Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Crazy Means Nothing Left to Hide

A friend of mine loves to sing and play the guitar, but she has been too shy to play for Arthur, my husband, who is a professional musician. One night recently when she was visiting she grabbed Arthur’s guitar and played a song for us. When we expressed our delight in her performance, she said, “Now that I’ve read We Are ALL Innocent and realize that I’m crazy, it was liberating. I knew that it wouldn’t matter to you how it sounded, because you know I’m nuts!”
Crazy means nothing left to hide. Am I less than perfect? Big deal…I’m crazy. Did I do something embarrassing in the past? I was nuts. Did I do something I feel guilty about? I was delusional. Whatever I did, it was motivated by the confusion in my mind, the programming of beliefs and assumptions that distorted my worldview.
One of the benefits of recognizing my craziness has been the ability to laugh at myself, to stop taking myself so seriously. I no longer have to hide mistakes, or try to explain them away. I can share personal details in We Are ALL Innocent, and on internet forums using my real name, because they don’t matter anymore. Crazy people do crazy things.
In addition, many of us spend an inordinate amount of time trying to promote our good sides, hoping that by an engaging display we can keep others distracted from seeing our warts and flaws. When we no longer feel the need to hide parts of ourselves, we can relax and just be ourselves.
In our culture there’s something almost everyone hides—their sexuality. We are programmed to believe sex is dirty, and the sex act is obscene, and it’s wrong to feel aroused except in very circumscribed situations (like with your spouse).
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve gotten criticism for addressing sex in WAAI. Some have intimated that sexuality doesn’t belong in a self-help book that isn’t explicitly about sex. This stems from the insane belief that sex should and could be split off from the rest of life. Others have warned me that including sex would limit my audience, because people would be reluctant to share the book with others.
But again, crazy means nothing left to hide! I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say that sexual problems are rampant in our culture. Personally I think this is because we cannot discuss our sexuality freely, as we can so many other aspects of our lives. So our problems stay hidden away where they fester and grow worse. Confusion about sex was just another one of my issues, like insecurity and competition, so why shouldn’t I share about it in the hope that it would help another better understand their sexuality?
In this spirit, my partner in life and in the development of the philosophy behind WAAI, Arthur Hancock, has written a memoir entitled Exposing Myself: A Life of Sex and Truth. In this book he honestly reveals his obsessions with sex, ending a lifetime of hiding the shame and guilt about his sexual proclivities.
Arthur had a life-changing experience at the age of 28, when he realized how superficial his perception of the world really was. The next forty years have been a quest to understand this experience, an attempt to seek truth over lies and love over lust, in the midst of such adventures as playing folk music in St. Augustine. Florida in the midst of a major civil rights confrontation, and traveling to Nepal and returning paralyzed from the neck down (the year of recovery in a rehab center led to some unbelievable sexual adventures).
Exposing Myself is a great companion to WAAI, as Arthur not only takes the reader through the development of the philosophy of universal insanity, but illustrates in his own life how the recognition of his insanity has removed shame and guilt.
Recently Arthur said that publishing Exposing Myself has been of great therapeutic value. By exposing himself he no longer fears his inner blackmailer of ego (remember when you did this? See the cartoon version of this inner blackmailer at Arthur's website entitled "Why the unexamined life is so popular"). Arthur no longer has to be fixated on hiding his sexual shame and self-hatred by pretending to be superior. This has given him a sense of peace; he is free to simply be who he is; he no longer has to hide.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Eckhart Tolle: The Human Race is Insane

In his bestselling book, The Power of Now, Eckhart Tolle uses the words “insane” or “insanity” over thirty times to describe human thinking. For example:
The mind-identified state is severely dysfunctional. It is a form of insanity. Almost everyone is suffering from this illness in varying degrees. The moment you realize this, there can be no more resentment. How can you resent someone’s illness? The only appropriate response is compassion…Nobody chooses dysfunction, conflict, pain. Nobody chooses insanity…It always looks as if people had a choice, but that is an illusion. As long as your mind with its conditioned patterns runs your life, as long as you are your mind, what choice do you have? None. You are not even there.
Mr. Tolle uses the term “conditioned patterns,” I use “mind-generated reality,” but we are talking about the same process. We Are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity argues that all of our perceptions are filtered through assumptions and beliefs before they reach our consciousness, so what we see is a subjective version of reality that has been slanted towards our world-view. We confuse this subjective mind-generated reality with objective reality; we are deluded about what is real. This is why we are all insane.
The subtitle of my book is “The Mechanics of Compassion,” because, as Mr. Tolle says, once you realize that people’s minds are dysfunctional, that they are in face insane, you can no longer be angry with them or hate them.
Mr. Tolle also refers to the human race as insane in A New Earth:
One can go so far as to say that on this planet “normal” equals insane. What is it that lies at the root of this insanity? Complete identification with thought and emotion, that is to say, ego…Recognize the ego for what it is: a collective dysfunction, the insanity of the human mind. When you recognize it for what it is, you no longer misperceive it as somebody’s identity. Once you see the ego for what it is, it becomes much easier to remain nonreactive toward it. You don’t take it personally anymore…Compassion arises when you recognize that all are suffering from the same sickness of the mind, some more acutely than others.
If you’d like to learn more about how this insanity works, click here to read the first four chapters of We are ALL Innocent by Reason of Insanity (free).