From Wishing Death to Loving Life
As long as a person gets in his own way, it will seem that everything gets in his way.
Suicide and the attempt to commit suicide are themes that should not be omitted in this book. It is a subject that needs some clarification. First and foremost, I would like to state that I do not have an opinion about the fact whether suicide is permissible or not. This planet is a place of free will, and that is a precious and important part of the “experiment Earth.” This means that we are allowed to do what we want with our lives. I believe that there is no judgment and certainly no condemnation in the cosmos. Suicide and the attempt to commit suicide are an indication of much human suffering which needs help and clarification.
If people try to kill themselves, it is usually a sign of obstructed emotionality and life energy. The reason for having a death wish is often sought in existing life issues. However, the present problem is the result of the path through life whereby denial and repression of emotions are central (again). By focusing on present life issues, we do not go to the heart of the matter, namely the death wish. Taking your own life is usually self-denial rooted in self-hatred. Self-hatred is hate that is wrongly directed and which should be transformed into anger and grief. Suicide, certainly when it is committed in an aggressive way such as throwing yourself in front of a train, is usually retroflection, a boomerang of extreme aggression directed at oneself. Even if depressive behavior and despair are demonstrable on the surface, we will have to search for the original anger and the beginning of sorrow. It is also possible that a flood of emotions from the subconscious play a role. The self is not strong and integrated enough to steer the emotions in the right direction.
If we cannot find the cause in the present, where should we look? In the past, of course! Despair and self-hatred do not just come into existence; they have their roots in the past. To find a cure, you must go back to where it went wrong in your life because that is where you take the sting out. That sting is called undigested experiences. It is never the trauma itself! This is a misconception that often leads to a sense of victimization and to victim behavior. As soon as you realize that these undigested experiences are the reason for your misery, you can start with the Work of digestion. During sessions I found that many people have a hidden death wish. In actual fact, many discovered a suicidal child in themselves. Sometimes it was even a suicidal baby, who was, of course, not able to articulate that feeling. Arthur Janov, the founder of the primal scream therapy, claims that a hundred per cent of his clients have been confronted by suicidal feelings during sessions. Most of us have forgotten those feelings because they were once too painful. Remembering these feelings is very difficult because our perception of reality was vague when we were a baby. We had difficulty focusing, and that is the reason why we have more difficulty remembering the time we were a baby than we do later years. But it is possible to let this suicidal inner child come to the light in deep emotional work as an adult. Suicidal tendencies are a generalized “No” to life and also generalized anger against life and the whole world. The light switch in this work is directing and localizing the “No” in time and seeing which life you are really saying “No” to. This “No” has usually got to do with an old history that you have repressed. You have forgotten the story, repressed the feelings, but the subconscious “No” as expression of pain and anger has stayed and been generalized to the whole of life and directed at the here and now. It is, therefore, very important to always place your feelings and emotions correctly in time and place.
I remember a young woman who, during emotional work, started to feel how she once lay in a cradle in a room with many doors where she felt very unsafe. She experienced her parents as being emotionally distant. In her perception, she did not have a warm emotional bond with her parents. After she had felt emotional coldness during breathwork, whereby she started to shiver, her suicidal inner child started to speak: ‘I want to go back’ and ‘I don’t want to be here.’ By completely experiencing this ‘No’ in an eruption of anger after which an intense and helpless grief came out, her “Yes” to life could grow.
If you want to be able to say “Yes” to life, you will have to find all your “No’s”, experience them again, and specify them; by digesting the “No’s” in your past, your “Yes” will become bigger in the present!
Besides this experience of emotional coldness and disappointment in the childhood years, you may perhaps carry a so-called incarnation refusal on the basis of past lives. This often happens when you died in a traumatic way in a past life, during a war, for example. The same Work applies here as with the “No” from this life. By experiencing the old trauma anew and by working through it in an emotional way and by remembering it, energy will be released that will help you to live fully in the present and to say “Yes” to the possibilities life on earth offers you. I know the incarnation refusal from my past life. I died a traumatic death in Auschwitz in my past life, which meant I had now a lot of trouble coming to earth. As a child, I always used to walk on my toes, and I remember my mother encouraging me and saying “Heels, toes!” I did eventually learn to put my feet on the ground, but my soul had more trouble with earth. Only when I relived that past life in therapy did life start to become really nice. Your “Yes” will always be unsatisfactory if your “No” is repressed. Your “Yes” will become more complete to the extent that you bring your “No,” which has many layers, to the light. The following is the story of a forty-year-old woman and her liberation from depression:
During a number of months, I felt myself becoming more and more depressed and tired, and I had a flat feeling as if dark clouds were hanging above me, and all lights were going out inside me. I desperately wondered where all my cheerfulness had gone. I was sure that it had nothing to with my current life and situation. I had a great relationship, beautiful children, and nice, interesting work. The depression felt like an ancient part of my soul, but I could not place it. When I started Spark of Light Work, memories started to surface: when I was a child, I wore a button with the text: ‘I wish I was dead’. Everybody laughed about it, I did, too. But I did not wear it for nothing. I remembered lonely, sleepless nights. My teenage years followed. I withdrew; I thought I was stupid and uninteresting. Alcohol helped me to feel a bit better.
Through intensive breathwork I reached emotions that I once could not express, but now could, thank goodness. I experienced this seemingly endless loneliness and cried for weeks. When I had worked through this painful period, images surfaced from a past life in which I had committed suicide as a young woman. Here, too, intense breathwork aided by music helped me to remember and to digest. From my emotions came the image of losing my mother as a young child and being lodged with family by my father. As a grown-up, I could not find my niche in life and felt very lonely. During the reliving, I felt how alone and desperate I was. It defies description. I felt less and less life energy and was pulled towards death as if it was the only solution. I cut my wrists then. In the reliving I could feel how the blood and life slowly drained out of me. I was happy that there was someone there to supervise this process. In talks I started to see the connection between that life and the depressions in my current one. After all this deep Work, I started to recover from this ‘dark night of the soul’. I started to gain energy and what I had wanted so much, happened: I regained my pleasure in life.
If you have remembered and digested the pain of your past, in this life or in the past one, you can feel compassionate about your inner child or the other person you once were. You straighten your back and meet the challenges of life with courage and pleasure.
The Work in Steps
Here are the steps to move from moving from wishing death to wishing and loving life:
- Going from the realization of a general “No” to a specific “No.” Starting to remember where the “No” belongs in time, place, and relationship.
- Expressing the “No,” the anger, and the sorrow in a therapeutic manner.
Embracing the inner child and granting it life
from my book: the liberating power of emotions