is how we can take responsibility for that part which is ours. That part is really the only place worthy of placing our attention.
There is no blame nor fight for justice nor victimhood from the system, not condoning nor excusing in any of this, from her, nor from me. This is total compassion for the world as it is. We're also acknowledging, NO, we don't want it. That is the first step in being creative.
A mother wants so desperately to save her son. We tell her to let go, from even from a thousand voices. But NOOOOOO! is her only answer.
If I could, I would post a long pause at this point. In fact, you can break off reading right now - - - and pick it up in some minutes.
My first realization is about the actual question in #6. Is there a YES, that will stop this madness? It has to be found within you and me. It's our challenge, and that's a full stop.
1. Then where to start? Start looking around at your life. Every last thing that everyone does is couched in a verbal container, in a mind-set and in a world view. If it isn't obvious look deeper, and you'll find it running in the subconscious.
The only place less touched by a verbal container is in a free fall, (a not knowing) and in a crucible event, (crucible means burned to ashes). Of course your son was in both a prolonged crucible event, and much of that was in a free fall, but I'll consider these in another post. Here I want to speak mostly on verbal containers, (contexts).
Judging what you see on the outside, is for the most part an ineffective use of your attention. We notice our own inner belief structures through listening to our self talk. Learn to manage, modify or choose among our own verbal containers, (that's again what you are saying to yourself), by starting with the ones that seem easier. I could vary my descriptor with perspective or your context of beliefs, etc. etc. but I am going to keep saying verbal container, just to drill it in. Please excuse me for that, but changing what you say is all there is to it.
I am not trying to over simplify. Choosing involves values, and values come out of some authenticity within yourself. Many of us have not deeply considered these things, and we even have other verbal containers that say you can't change values, or that they are not that important. I can talk quite a bit about choosing, and values, but let's leave that for another time too.
2. We live immersed in our collective verbal containers, which are our societal views, and we may have to anticipate what effect they are going to have on our lives. We may have to head them off at the pass, or duck a fast moving one. This one, about the right to die, needed much more advanced awareness, which I will mention below.
3. Our deeper empowerment is going to come from really understanding the connection, that what we say, is precisely equated to what we think, feel and do. This is especially true with feelings and our bodily contraction level. Don't think that feelings are a mystery that we have only to endure. When you get some handle on your emotions, your life can really shift into a higher gear.
That higher gear doesn't have any recriminations, regrets, or reluctance to try something new. In fact life becomes trial and error and measuring the results. Trial and error only is real after you have found your choice structure.
4. The numbers 1, 2, and 3 are examples of gradually wider perspectives. They don't get much done about the situation, but they do conserve our reactionary energy. So then we might have enough motivation and horsepower left over, to make a positive action. They also protect us from a stomach ulcer, and our own bitterness.
The number 4, while it is nice to know life is more than just me thinking, really it doesn't address much of anything either. It is designed to protect you from your own emotions (your suffering), and since you are taken out of the realm of words in order to stay in that nothingness, you cannot consciously work with verbal containers. You could possibly see that some things are not true, from that "absolute nothing" viewpoint. Some verbal containers might crumble. But in my perception, there is too much attempt to watch every context crumble. What's left is chaos and rubble.
Some verbal container is now operating for the number 4, and you won't have a clue what that is. You are not being trained to look in that direction, but trained to look away from it.
5. So if 1, 2, and 3 are baby steps and 4 is abdication, what is 5, this connect with life? It's not a quick fix, it is another lifestyle. The connect with life is the linkage, where you learn that you can direct your attention? You create that.
I have often thought about the suicide situation, and how is it possible that troubled people can't find a confidant or someone to talk things out with? But yet that is the guarded state that our relationships are so often in. We have certain private thoughts that we suppress out of sight. Who do we trust with these thoughts?
