Die Before You Die: A Mystical Approach to Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

Eckhart Tolle says that if we feel like dying, we might allow our self to die, by surrendering that “ego” of our mind to reality as it is. Such surrender is found in all the world’s religions and mystical traditions, including Christianity.

When we entertain suicidal thoughts or severe depression, when we say we just can’t take it anymore, others might often try to cheer us up, to tell us that life is worth living, to show us the bright side of things, to help us try to overcome those negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Those are all fine and good, but maybe those thoughts are telling us something more about life and death and who we really are.

Eckhart Tolle takes an unconventional approach in this video below. If we feel like dying, his surprising suggestion is to allow yourself to die. Not through suicide, but complete surrender to the present moment, absolute acceptance of reality as it is right now. Allow that ego that you think you are in your mind to die, the “psychological self,” all those thoughts that the ego is producing, let them go, let them die, let them dissolve into the nothingness of the present moment. It is an absolute submission of your mind-made “self” and understandings to Reality, a consecration of your “self” to what is, to Being.

This seems to be at the core of all mystical spiritual traditions, from Christianity to Islam to Judaism to Buddhism to Taoism. The “self” of the mind, sometimes called the inner critic or judge or devil, must be allowed to “die” for us to realize our Life, for Life to realize its Self. It is commonly called “dying before you die.” That which is wishing to die is actually the ego, it is the self-made thoughts of the human mind, the constructed “self,” the “self” that emerges in human self-awareness that gives rise to all the ideas, thoughts, concepts, stories, understandings, beliefs, knowledge, the symbolic structures that fill the mind and which come to overwhelm it, and all else that we typically associate with our understanding of who we are in the world.

We allow those thoughts, beliefs, understandings, concepts, to “die” on the altar of a full awareness of the present moment of life, just as it is. And when those thoughts are gone, then there is just life left, just peace, just silence, just this, just being, just breath. Only consciousness or lived experience is left when the ego passes away, and we come to realize who we really are is that Consciousness or Life that is living itself out through this particular body-mind and every other body of the cosmos.

When there are no more thoughts left in the mind, then there are no thoughts of “me” left either, and the “self” we thought we were is gone. Then Reality can reveal itself to us, as it really is, beyond all words or symbolic forms, or constructed “selves.” Then our state of consciousness may shift and the true Self may be unveiled, the Christ, the Buddha-nature, the Atman, the al-Insān al-Kāmil, the Tirthankara, the no-self, the Ultimate Reality, the Absolute, the Real.

The mind lets go of trying to know reality as a separate object from itself, and simply is Reality itself. Reality becomes its own lived experience, its own living being, its own breath, its own essence. Consciousness becomes aware of itself. Reality recognizes itself. God knows its Self as in a mirror. Then we know we never were that ego we thought we were, but something far deeper and greater and eternal.

Here are a few words from Jesus in this regard:

If anyone will follow my path, let them utterly deny their self, forget their self and surrender its thoughts and interests entirely, it being lifted up in crucifixion, and follow me in what I do.

Whoever wants to save their self will lose it and they will be destroyed, but whoever will surrender this self to be lost, to die, because of me, will save it. Their true Self will be found and known.

-Matthew 16:24-25, BHT

Those who love their self will eventually lose it, but those who reject their self’s worldly thoughts will save their eternal Self.

-John 12:25, BHT

The Apostle Paul also said many things about this, such as:

If you have been resurrected in Christ, then you look for greater things, where Christ consciousness is right with God, at-one in God.

Your thoughts are now on those higher things, not on worldly desires.

Because your ego has died, and your Life is now mystically at-one with Christ in God.

Whenever Christ, who is our very Life, is manifested, then it is our Self who is manifested as him in that grace and majesty.

-Colossians 3:1-4, BHT

Partial transcript of the video:

I suggest you practice dying, by surrendering completely to the present moment. Don’t demand that this moment be different. It is what it is. Then the ego dies. Instead of committing suicide, I highly recommend surrender. Much more effective. Die before you die… Try surrender, and see what happens, which means, no complaint about anything anymore, mental, complete acceptance of this moment as it is… So if you feel the pull of death, die now to the mind-made self, the ego. Allow the ego to die. Complete surrender to what is. And see what happens. You may suddenly find the peace that passes all understanding. It means you’ve died. The ego is dissolved.

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2 thoughts on “Die Before You Die: A Mystical Approach to Depression and Suicidal Thoughts

  1. Bryce, a paragraph from my ebook:

    Most true mystics feel that eternal union is assured when you give up self during this lifetime. Sufis say, “to die before one dies.” The Christian mystics call it “death of self.” Kabbalists refer to it as bittul ha-yesh, “annihilation of the desiring self.” Whenever there is no observing “self” then, in transpersonal actuality, there is no “other.” In self-less living, all is experienced as unity in essence. The greatest achievement in life is maintaining that realization.

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