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How Do You Make Sense of a Voice That Speaks to You from an Afterlife You Don’t Believe In?

–Mona’s Message From the Other Side

Deciding What to Believe
Years passed. Harold remained my shrink until he died of multiple myeloma in 2016, the result of the proximity of where he lived to Ground Zero. I read Jung’s theory of the collective unconscious. I experienced profound moments of connectedness to “It ALL,” when hiking with my wife in the majesty of the Swiss Alps. And I came under the influence of the writings, and even a face-to-face therapy session, with the existential psychotherapist Irvin D. Yalom.

Yalom’s fascinating novel, “The Spinoza Problem,” examines the life and work of the 17th-century Dutch philosopher of Portuguese Jewish descent, Baruch Spinoza. Spinoza was excommunicated from Judaism because his ideology was considered heretical. He believed, according to Yalom’s novel, that “this worldly existence is all there is, that the laws of nature govern everything and that God is entirely equivalent to Nature.” Some have described the belief as “a deification of nature.”

That works for me. My conviction that Mona’s message was indeed a signal from the other side has subsided. In its place is Dr. Yalom’s assurance that our lives are but a parenthesis of existence as ugly or beautiful as we ourselves make it, sandwiched between eternities of nothingness on both sides.

That’s a philosophy I’ve grown to love, and to fit Mona’s message into as a powerful reminder, perhaps from my own individual unconscious, that we are all part and parcel of the natural world, with its ebbs and flows, beginnings and endings, living periods and eternal nonliving periods.

As my professor mentor said, when life is over, we’ll all be making food for worms. “Look deep into nature,” Albert Einstein said, and then you will understand everything better.”

When we die, I think, our “energy is woven into the fabric of the universe,” as Agnes McKeen, the mother of a son who died by suicide, was quoted in a column by David Brooks in The New York Times. We become, as Mona said in my dream, or whatever it was, “sort of… a part of… It ALL.”

Whether those were Mona’s words, or my own speaking to me from my unconscious, I believe they’re true. And for now, they’re words I live by.

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Martin D. Hirsch
Martin D. Hirsch
Martin Hirsch started building his own communications consulting practice in 2017 after a career spanning almost 35 years with one of the world’s leading international healthcare groups. He’s led internal and external corporate communications, brand and reputation management, and crisis and issue management. Working in both the United States and Europe, he has advised multiple CEOs and collaborated with colleagues all over the world. Martin’s strengths include executive consulting, strategic message development, content marketing, storytelling, communications training, public speaking, mentoring talent, and inspiring organizations to advance beyond their limitations.Lately he’s been helping clients by writing keynote speeches for top executives, developing strategies for pitching new business and explaining complex issues, ranging from how to apply new digital health tools in the pharmaceuticals industry to making sense of the rapid and complex changes challenging employees to maintain their equilibrium at major corporations. Martin also works as a faculty adviser at the New York University School of Professional Studies, helping graduate students with their Capstone Papers. His speaking engagements have included presentations at the IABC World Conference, the European Association of Communications Directors Summit, the Corporate Communications International Leaders Forum, the European Commission Communications Directorate and the Rotterdam School of Business Reputation Forum Netherlands. More recently, he was a panelist at the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association conference on expat issues held at Pfizer headquarters in New York. Martin’s writing, including essays, letters and poems, has appeared in newspapers and magazines in the U.S. and Europe. You can read his blog on MUSE-WORTHY, here on BIZCATALYST 360°. He received the American Association of Journalists and Authors 2018 Writing Award for Best Personal Story Blog.

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