You know how in life there are those times when it seems as if the universe is trying to send you a message?
In the preceding twenty-four hours I have been told three times how sane I am. I suppose I must include the caveat that all three of the people telling me that also added that they were hearing voices – well, one voice, mine.
I suppose I should also say that although I am quite close in different ways to all three of these people, none of them know how much time I spend each day maintaining my Publishers Clearing House eligibility, certain that on November 26 I will be seeing the Prize Patrol at my door.
That aside, let me say, the concept of ‘sane” means very little to me. Its definition varies – like every other word – from consciousness to consciousness, and I have very little use and even less patience for most of those definitions and the culture’s use of them to bludgeon and judge and berate.
That said, despite the number of times it has been suggested gently and not so gently that perhaps my grip on reality was less than full, I have never doubted my sanity. At the same time, I early on discovered how little benefit came from arguing with people about the shape and content and landscape of reality. This has resulted in some people thinking me eccentric, an embracer of crackpot theories. Others think me full on delusional.
Well, we all have our stories.
However, I have no doubt that I have achieved a level of clarity and an acuity of vision which are both rare and bordering on magically insightful. So, no, I have never doubted my sanity, my only doubt was whether or not being clear and seeing reality was worthwhile or beneficial in this particular world in which we live.
It comes at an incredible cost. In addition, maintaining clarity and insight in a world so determined to live in illusion and delusion and confusion is exhausting. It becomes even more so when one evolves to the point of recognizing that definition and boundaries and finality are all illusions. It can be terrifying to discover that everything is constantly in flux, re-shaping, re-naming, re-defining, plastic. It make one want to run to one or another concrete, ten commandment of a belief system when one realizes that reality is NOT in fact a finished product, but rather a becoming, growing, blossoming, ever in flux creation of which one is part. Yes, even one’s own mind and beliefs are subject to complete and total revision each and every second. Living in that energy requires a huge amount of courage and stamina and self-esteem; refusing to accept the presumptions and tenets and cultural biases, insisting on examining life fully – it is a lonely and terrifying path to follow – because there is NO PATH, there is only faith in moving forward.
So, having been told three times in the past twenty-four hours just how sane I am, one might think I brought the topic up. One might think the conversation arose from relating the same story to three different people. One might think. But one would be wrong.
I cannot reveal the discussion topics without invading the privacy of others, so, I won’t. Suffice to say that the build-ups to the crux of the matters at hand were quite different and only one of the conversations was about me and my current situation. What was the same about all three was that the friends doing the talking all said something like the following – I have joined all three into a paraphrased monologue – but the essence remains:
“Recently I find myself in difficult situations and I start hearing things you’ve said to me. Those philosophies of yours about how everything everyone says or does is mostly about the spin and to take time to be silent and listen to the story under the words. Behind the words. And let go of the spin.”
And my favorite discussion; “I heard you telling me that story about how you came to terms with people’s judgments about you, about the stories they were telling about things you did which seemed like total lying versions, and you said, No. Not lies. That’s how they saw it. That’s how they need to see it where they are. You can’t tell other people they can’t have their stories because that gives them permission to doubt your truths, too.”
Sanity. What a concept. It turns out – IN MY STORY – that sanity seems to equal the ability to ALLOW all the possible stories about each TRUTH into being, and still manage, somehow, to maintain your connection to the grounded Light and Love of your OWN version – without belittling, degrading, or berating others for theirs.
If we could manage to allow for that possibility – for the possibility of different ways of seeing – maybe this world of arguing and division and constant effort to frame the story in our own terms would become more loving, more light, more … sane?
(A note about the art: I have used “Ghouls Night Out” by Christine Wu to illustrate what I consider to be the dichotomy of trying to maintain sanity in this chronically over-stimulating world in which we live. Her art speaks to the many faces and phases within people, and, for me, the exhaustion that occurs when trying to express those faces and phases. Please check out her website and portfolio. Click the pic or click here; Christine Wu.)