On CBC Ideas program I heard an expert talk about his survey of mental institutions. He had visited facilities, interviewed those who were now living in an alternative reality either in their minds or because of that in an institution. The analysis of all data presented a single result.
People are driven “insane” when they cannot reconcile with themselves.
Recently I read a short statement that threw a brilliant light onto so much that had been crawling around in my contemplation attic place. The problem begins, “when we compare our insides to others’ outsides.”
So we see the monsters of rage and envy. We hear the whining of the spoiled child who wants everything. NOW. We are alone with the ego voice that insists that the only pleasure is in indulging in our ability to remain a victim.
I see on social media a veritable earthquake upheaval of the fort building defences. So many are in some musical martyrdom playing out of the French Revolution (their own Les Miserable), or holed up for a cause in a re-enactment of the U.S. Civil War.
The urge to be “right” is screaming out of people and they are clinging to one another’s status page yelling in anger.
“The world is as I perceive it. You are an idiot. You don’t understand me because I am sick, somebody hurt me in the past and I hate you for it now.”
We are armed with fear and ready to fire.
So we have the memories of our past crawling along the stone stairs in the fort. We cannot see clearly where the path leads. Where is the way out?
The only thing we can see is the picture of the highly glossed, white enamelled smiling teeth of somebody who is getting an award. They are always in the dead center of every photograph.
Or he or she has a car that was somehow removed from the Universe and now we can no longer own.
Somebody had my baby and I can’t conceive. That family has their heads all leaning in toward one another and there is no game of stabbing the knife in between fingers in their clan.
And so we are caught in a sense of turbulence which we cannot even admit to or own up to.
There is nothing wrong with his life or her life or their lives. I, alone, sit with anxiety about the climate, a sense of an implosion in the financial system, a knowing the emperor has no clothes and is insanely dancing. Oh please, God, make him stop.
Each of us thinks..They are not only in a state of greater reward but they are idiots who don’t understand.
The resulting emotional reaction to this psychedelic hell like confusion is that we are at odds with our own spirits.
If what I feel is in error, then I am the one out of the parade.
If what I feel is a connection to truth then I can only be in a state of confused defensiveness.
What helps to keep focused is to know that everyone is busily comparing themselves as they know themselves to the image of status others are displaying.
To put Buddhist philosophy in simple terms: Everyone has to clean the oven, or change a diaper, or suffer a broken arm. We are all in the same status. We were born into a body. The social upheavals have an energy that is effecting all of us.
Reconciliation with self is how to stay out of crazy. The studies of those who are locked away show that had that individual simply been able to see that their confusion, inward turning anger and emotional pain were exactly the correct response to their own history, they would be allowed into the world.
The monsters we try to hide are just natural and normal. No one gets out of life without the ogres within dancing around the fire when things go wrong.
A woman once told me, “I want to kill my mother.”
I answered, “Of course you wanted to kill her. It is okay.”
She will not act on it but she is torturing herself because she has angry thoughts.
We are torturing one another because we have angry thoughts.
What would happen if we could clearly see that to be in a body; to walk through a life is the ultimate challenge that we all share.
We always have the ability to choose not to be victims. We always have the ability to sit with our own very human imperfections and learn to love ourselves.
And then…. and then we will stop shooting sniper fire at anyone we think is a potential threat on social media. We will be so very sympathetic to just how difficult walking the earth is for all of us.
The ultimate goal is to stay out of crazy.