Gary Speed is dead. Here are some of the words that described him before he ended his own life… Footballer. Father. Successful. Popular. Handsome. Happily married.
Something is wrong with this picture but we can’t seem to adjust the set. While the media scramble to find a story angle or uncover the missing piece that would make sense of it, perhaps we should look instead at some of the concepts behind the stories we live (and die) by.
The story of “Cause and Effect”. Things happen for a reason…
A man loses his job, loses his wife, loses his money, decides life is not worth living and reaches for the noose. This trajectory of events is understandable. If the purpose of life is to get more – more success, more money, more status, then losing (being the opposite of getting) is a forerunner of death. This is a reasonable assumption.
Rene Descartes summed up the Age of Reason with his motto “I think therefore I am”. In other words, consciousness is in our brain. We glorify the mind to the detriment of our emotional and spiritual make up. Take Dominique Strauss Kahn – emotionally deranged, in a spiritual void but sharp as a tack so he still commands respect (like many business and political leaders). The mind trumps heart and soul.
But something is wrong with our mind. A million people are committing suicide every year with 10-20 million failed attempts. Suicide in American males 35-49 is the Number 3 cause of death. There is an epidemic of depression.
Our standard response to this phenomenon is “Buck up. Be more positive. Think of those less fortunate”. In other words, other peoples’ misfortune should cause us to feel happy.
Hmmm. Happiness is the equivalent of winning?
This rationale of ‘More’ and ‘Winning’ isn’t working any more. And that’s because we have left the Age of Reason and we have entered the Age of Energy.
New Rules. Changed Stories. Altered States.
The Story of ‘More’. As humans we are instinctively drawn to the concept of expansion. This is evident from our earliest recollections. The sight of a bean plant slowly growing in a jam-jar of wet blotting paper is a magical event for a child. The interest that accumulates on a bank account set up by a grandparent intrigues a teenager.
But this is a literal interpretation of a metaphysical principle. In the Age of Energy, growth needs to be holistic. We are meant to grow emotionally and spiritually, otherwise all physical growth will be distorted.
We forgot to ask the childhood question – “Why?”
Why do we crave more money, status and success? The answer will always lead to “in order to feel valued, appreciated and loved; in order to have a meaningful connection to another human being; in order to see someone we like when we look in the mirror”.
When ‘More’ is a strategy of the mind, it is incapable of achieving any of these things. It can only create a picture of success. Being a thought, this picture is an illusion that (a) we don’t believe in and (b) we can’t see in the mirror. It might look wonderful to the outside world but our inner experience will tell a different story.
The Story of ‘Winning’. As humans we are hard wired to compete but this is an old ‘Survival of the Fittest’ pattern from Neanderthal times – we either win or we lose. Now that we’ve entered the Age of Energy we are developing an awareness of ourselves as one organism. The singularity is getting nearer. On some unconscious level, we know that winning brings with it a sense of loss.
The beginning and the end. We crave connection and we’re terrified of connection. This is the paradox of our times and our greatest challenge. If we believe we are “our mind” we will know ourselves as small and inadequate beings who cannot connect without losing the little that we have. This leads us to misuse our desire for ‘more’ by:
1. Accumulating stuff – we need to have more money if we are to achieve validation through high status brands.
2. Accumulating knowledge – books, subscriptions, seminars… we need to know more in order to feel successful.
3. Accumulating wisdom – seminars, retreats, psychics… we need to heal ourselves with more superior guidance before we make our contribution to the world.
All this ‘more’ has caused us to become psychically obese. We are filled to the brim with information and now we feel sick. Not old fashioned sick like Tuberculosis, Polio, Smallpox – these are diseases of the Age of Reason.
The disease of the Age of Energy is Depression. Like energy, it can’t be seen and it certainly can’t be reasoned with…
But it is definitely deadly.