Wayne Wirs Committed Suicide

Wayne Wirs committed suicide on the 31st of August 2017. He did it in clear reasoning and without regrets which is evident from the message he left on his website. He was in excruciating physical pain for the past few weeks of his life, which contributed to his decision to go.
His photos tend to come up in search when one is looking for ‘Jed McKenna’. I spoke to Wayne only a couple of weeks ago when he contacted me after having read the EM. He was extremely amicable, gentle and positive. I couldn’t sense a single malicious bone in his body.
He wrote a few books, lead a normadic life while living in a van, was classed as homeless, was free from internal drive to leech off others and got too much connected to Eternity. The perspective of Eternity, even though giving one Wisdom – cannot be LIVED in a day to day human Reality. This is the reason why I keep the emphasis on THIS, the mundane ordinary human life. Eternity, or what I call ‘Boundless Emptiness’ – can destroy the internal psyche and any connection to this world if one dwells there permanently.
He was love, and it killed him. The best of them, the humourous and greed free, those who do not set it as their life purpose to dominate and extract… do they go without leaving a trace? Really? But then.. why am I thinking of the man I hardly knew, and feel a sense of loss?
Those few emails from Wayne, every word in them – were full of sincerity. That is why.
RIP, brother.

17 thoughts on “Wayne Wirs Committed Suicide

  1. I read his “notice” via his blog this morning. I didn’t know that his name came up when searching for Jed. But he did write some interesting blog posts. When one gets close to the precipice, look over, then take a step back.

      1. oh yes, sorry. how does that effect ones ability to live life? I read about it alot. Aboutg how people who wake uup, have trouble doing the same things they used to do. I just cant comprehend why that would be the case? I would think you woul probably enjoy life even MORE.

  2. Was reading a couple of the articles Wayne Wir wrote and googled him only to find out he had committed suicide in 2017. A lot of what he wrote really resonated with me. I don’t condemn his decision. I’m getting up there in age and see the handwriting on the wall in terms of the “care” I’ll be able to find in case of a situation of unbearable pain and lack of funds to get the help I need. More and more of us have an exit strategy, not because of depression or despair per se, but because our civilization is committed to greed instead of care.

    And, I also appreciate your comment about how a person can become so in love with Love, that some essential connection to the earth can be lost. I think about the Buddhist ox herding pictures, and the importance they stress on enlightenment AND returning to the village. So many “spiritual seekers” are looking for a one way ticket out.

    Not sure if this was true for him. Other people have commented on what a kind, loving person he was. When he was with people, he radiated love. Yet, I wonder if life on the road isn’t mostly pretty isolated. Certainly life in America continues to be more and more an experience of life in isolation. It sounds like he may have been tempermentally suited to live a life of solitude. The down side to that is the lack of community support when the going gets rough.

    We are such mysteries! I sincerely pray that Wayne is at peace and continues to unfold in his spiritual journey.

  3. He seems a bit like a modern-day ascetic, especially with the wandering homelessness and enlightenment–aspect of it. According to certain texts, Suicide from Pious Motives is illegal in the Kali Age (https://goo.gl/Nsjcjr). But I don’t know, there are also examples of monks in the Pāli Canon committing suicide when their illnesses worsened, all of them died as arhats however. Rest in peace to him.

    1. One has an absolute right to treat their existence as they see fit. Labelling suicide as a sin and illegal (as you pointed out) is: 1. a way for groups to exercise control over individuals. 2. a fear expression of each individual group member

      In the immediate post Ice Age when human population numbers plummeted to near extinction – suicide would have been detrimental to every group survival. Childbirth was an ordeal, survival rates were low and each healthy tribe member was of great value.

      Not so now.

  4. I wrote this shortly after Wayne’s passing. If I may I would like to share it here:

    Every day in the United States …

    22 veterans commit suicide. Wayne Wirs was a veteran, and he committed suicide. In my opinion, that is the most telling fact about Wayne’s passing. He wrote that his military service made him a “trained killer,” and that he almost died during that service.

    He created an elaborate spiritual narrative about his choice to end his life. It is important, in my opinion, that we not take that narrative at face value, or at least that we not take that narrative to be the whole story. I think Wayne wanted to kill himself because of the trauma he carried from his service.

    Again and again, he repeated two catchphrases:

    “The smart have their books and the wise have their scars.”
    “The less there is of me, the more there is of God.”

    I’ve wondered about the scars. The word seemed to suggest something finished, healed, but I think the reality was, those were not scars. They were open wounds.

    Throughout nondual culture you encounter the attitude that true awakening, enlightenment, involves complete annihilation of the relative person, of the little “me,” of the ego.

    I don’t believe this attitude was the cause of Wayne’s demise. Rather, I believe it was a convenient, ready-made, compelling argument he could adopt for the powerfully self destructive undercurrent that surged through him and carried him toward oblivion. It was a cloak of invisibility he could don to cover the scars, the open wounds, the raw humanity. In a phrase, it was a spiritual bypass.

    That expression is often used dismissively, as a criticism or even an attack, but I think it’s important that we understand this without judgment, without condescension. It’s unfair to Wayne to say he was deluded or he was lying to himself. He was simply wounded, and he was trying to find a way to address his woundedness.

