Ever since the concepts of sane and crazy were invented everyone has spent at least some time wondering if they’re nuts. But what if there was a test that you could administer to yourself that told you conclusively if you were or not? What then? Because such a test actually exists and I will give it to you in this blog.
Okay, are you ready? Go to a mirror or hold one up to your face, or use that mirror app on your phone. Take a good look at yourself. Do you look human? If the answer is “yes” then you’re crazy. Because all humans are crazy. How do I know? Because if I didn’t know that then I couldn’t properly write this blog. I’ll explain.
Everyone lives inside their own thinking. What the Buddhists call ‘the illusion’ is the layer of words and descriptions and opinions that we layer over the real world, which simply Is. And through poignant events, or rapturous moments, everyone spends some time in an enlightened state. When we’re laughing and thrilled with life. When we’re exhilarated and fully alive. It’s whenever we’re appreciating the Is-ness of things.
The healthiest people do that by appreciating choice and they do it often. So people caught up in the illusion will argue over whether a movie or a book was good or bad, whereas someone who can see through the illusion finds the whole discussion meaningless. An enlightened person can appreciate that everyone lives inside their thinking and so people don’t see a book or a movie, they see their thoughts about it.
Knowing that, it seems so unnecessarily unfortunate that good friends would invest any amount of life getting into angry arguments over their opinions. What difference does that make? Why would we ruin our day to have a pointless debate where we both compare beliefs that exist only in our own consciousness? Even if we won that argument, what did we win? To the contrary, an enlightened person can even be called crazy and they’re okay with it. Because they know everyone looks crazy to a lot of people.
To a meek non-physical safety conscious administrator, working as a whitewater rafting guide or a heli-skiing guide can look crazy. But then the professional skier probably thinks much the same thing about the administrator in his little cubicle all day staring at a screen. Someone giving a speech or doing a radio show can seem insanely brave to a quiet person, and yet to a talk show host, they might find being alone a huge challenge whereas the quiet person likes it.
Likewise, a guy going to school and getting into debt for a decade past high school so that he can be a doctor and swab sores and stick his fingers in people’s bum s—that can look insane to a kid who’s getting good money to work outdoors at a job that keeps him in peak physically shape. Meanwhile the doctor is relieved he doesn’t have to live a life of menial labour. So what’s crazy? It depends completely on who we ask.
Having kids, not having kids, being married, not being married, this job, that job and on and on and on. We’re all just walking swirls of opinion and when we get in proximity to the opinions that make up other people —if our opinions are too solid they tend to impact other very solid opinions. But if we’re more ephemeral and flexible and open, then we can pass through each other and feel the experience without it containing a harsh impact.
Go ahead and be crazy. Know that there’s people who will view your life from the outside and they will have harsh and negative and incorrect opinions. But whatever. How does that actually affect us? Even if they say it, words are just sound waves hitting our eardrums. They don’t demand that we engage with them.
We can be open to others views even if they’re about us. After all, we have some opinions about other people too. But instead of sharing them or even complaining about them, how about if —as much as possible— we all stayed conscious of our thinking, and we just dropped the combative thoughts about differing opinions?
And we should not just reduce our internal thinking, where we poke at their statements even as they’re speaking. We’re better off if we reduce our negative external talk too. The arguments, the put-downs, the needless opinions. That should all be muted as much as possible. We are healthier to favour input over output.
Instead of spreading negativity, what if we also focused on what we like about the world? Because there is no point in striving to be seen as sane or healthy or smart or successful in the eyes of someone else. Their opinion lives only inside their head, and whoever else they can convince to believe it too. But there’s over seven billion people in the world, soon to be ten billion.
Everyone does not have to like us regardless of the reason. And even the ones that are our friends don’t have to agree with us about everything. So just relax and listen to people without feeling that their views have anything to do with us. Do that and some people will still think we’re crazy. But at least we won’t care because we’ll be enjoying life so much more.
I hope you enjoyed reading today’s blog as much as I enjoy writing them. Thanks for your time. Have an awesome day.
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.