Don Cornelius: Life, Death and an Opportunity to Learn
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past 4 decades, chances are you’ve at least heard of Soul Train if not Don Cornelius himself. Just as a quick reminder, Don Cornelius is the creator of the Soul Train show. He went from being a local DJ in Chicago to creating one of the longest running television series ever as well as creating a brand that has outlived him through award shows and cultural influence.
Don Cornelius was not only a pioneer but an inspiration, mentor and role model for many other entrepreneurs. The first thing we should all recognize is that we all have friends, family or loved ones who want to support us during difficult times. Even if you may be “crying” out and no one has seemed to notice, if you really want support then total strangers can and will surface to provide solace! So many are still wondering why such a successful man who lived 75 years of life and has certainly seen his share of ups and downs would take his own life. Many have been questioning whether or not he had a history of depression, substance abuse or perhaps he had been diagnosed with an illness.
We may never get clear answers to this puzzling question but what we can infer from his life and take from our own experiences may provide a valuable learning opportunity for all. Many of us wake up every morning to go to a job and yet may still hold dreams and aspirations for grander experiences. We may still be searching for our “calling” or seeking greater fulfillment through entrepreneurial pursuits.
I think it behooves us to remember that in spite of whether or not we ever achieve our ambitious goals, that we will never find complete happiness in any phenomenal experience that is assuredly temporary. Regardless of our achievements and successes, we cannot take these possessions or accolades with us into the afterlife. So the goal is to try to enjoy life to the fullest without attachment to status, homes, cars or material objects.
In fact, we tend to forget that none of these attainments have much worth if we don’t have our health, peace of mind, love and a grounded understanding of life. I always enjoy a quote from Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” which says “If you can meet triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same!” Rudyard is telling us that these two extremes are in fact two sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other and yet neither of them are permanent.
The way to internalize this quality is to maintain even-mindedness in the midst of all dualities. It is only when we begin to overly identify with the ups and downs of life that we react emotionally and make poor decisions. In the realm of metaphysics, ancient wisdom teaches us to try to recognize that there is truly only one Doer in life. That Power comes from a Source that is present within all of us. In fact, most of us intellectually understand that our next breath isn’t promised and we cannot even get out of bed in the morning if it weren’t by the allowance of something Grander than ourselves.
Yet when we fall under the delusion that we are the “doers” in life then we are subject to karma and carrying the burden of our decisions but when we surrender our achievements and humbly experience their fulfillment then we can equally endure the “downs” of life knowing that the same Source will alleviate any unpleasantness.
The majority of it rests in our ability to separate ourselves from being attached to results. The more we are able to not fall prey to being a puppet to life’s experiences, the more in-tune we’ll become and find that the Source of all permanent bliss lies within us and we won’t feel the compulsion to ever want to end our lives because of challenging times.