|A better photographer would have captured his number. It was 18.|
Suicide is an interesting choice. Seems like things can seem so bad that it is better not to be alive. Sometimes it is understandable, and sometimes not. This is a fascinating article (https://www.history.com/news/stock-market-crash-suicides-wall-street-1929-great-depression) contradicting what we’ve believed about stockbrokers jumping from windows when they went broke. “…the number of suicides…in Oct. and Nov. 1929 were among the lowest of any month that year.” I was always curious about that… whether losing money would be enough to get someone to jump out of the window of a tall building.
People come to the temple to try out meditation. Like any self-help endeavor, they think they will benefit and instead find something difficult and uncomfortable. It is more like staring into a mirror for an hour. But the mirror doesn’t just show how you look but how you are. I talked to a psychological nurse practitioner today who told me that he never asks his clients why they are the way they are because they would just feel attacked. We don’t ask ourselves that question in Zen. Rather it is a process of noticing how we are. Are we hot or cold, hopeful or suicidal? And, in the end, we just become ok with however we are, realizing that’s our number. Like the stockbrokers, even though they had lost everything for themselves and others, there was something that kept them going. I suspect that if I asked my 100.5-year-old father-in-law how they survived the depression he would just say, “we did what we needed to do.”