A common phrase I use and have heard many others use and seems ubiquitous in many conversations within ourselves or with others, friends or strangers. It’s often an attempt to describe the condition of not being able to understand some concept, activity, situation or personal hopes and fears and their mingling.
“I’m crazy.” is a rather bold statement to make and is often a bit over-the-top in relation to what’s really going on, but in general I see it as an assertion that something in my personal world (which includes all of The World), is making me uncomfortable, creating confusion, fear, doubt, worry or a dream-like quality in my life that seems apart from my usual understandings.
It is not a condemnation, rather an understanding that much of the time my view of the world does not comport with reality across a broad spectrum of potentials. Recently, I’ve come to an understanding with those words that has turned them into the beginnings of an actionable clarity. To see that the statement is the beginning of an ultimate compassionate diagnosis that my mind is often slightly askew; hence “I’m crazy.”
Gently whispered, not yelled.
I have the tools to look at things more clearly and assess the “problem” and see where help is needed or called for or if things should just be left alone. Most troubles of the mind heal by leaving them alone. Not discarding or dismissing but setting them gently down, not in anybodies way, and then letting them be.
After some time, our view about them changes, and that changes them.
For the last few weeks I’ve become somewhat overly concerned about the seeming rapidity of a cognitive diminuendo I’ve observed within my daily activities. That, coupled with a lot of old habits in thinking from when I was young, angry, fearful and prone to misunderstanding all of life returned with a vigor that was troubling because I had thought for some time now I was past all “that”, and had become a mellow Buddhisty kind of guy. Yet, there it was all coming back and I was troubled and thought, “I’m going crazy!” (a trifle loudly), and left it at that in an attempt at resignation in place of examination.
Then, a couple of days ago I got a message from a good friend asking me for some help/advice and perhaps zoom-time to discuss some real on-going health (physical and emotional) concerns, within the context of our Zen practice. I’m no teacher by a long shot, but I feel comfortable enough to talk about solutions that have worked for me, in the same way that I can talk to a recovering alcoholic about practical ways to approach that difficult process of actualizing (making real), change within one’s habits and world outlook. In both instances the answers are almost always practical things we can set into motion to put us into a better position to see the problem /issue more realistically.
I’ve been sober almost 38 years after having ended up in the gutter begging for 85 cents for a bottle of wine (Short-dog of Thunderbird), and with help I was able to access more help and then participate in myrecovery. Alcoholism, like most issues in life is a spiritual problem as well as a habit/addiction, and just the tip-of-the-iceberg once we get serious in matters spiritual and life-affirming.
What I realized, once again, as I was talking and texting/e-mailing with my friend that I was having a problem that would be helped with the same advice or thoughts that I was offering. I was actually talking to myself also and a clarity was glimmering as a sense of hope and it was all actionable.
In other words, I could move from the stuckness in Wrong View to seeing how I could actively participate and transform that slowly but surely, over the ensuing period of time, into Right View.
Nothing fancy, no big concepts. Just being aware of how the body and mind are reacting to the same feelings, thoughts, emotions and memories (some completely false), that used to move me into discomfort and trouble- resulting behaviors, responses and reactions to daily life when I was young and ‘out amongst em’. As a young man I’m the one who excluded me, cast me out, made me feel the outsider.
Nobody did that too me. If they did it was a response to my own choices/actions, not the Universe having me as little being to bat around with Its Paws just for fun.
So, it was just a re-hash of my old (younger)self that was re-appearing for more consideration to allow a deeper cleansing to take place, when I participate; and allowing (allow, allow, allow) things to find their own peace within my effort to not be moved but rather remain calm within unfolding of old karma.
It turns out that is my purpose in life. Not to sit around and ask why me? But to investigate why not me? I’m not special, nor is anyone else. Yes, we all have an opportunity to learn, re-learn and re-re- how to change by trying to be more still than not, and allow a natural process of continuous Good to arise within us at all times. The inherent willingness we all have to help others is intertwined with an innate ability to help ourselves simultaneously, maybe not even knowing we had needed or gotten help; probably an aspect of synchronicity etc.
Yay for Us, we’re not born to
Be condemned from the
Start. We come to
Life to learn How to Be
Kind, first to our selves
Then to others and All
Living things. All of
Them, and we are Part
Of that Too.
Yay! For Us.