“We all die. The goal is not to live forever, it is to create something that will”- Chuck Palahniuk
Just goes to show that no matter how rich, successful or powerful you are and even if you genuinely have love in your life and are sincerely pursuing your Dharma, life is not eternal. We are living in unprecedented times today with more people transitioning to the other side than ever. This includes a number of celebrity and public figures. I am reminded by one such example of the late great Anthony Bourdain. Bourdain, a celebrated author, cook and TV host left us this time two years ago, shocking the world at large. The effect he had on global masses were revealed only after his transition.
His sudden demise also brings up a deeper issue that is slowly becoming a global narrative- one of happiness, fulfillment and peace of the soul. Why would someone who seemingly has everything in the world be compelled to go into depression, to go back into substance addiction or not have the will to live anymore. Let’s explore the success of the free, technological advanced world that we live in today. The western society, known as a template of a free and equal society, there is more focus on success and achievement yet perhaps less on inner fulfillment and genuine contentment. We have more than ever before yet we are more depressed, sick and lonelier than ever as well.
Anthony Bourdain, in my opinion was truly following his Dharma in life- taking his audience on a magical journey through food, culture and community. But how can a man who seemingly had it all, loose the fight to this own inner demons?
Perhaps there seems to have been deep sadness inside himself. Coupled still with some reminiscence of addition and disillusionment, perhaps he did not ask the right questions or look in the right places for the answer.
In western society, we are unfortunately not equipped to deal with deep, complex maladies such as depression and loneliness.
They dont encourage you to seek help, especially with alternative remedies and metaphysical modalities. Young or old, people are not encouraged to get help or explore.
We are not asking the right questions, or looking for answers in the right places or seeking advice from the right people. I don’t believe we are focusing on what’s truly important. But why is this the case?
In the end, the only thing that matters is the divine connection you can have with your true self and indeed the divine. That alone can fill the heart with unconditional love and fill the void inside that alone can keep these maladies at bay.
In Sanathan Dharma, or Hinduism as it is commonly known today, a fundamental spiritual principle is that life is just a Leela, or divine play. We are all actors, playing out our parts and fulfilling our Samskaras- Karmic Patterns. Everything is Maya, or a Divine illusion, the only thing real is the soul and its journey.
The oldest spiritual and indeed scientific texts in the world, the Vedas, dating atleast 5000 years if not more, talk about these profound concepts of interconnectedness and oneness.
The solution may be a cultural one. The west could benefit enormously from looking to the east for its hierarchy of values. In India, for example, Hindus accept the impermenance of everything material and understand that the only thing that is of any importance or consequence is to move towards Moksha or spiritual liberation. Seeking truth is the highest goal in Indian Hindu culture. In India, even the poorest have an understating and surrender to the divine flow of life and you can see this in the glimmer in their eyes and their warm smiles. Some of them have a inner peace you would struggle to find in some of the wealthiest cities in the world.
Self love and self compassion come from knowing that you are not the mind or the body but the spirit that resides within. When you honor that spirit inside as divinity and know that is it connected to the universal consciousness, only then will you revere your own life and the life of others.
In his last interview- his most evolved version yet, its thought provoking and intimate and we get a little glimpse of his soul. He shared some intimate thoughts of some of his most vulnerable and darkest places. He spoke of why we do the things we do and the connection we all try to find through food and life itself.
There have been other cases of depression and high- profile suicides as well more recently that of Kate Spade and so many more. If the ones that have the resources to seek all the help they can get, don’t get it, there is little hope for someone who cannot afford to or someone too young to know where to turn. This seems to be an alarming problem in the western world and hopefully they find the courage to find solace their soul desires. It may be looking east or looking within, but we hope the people that need compassion, understanding and love get it during their most defeated times.
Anthony Bourdain taught us the value of community, love and connection. May his legacy live on.
OM TAT SAT