Too often the press reports a sad story about some famous person who has taken his or her own life. Any act of self-destruction, whether by drug abuse, alcoholism, or through some shorter route, is always tragic news; it avails no one save for the media that likes to serve this kind of misery to the public in order to feed itself. But for the aspirant who wishes to awaken from the dream of this life, reports such as these can serve a much different and higher purpose. Within them are hidden, important truths about our world, what it values, and how innocent minds are made victims of unseen forces within and around them at all times. As such, we must work to see through the usual "smoke and mirror" explanations of these tragedies and learn to read between the lines. Only in this way can the sadness and waste of human life be transformed into something promising and eventually good for all.
What is the true underlying story when we see a "star" come crashing down to earth and come to such an inglorious end? The answer is right before our eyes. Truth be told, very few of us go through our lives without the thought that the pain of being alive isn't worth the cost. The reason for the visitation of this on-and-off again sense of futility and the despair it breeds is as follows:
There is a direct and proportionate relationship between the degree of inconsolable pain that we have and a deep-seated misunderstanding of our real purpose for being alive.
A moment's examination of the above explanation helps prove its validity. After all, what does one do when, having fulfilled one's imagined purpose -- including acquiring everything once hoped for -- one still feels empty? Where else does one turn when the known roads to happiness have been exhausted? All of us have known these moments where there seems to be no escape or viable solution to our growing sense of discontent. In the case of celebrities, and in the many other unpublished stories like these, this seemingly unanswerable despair leads to acts of desperation that are ultimately self-destructive.
The shock of such stories, as is almost always the case when we learn of some beloved celebrity taking his or her life, is that we're predisposed -- even readily deceived -- into believing that a person's manicured appearance is the same as his actual character. How many times have you heard someone say something like, "I can't believe it! He was such a happy-go-lucky person," or something to that effect? This general sense of disbelief has a specific cause common to our present level of consciousness. The real reason that we believe in any public performance -- be it that of some well-known star or our own friends and loved ones -- is that we are all, to one extent or another, actors on a stage.
It's not too far from the mark to say that many of us have come to believe that being a good performer in life is somehow the same as fulfilling the purpose of life. Here's the strange logic behind the self-created misery that follows it:
For each successful "performance" we pull off around others or within ourselves, it feels as if we've won, for the moment, what we've imagined will make us whole and happy -- but the drawback here should be self-evident. Not only is it wearisome to walk around having to juggle the masks one needs to wear, but no one knows better than the actor that he or she is not the same as the character being played.
Conflict mounts between the role we are playing and what is real within us until the inevitable collapse onstage. In fact, there's really only one reason we ever "let loose" and outwardly express any negative emotion: it's because we can no longer maintain our role of being cool, calm, and in control. In other words, the mask has come off!
In today's world it is commonly accepted that social masks serve the purpose of the one who wears them. But this is not true, as evidenced by the pain in the lives of those who believe that putting on a loving or fearless face is the same as having realized those same qualities. The true purpose of any mask, whether that of others or our own, is to cover up the pain that hides behind it.
The first step in uncovering any lost treasure, whether that of sunken gold or to realize one's true purpose in life, is to remove the overburden, the accumulated debris that conceals it. Which brings us to this one last thought for those who hope to see the face of the immortal Self: it is spiritually impossible to hide and see at the same time.