One believes he is the slayer, another believes he is the slain. Both are ignorant; there is neither slayer nor slain. You were never born; you will never die. You have never changed; you can never change. Unborn, eternal, immutable, immemorial, you do not die when the body dies. Realizing that which is indestructible, eternal, unborn, and unchanging, how can you slay or cause another to slay?
(Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita)
He was a soldier in the greatest battle there ever was, Athens against the invading Persians. They had been fighting since dawn and the sun would be setting soon. They were ridiculously outnumbered but somehow they kept the line of defense going. If the Persians broke this last line of defense they would kill everyone in a 200 mile radius; their wives would be raped, their parents killed and their children put into slavery. That was the true reason he was still standing even though two arrows had already penetrated him; his shield was breaking under the weight of the incoming battle axes. He was slipping in and out of consciousness and his movements were purely mechanical at that time. He didn't know whether he was dreaming when he heard the trumpets of Spartan from the far distance. He felt a push from behind and suddenly saw fear in the attacker's eyes. There they came on their white horses down the right flank of the Persians, cutting trough the opposing lines like a knife cuts butter. His loved ones will be save now, and perhaps even he can still make it after all.
It is hard to find that distance the Bhagavad Gita talks about when it comes to our life and that of our loved ones. We cannot help identifying with what means the world to us, just as the soldier of Athens did. But then, times have changed for the better. While our media wants to claim otherwise, violence, murder and war is actually receding as it is carefully shown in Steven Pinker's "The Better Angels of our Nature" by providing centuries of criminal and war records. We are still part of the same movie though. The ego conquers and gets defeated just in the olden days, it is just that this time around we don't need to wait a life-time to start over again. For today's' quarterback a lost playoff game feels like the end of the world, until he steps back and fires himself up for the the next season; just as one day he will make plans for his retirement.
We wouldn't kill ourselves over a job, would we? So what if the stuff didn't quite work out; we take the disappointment and the lingering negative energy and throw ourselves into the next endeavor with twice the energy and a lot more experience. Your overall life story has to make sense, little setbacks along the journey are just that, temporary set-backs.
"You are not the voice in your head", our spiritual folks have claimed for as long humanity has been around. No matter what happens to us, we can always take a step back and perceive Oneness in what is. I remember the story of an Indian Raja who got executed by an invading Muslim Sultan. As he took his last breath he said to to him, "Thou art Him" and died. You don't have to be as enlightened as the Raja in our story. Just take a good look around you, the opportunity to find the big perspective in your life story always presents itself no matter what storm might be brewing in your life right now.