The Importance of Adversity
When I was 17 – 17 years old – I was the victim of a hit-and-run vehicle-pedestrian collision. I suffered severe traumatic injuries and it would not be hyperbolic to say that I got a glimpse of death. It was terrible… but it was important, and it was necessary. I was cursed (yet blessed) with scars so that I may never forget. The time that followed was full of pain and suffering, but more importantly, it was full of recovery and understanding.
I think that everyone should experience ego death at least once in their life. I think that it’s important that we truly understand how little we actually matter. I think it’s important that we understand that everything we do is for nothing. I think it’s important that we understand how there is no inherent purpose, value, or end game to anything. When you dunk your head below the water and realize how everything is nought, you can pull your head back up and see the world without the blindfolds you wear.
Letting go of the idea that everything has some kind of inherent meaning doesn’t strip you of power; it lets you define the very meaning of that power itself. If nothing has any inherent meaning, then that means you are at the freedom to define that very meaning yourself. The very motivation to prescribe meaning in the face of meaninglessness is something I find interesting in exploration. What else is there to do in the audience of a universe uncaring than to continue as you always have? Ego death doesn’t make you meander through life with your head bowed down, but instead breaks you free of your human chains to live life on your own terms.
I very vividly remember laying in my hospital bed, half alive and half dead, experiencing just that: ego death. I went under with no expectation of coming up. When I came up, I was empty. My mind and my being had been decoupled, and their connection had been completely severed. I was plastic, ready to be molded by nobody else but myself. Nothing in the world had meaning to me anymore. I was at the freedom to make the decision to reattach my mind and my being, and after that, everything thereafter became my decision.
I very vividly remember reading the dozens of cards, letters, and messages sent to me by the people around me who wanted to support me through my recovery. That had meaning to me, and for the first time in my life, I realized that it had meaning to me not because of some unexplainable psychology, but because I decided that that would have meaning to me. For the first time in my life, I held onto things not because my hands were molded to hold onto such things, but because I chose to grasp them.
You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.