How does it happen that someone contemplates that life is a dead end, and no one else knows about it? Or no one takes it sincerely? We all say, "they'll get over it." Or maybe we feel the same way about our own life? Of course this time it was spoken loud and clear, but by then it was too late. Stubbornness and I've already decided were likely the ritual in this relationship. What brings a person to think that a 10 or 20 year "early out" of their life can offer such benefit? Not all cultures automatically gravitate toward this.
I would have to say that these are all lazy verbal containers, detached from value. Who has a strong view on legalized death? Who objects to our military's mistakes with their bombing runs? We don't care until it is happening around us. Some people have cared about the prison system, and about the death penalty. Is this any different? Patients are also subject to poor health advice, in this case very much so. And it was given so casually.
Other dreadfully sick people have emerged with a super reverence for the value of each new day of their life. That kind of conversation is an inspiration to all of us.
Vast chunks of society virtually smirks at value. That is because guidance is always focused at you adopting MY VALUES, (those already adopted by the guide, join my religion). No coaching normally occurs about how to find real authenticity, or to be empowered to personally create values.
Values are again verbal containers, that we decide that we want in our lives. Up until now they have all been forced upon us by others, or by "the system". Rebellion to this condition arrives in many different forms. Self denigration and self destruction are very often the adopted solutions.
6. Can we have a different kind of open relationships of trusting and caring, even though we're floating in a sea of defended barriers, guarded paranoid people, and endless boundary issues? The answer to the question of how to stop the madness is in discovering this change in lifestyle.
If we do want these open relationships it is sure that we can't keep running in the unconscious mode, about the verbal containers that we do operate from. We have to consciously choose that we want a different kind of connection, one that trusts and confides. Then if life seems a dead end, we could have open conversations about it. We could defuse destructive beliefs before they are fully formed.
To take down barriers to trust and confiding we would have to drop our expectations and needs. The more I need you to be in a certain way, the more at arms length will be our connection.
Let's also be real here. Life must contain both kinds of connections. It has to be that way because whatever we do that might be deemed radical, it has to be compatible with what's already appearing here. Otherwise it is just another verbal container that is very pinching. If it must be all one way or all another way, it creates more issues than it resolves.
7. So what do we learn from this? One question to ask, can we gain an understanding of how to direct is our attention? When we know that, no insistent verbal container, that isn't aligned toward our values, can tempt us. Aligned toward your own values simply means according to your own criteria of what that might look like.
"I should have done it differently. I should have known better. All my decades of care didn't add up to what counts." These arguments even might seem tempting, but each one is another verbal container, and what can they possibly deliver but more of the same?
This experience was particularly appalling because:
• We lose trust in health professionals, whom we are supposed to be able to trust the most.
• We lose trust law, that assumes people are competent make decisions when they might not be.
• We lose trust in people, because we see how they mindlessly puppet a verbal container. (We all do that, until we put our foot down.)
• This context was especially gruesome for a mother to see attendants "act out a sense of honor".
• Maybe the worst nightmare of all is to see the inevitability of the situation, keep on denying it, and still see it march on to its conclusion. It's like a surreal slow-motion. Still she's absolutely powerless to alter its course.
• This last is particularly hard when you don't have the tools to talk of a "verbal container", to see the simplicity of what is happening. You will think that you are really in hell.
But that is the power of a verbal container. This is a huge conversation, and I don't want to say that I know better than someone who is in pain. But this is not just about suicide, or assisted death, or the right to die. I am loudly saying that we are all absolute slaves to our self talk, whether communal and common, or narrow and privately held. We can start to notice the consequences of this slavery, ask is this consequence what we intend, and maybe gain some freedom.
Now this mother is on a spiritual search to make some sense out of this madness.
A verbal container is both causative of robotic action, and it's our best attempt at healing after the erratic excursion. Madness has no sense. Nothing can bring value to your loss.
You close your wounds when you become dedicated to declare that this madness stops here, with me. It is responsibility more than spirituality. Spirituality is a way to justify the unknown, which in this case was known all along, as big as a steamroller. And yes, you can surrender to the thought that this has happened, as in the past tense.
Now it is out of everyone's hands.