Death is our final destination in this journey of life

Death is a natural thing. It is part of the life cycle, and yet we fear it because we are afraid of the loss of those we love and we fear our own extinction.

The ego fights for its survival. It cannot see beyond it's own interests. It fears its own demise, and yet we intuit that there is more to us and more to life than our own egos. We have learned in many instances "to rise above it" and let the ego's instincts dissipate. We have learned to empathize with the experience of others which requires us to transcend our own ego and put ourselves in some else's place. There are many ego deaths every day if we are aware of them.

Death is the letting go of the ego and dis-identifying with our body and going on into the great beyond whatever that may be. It is our final destination of the journey here on earth and it is a transformation which we can only guess at.

We are told by spiritual masters like Jesus, Buddha, and others than death is nothing to fear. It is going home to the place from which we came, the mystery of God.

Failure is the path to success


Failure is often filled with embarassment, shame, and sometimes guilt. Because of the shame mostly, we are motivated to avoid failure and sometimes to lie about it to save face. Of course this a perverse and pernicious priniciple because we learn from mistakes and failures all the time. Watch a baby learn to walk, How many times does the baby stumble and fall? Watch a person learn any skill like riding a bike. How many times must they fall before they learn to keep their balance?

Mistakes are a staple of life. Cursed is the person paralyzed because they are inert out of fear of making a mistake.

Creativity and success requires risk and the willingness to make mistakes, to fail.

I tell people to make as many mistakes as they like. My only rule is that when you make a mistake take respoonsibility for it and clean up your mess. Don't put it off on others by blaming them or leaving the consequences for them to repair.


It is in opening our hearts that we are truly free and independent

"It is your fear that makes you a slave - it is your fear. When you are fearless you are no longer a slave; in fact, it is your fear that forces you to make others slaves before they can try to make a slave out of you."


Perhaps the biggest fear that we have is the fear of death, although some say there are greater fears such as the death of a loved one, the loss of one's money or favorite possessions, etc. Of course, Roosevelt said that the greatest fear is fearing fear itself.

What is your greatest fear?

Perhaps the more interesting question is "How do you manage your fears?" Isn't that a lot of what a spiritual life is about? A lot of people cope with their fears with religion. I used religion that way for years, but I think I am moving past that now. I don't think I need religion to do that for me any more.

Many people use their patriotism to cope with their fear and they regress to the myth of militarism. We can see in the case of Viet Nam and Iraq that this doesn't work. A military strategy to fight a war on terror is ludicrous. These are very unenlightened people who push such a strategy and it is doomed to failure because it does not speak to the human soul, the human spirit. Killing others does not lessen our fear and terror, it heightens it.

We have two dry drunks, Bush and Cheney, formulating our current policies in dealing with the world. They both are filled with fears and terror which apparently have never been dealt with at a psychological and/or spiritual level and so they resort to militarism to quell their fears. It doesn't work for them and will not work for our nation.

The true meaning of freedom and independence is freedom from fear. This year, 2006, we are more afraid, more filled with terror than ever as a nation. We are constantly reminded of 9/11 to manipulate us into slavery by giving up our civil rights with the Patriot Act, the NSA surveillance, the increasing demonization of the immigrant, a growing intolerance for people with whom we would disagree.

What we need as a country is the courage to be uncertain, the flexibility to deal in a loving and just way with all peoples, especially people who are different from us. The antidote for fear is love and understanding, not militarism and increasing rigidity.

Our fears have made us slaves of governmental oppression and subjugation. Our fears have made us killers and oppressors in Iraq, Viet Nam, El Savador, and other countries around the world. Our fears have made us behave like liars and bullies rather than the honest, just, and compassionate people that we would like to think of ourselves as being.

It is time for new leadership, a new vision, new values, new policies, new behavior. We must manage our fears in constructive, tolerant, and respectful ways. That is the path on which true freedom and independence lies. True courage will enable us to open our hearts to others not close them off. It is in opening our hearts that we can be truly free and independent.

Over 200,000 hits on Markham's Behavioral Health

I do not have a big blog and it certainly does not get the hits that bigger blogs get, but I notice that over the past weekend the total number of hits to Markham's Behavioral Health has now passed 200,000 in less than 3 years. I hope that the blog has been useful to some people and that somehow it has made a positive impact on the world.

To those of you who are repeat readers, thanks for stopping by.

All the best,

David Markham

Don't let your conditioning interfere with your awareness.

Schools are very good at conditioning but not so good at facilitating consciousness. Conditioning requires memorization, and consciousness requires insight and contextualization. Most institutions do not want its members to develop greater consciousness than its leaders and managers. These leaders and managers punish or discredit those members who would question their authority and undermine the obedience to their power and control. Therefore, institutions prefer "stupid" or unaware members and will deliberately take steps to keep their members "in the dark" so they can maintain control over them.

As people gain in consciousness they are more difficult to control by the powers that be and while the more conscious people have become liberated from the shackles and oppression of their own ignorance because they are no longer "in the dark" but rather, "have seen the light", they are open to punishment and control by those who want to maintain their control over the institution to have their way.

This fundamental difference between conditioning and awareness is not widely understood by most people and is not taught in schools, churches, corporations, or in other social institutions who require conditioned subjects for their survival. But it is perennially taught by religious traditions which have a mystical component, and it is also being discovered by science, especially in physics, where scientists observe that atomic particles respond and behave differently if they are being observed. It is as if they are aware that we are aware and we suddenly realize that the universe is all of one thing.

In the homeschooling community there is a wonderful slogan "Don't let schooling interfere with your education." We might modify that slogan to say "Don't let your conditioning interfere with your awareness"