Awareness — We’re Crazy

Meer DeMello

We’re All Crazy

The poor psychologists, they’re doing a good job. They really are. There are times when psychotherapy is a tremendous help, because when you’re on the verge of going insane, raving mad, you’re about to become either a psychotic or a mystic. That’s what the mystic is, the opposite of the lunatic.

Do you know one sign that you’ve woken up? It’s when you are asking yourself, “Am I crazy, or are all of them crazy?” It really is. Because we are crazy. The whole world is crazy. Certifiable lunatics! The only reason we’re not locked up in an institution is that there are so many of us.

So we’re crazy. We’re living on crazy ideas about love, about relationships, about happiness, about joy, about everything. We’re crazy to the point, I’ve come to believe, that if everybody agrees on something, you can be sure it’s wrong! Every new idea, every great idea, when it first began was in a minority of one.

That man called Jesus Christ — minority of one. Everybody was saying something different from what he was saying. The Buddha — minority of one. Everybody was saying something different from what he was saying.

I think it was Bertrand Russell who said, “Every great idea starts out as a blasphemy.” That’s well and accurately put. You’re going to hear lots of blasphemies during these days. “He hath blasphemed!” Because people are crazy, they’re lunatics, and the sooner you see this, the better for your mental and spiritual health.

Don’t trust them. Don’t trust your best friends. Get disillusioned with your best friends. They’re very clever. As you are in your dealings with everybody else, though you probably don’t know it. Ah, you’re so wily, and subtle, and clever. You’re putting on a great act.

I’m not being very complimentary here, am I? But I repeat: you want to wake up. You’re putting on a great act. And you don’t even know it. You think you’re being so loving. Ha! Whom are you loving? Even your self-sacrifice gives you a good feeling, doesn’t it? “I’m sacrificing myself! I’m living up to my ideal.” But you’re getting something out of it, aren’t you? You’re always getting something out of everything you do, until you wake up.

So there it is: step one. Realize that you don’t want to wake up. It’s pretty difficult to wake up when you have been hypnotized into thinking that a scrap of old newspaper is a check for a million dollars. How difficult it is to tear yourself away from that scrap of old newspaper.

I was hanging out with a friend last night and discussing smoking. I said to her that there was lots of stuff in the media about smoking being pretty much the worst thing ever, and asked her if she was worried about her health.

She said that she is even though she is not a frequent smoker. She’s worried about the health effects and is thinking about taking drugs to help her quit.

We sat around talking for a bit and I noticed her taking out a cigarette. The ensuing conversation went something like:

Me: Are you going to smoke a cigarette?
Her: Yeah, I feel like I could use a smoke.
Me: I thought you were saying that you wanted to stop smoking.
Her: Yeah, but I already have these cigarettes.
Me: So you don’t want to let them go to waste since you paid for them?
Her: Yeah.
Me: But you think that they’re killing you?
Her: Cigarettes don’t necessarily kill you.
Me: But you are worried about your health and want to quit?
Her: [Lighting up] Yeah.
Me: What are you thinking about right now? Are you thinking about wanting to quit?
Her: No, I’m thinking about wanting to smoke.
Me: And not wasting the cigarettes.
Her: Yeah.

I didn’t know what to say really. I have had a couple of my friends recently tell me that I’m getting preachy and I’m trying to stop. It was just sort of surreal to have a conversation with someone about their decisions as though they weren’t real things affecting the current interactions.

Did it seem crazy? Well, in a sense. As DeMello says though, it also seemed horribly normal.

Yesterday I decided I was going to stop eating meat for as long as I could. I believe in the ethics of vegetarianism, but keep putting it off because it’s inconvenient. I finally got to a point, in part because of the whole follow your dreams thing I’m doing with grad school, that I figured, “if not now then when?”

I was having this conversation with my friend having just inhaled a burger from Big Moe’s. I managed to make it a good 36 hours meatless.

The difference though was I never remembered until I was done with my burger that I was trying to quit meat. If someone had reminded me part of the way through, I would have stopped eating.

I think that’s the better part of wisdom for me at this point in my life, not doing good all the time, but being committed to paying attention and trying again when you realize you’ve screwed up yet another time.

Does it make me feel slightly saner than most of the people around me? I’m not terribly good at paying attention, but particularly when I see someone notice something they dislike and not change what they’re doing to align with their values, I do think myself slightly saner.

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