After hearing one of the most prolific speakers on mindfulness meditation speak at UCLA, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn- I was floored. One of the most profound and meaningful moments of his speech was when he talked about a suicidal patient. A man who felt he was at the end of his rope. He was recently let go from a job he worked at for 25 years, his wife had lost her battle to breast cancer, and now, tragically, he lost his only daughter in a horrific car accident.
The man was all alone and he decided that life was no longer worth living. He walked to the edge of the Golden Gate Bridge one night in an attempt to just end it all. As he stood there, looking out into the vast sea, he wondered ” what if I just didn’t jump and say I did?”
That is what the man did, and he walked away that night. Back to his life, free of the “what’s next?” free of the “I should’s,” free of the “gotta do____.” He just was. There. In the present moment. He died, and therefore he could finally live.
I thought “what a profound concept?” What if we all acted as though we jumped off that bridge, and then proceeded to live as we did, without expectations of where we should be, how much we should be earning, how much we should be weighing, how much we should be loved, etc? What if we just died in our minds, so that we could live in the present?
Much of the mindfulness research out there shows that when we try and “pull” ourselves out of depression through avoidance (which is usually doing too much, thinking in the future, or ruminating on the past), it is similar to quick sand- the harder we struggle to free ourselves- the more we are pulled in. Rather, by being in the present moment, it forces a different neuro-cortical structure to operate.
What would you be doing right now if you just died in your mind? My guess is probably not anywhere near your computer reading this ;)
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Dr. Colleen Long is the author of “Happiness in B.A.L.A.N.C.E,” and practices in the Los Angeles area under the supervision of Dr. Richard Oelberger (PSY22186) . Dr. Long works mainly from a positive psychology framework as it applies to addiction, depression, relationships, body image and weight loss. Her website can be found at www.DrColleenLong.com. All public speaking/media event requests handled through FreudTV (info@FreudTV.com).