I have been working with male energy for some time and I am disturbed lately by the suicidal martyrdoms that have been happening lately. How do I discourage this type of violence?
A: Of course, you cannot interfere with the choices of others. However, the opposite of suicidal martyrdom is holding a strong sense of the value and sanctity of all life. There is a prevalent belief that martyrdom exalts one. There are instances in which it does. For example, sacrificing your life to save someone else's, when done in true love and courage, can result in much growth, in part because it transcends the body's fear of death and allows for choice from a higher level rather than from the purely survival oriented. There *are* causes worth dying for. However, when insecure, impulsive young men hurl themselves (and others) headlong into death, it is usually out of a misplaced desire to prove their manhood. It would be more useful to have rites of initiation for young men where they can test themselves in positive ways. Athletics functions in this way for many young men, although there is too much emphasis on winning and not enough on personal achievement regardless of score.
There is a prevalent belief that Jesus and other spiritual leaders sacrificed themselves, and that their apparent martyrdom was their key gift to humanity. The emphasis tends to be on their deaths. What really matters in the example of spiritual masters is their lives--how they lived. Those who are too quick to sacrifice their lives before they have actually lived with integrity and love are missing the point.
Channeled by Shepherd Hoodwin