Nicolae Tanase: Dr. Bassman, what is the meaning of life?
Ron Bassman: Locked in the seclusion room of the mental hospital, secured in restraints with mind-numbing psychiatric drugs coursing through my body, my spirit found a safe hiding place where it could hibernate. Such was the major crisis that would be instrumental in determining the trajectory of my life. I was blessed to learn that the human spirit has the power to overcome an imprisoned broken body.
I am not privy to a universal truth that would assign and define a meaning that all living organisms share. I humbly submit what gives meaning to my life: that the unknown and unknowable nurtures in me an awe and respect for the power of spirit. My good fortune obliges me to use what I know in service to others. I believe that each of our lives has unique meaning that emerges as we play out our corporal existence.
To contemplate the meaning of life was more important to me during the years I struggled to emerge from my formative cocoon. Now I am aware that meaning is manifested in the way I live my life rather than in the ruminating. philosophizing and searching to conquer life’s mysteries. My decisions and the actions they generate are guided by an experience-based pragmatism vested in intuition, empathy and compassion. Meaning is embedded in the tough choices that inform my attempts to live with integrity.
What clears my vision and supports my journey are principles forged in a crucible that challenged my survival. I believe that in our darkest moments or in our greatest highs we have an opening to find the courage to seek clarity within our hearts. Meaning is developed through events where circumstances do not allow equivocation.
I offer what gives me meaning – what I strive for within my imperfect life. I wish for one principle to be accessible to all: A Never Give Up attitude that makes you available to the always possible mysterious miracle that hovers in all of our lives.
~Ron Bassman, Ph.D., diagnosed with schizophrenia in his 20s and hospitalized twice for more than a year, Dr. Bassman recovered and transformed those experiences and became a licensed psychologist. Along with his psychotherapy practice, he devotes himself to writing and speaking his truth to power with the aim of exposing and challenging the misconceptions of mental health professionals and the general public – and most importantly inspire fellow travelers. His written works include the book, A Fight to Be: Experiences From Both Sides of the Locked Door. His current work is centered on community inclusion and social justice.
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