    He wrote eloquently about his desire to merge completely with God. I think his experience of God was authentic and his urge for total unity with God was real. But I also think he was describing an urge to lose himself, to fly free from the trauma he carried, in that merging.

    He spoke for years about his intention to kill himself. He set three “tripwires” he would respond to with suicide:

    1. Running out of money
    2. Losing the van he lived in
    3. Pain that did not resolve with a trip to the emergency room

    The first two could be solved with a blog post, and the third is absurdly demanding and impatient. A trip to the emergency room is a starting point, not a solution.
    Wayne’s sciatica was treatable, I’ve no doubt of that. He only accepted cursory treatment, and he consciously acted in a way that made the pain worse. He said driving made it worse, but he kept driving until he could no longer remain sitting.

    He said he didn’t want to go through physical therapy. He was a strong, healthy man in his fifties. It may be the pain would have resolved if he simply stopped driving for a few weeks. My sense is, he was terrified of having to depend on other people, and he was terrified of being told what to do. And my sense is, he simply wanted to die.

    There has been much discussion about “conscious choice.” In my opinion, this framing is problematic and even dangerous. Anyone who wants to die can tell themselves they are making a conscious choice. Those discussions are online, in the open. Anyone can see them, including those who are lost, desperate, looking for a way out, looking for a rationalization. I’m concerned that some may look to Wayne’s way of passing as an example, as a template. I’m concerned that we, in our respect for Wayne as a spiritual person and a spiritual teacher, not become enablers, facilitators of premature death. We must, in my opinion, separate the fact of Wayne’s suicide from the persona of an awakened teacher he presented.

    I have seen comments that “He couldn’t have been awakened,” invoking the impossible (and pervasive) paradigm that all human fallibility must have burned away for an awakening to be authentic.

    As I knew him and experienced him, Wayne was luminously awake. He wrote brilliantly, beautifully, soaringly about his experience, and he offered insights and encouragements that have inspired and benefitted many who have encountered them.

    Wayne was awake, I’ve no doubt of it. And he was human. In his awakeness, he was truly one with God, I’ve no doubt of that. And in his humanness, he was deeply wounded. There is no contradiction in this. For our own sake, for the integrity and authenticity of our own awakening, each of our awakenings, each of us, it is important that we understand and come to peace with that paradox.

  5. Jerry, thank you for your thoughtful comment.

    It is a complex phenomenon. It would be impossible for me to state that Wayne suffered from trauma, although from my observation most humans do suffer from some form of trauma.

    Facing death, destruction, intense violence of a war combat moves a human being closer to the basic truths of existence. It is as if the understanding is brought upon forcefully through personal experience of war/murder and witnessing/experiencing direct real suffering.

    Those truths are shattering and, for many, quite disabling. Those people who never experienced direct threat of death – can only hypothesise about Wayne’s state of mind before death.

    I didn’t know Wayne personally, and I do not think he was a combat type, someone who enjoyed violence. Therefore, it would have affected him deeply no doubt. It is entirely possible that his wish to die ran deep and for a long time, perhaps ever since he came back.

    I didn’t look at him as a teacher. I saw a sincere and open man who may have been caught in a fairytale of God, of ‘She’ who was waiting for him on the other side etc, perhaps as a way of making his final departure seem more joyful.

    There is nothing joyful about death. He was TOO sincere, if there can be such a thing, too sincere for the world that is far from any form of honesty.

    As a bottom line – that’s what killed him. Some rare individuals were just not born for this Animal Farm. It will always slaughter them.

    He NEEDED someone to keep him grounded, anchored to this world, and there was no one, unfortunately.

    As for the act of suicide itself.. it only hurts those left behind. Wayne is alright, because he isn’t anymore.

    1. Tano/ EM

      I wonder if you can say more about your role or function in this ‘Animal Farm’, in this slaughter that you speak of.

      “He NEEDED someone to keep him grounded, anchored to this world and there was no one, unfortunately.”

      Well, you were there. What are your lessons?
      What did you do to keep him anchored to this world or otherwise?

      Do you, in other words, sense or experience some ‘responsibility’ (..and to what extent) for such rare people, or does it all seem to you as you talking to yourself, for yourself?

      And finally, do you have someone in your life, to keep you grounded, anchored to this world, when or if you get caught up (with or without physical/ emotional ailments) in some fairytale…?

      1. I didn’t do anything to keep Wayne anchored.

        I hardly knew him, but in the heat of the unfolding JedKen story I paid more attention to the fake (Kenneth) and failed to appreciate the sincere (Wayne).

        That was my lesson.

        I don’t sense any responsibility for such rare people, but when I do come across one – I like to keep them. ‘To keep’ means ‘to know them and be content they exist’. Occasionally, I also want to protect them, such as one such situation I have right now with someone very honest and paying the price for that honesty.

        I have someone to keep me grounded – me. That is all anyone ever needs.

        I don’t get caught in fairytales, not anymore. But of course the physical side of things (ailments etc) will manifest one day as I age.

        I will deal with that as and when it happens. My physical wellbeing is no one’s responsibility.

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