Sheldon Kopp’s Escatological Laundry List

(learned on life’s rocky road)

Christopher Laine
3 min readSep 1, 2023


Famed psychotherapist Sheldon Kopp, author of If You Meet The Buddha on the Road,Kill Him, was a remarkable human being. His writing, his work as a therapist, all of his life was dedicated to helping others find a sense of purpose and wholeness through therapy and spiritual pilgrimage.

Dr. Kopp left behind a list of things to remember all the time, to remind ourselves of them since death is forever at our door. Remember them because they might keep us from losing focus, of forgetting that we have very little time on this world and our illusions run away with us if we let them.

Sheldon Kopp’s Escatological Laundry List

  1. This is it!

2. There are no hidden meanings.

3. You can't get there from here, and besides there's no place else to go.

4. We are all already dying, and we will be dead for a long time.

5. Nothing lasts.

6. There is no way of getting all you want.

7. You can't have anything unless you let go of it.

8. You only get to keep what you give away.

9. There is no particular reason why you lost out on some things.

10. The world is not necessarily just. Being good often does not pay off and there is no compensation for misfortune.

11. You have a responsibility to do your best nonetheless.

12. It is a random universe to which we bring meaning.

13. You don't really control anything.

14. You can't make anyone love you.

15. No one is any stronger or any weaker than anyone else.

16. Everyone is, in his own way, vulnerable.

17. There are no great men.

18. If you have a hero, look again: you have diminished yourself in some way.

19. Everyone lies, cheats, pretends (yes, you too, and most certainly I myself).

20. All evil is potential vitality in need of transformation.