[Excerpt from SANE, getting real with reality]
There are beliefs that look right because they seem to be endorsed or everyone seems to concur with them.
But apparent ‘rightness’ means nothing more than temporary agreement. All beliefs will eventually dissolve in the face of new information.
It wasn’t so long ago that the earth was flat. Bad smells caused disease. Diamond was the hardest substance. It was physically impossible to fold a piece of paper more than seven times and for something heavier than air to fly. Smoking was good for your throat, lead-based cosmetics were de-rigueur and mercury was perfectly safe for school kids to play with in a science lesson.
The rightness of a belief only stands until more compelling information blows it out of the window.
Then there are beliefs that look desirable because they seem to be rewarded.
But apparent ‘desirability’ has nothing to do with truth. Numbers of followers, income, power, position do not equate to absence of delusion. The rewards of absolute power, wealth and deference did not, for example, make Hitler’s beliefs true or right.
We can’t look to the world around us for evidence that we are right or wrong, sane or insane. After all, the world is only a creation of the same beliefs that form the idea of self.
We can’t look to labels and concepts as they will always change. We can’t even look to our own thoughts and belief in reality as our own sanity or our own delusion are both also thought created.
And we know this.
We know that insanity is the blind belief in whatever thought throws up from moment to moment. The confusion of believing what can never be true. Mistaking convenient agreement or temporary imagination for objective reality.
We know that sanity lies in those momentary clearings in which thought and belief, seen for what they are, fall away.
Hence the title of this blog post pinched from Orwell’s Animal Farm.
All delusions are equal because all delusions are a move away from reality.
But some are more equal than others – some take us deeper and deeper into a deluded idea of who we are and what is real. While others are just a bit closer to the freedom and openness that remains when belief falls away.
In other words, some delusions create such dramatic portrayals of separation, such unquestioned assertions about reality, such fixed beliefs about the nature of others that they densely obscure the simplicity of being.
Let’s look at some examples.
There is the everyday delusion that we are this body.
And there is the ‘more deluded’ delusion that the body must be starved to death to be acceptable or that permanent peace can be found in food, sex or cutting.
(And then there is the sanity of realising that self understanding determines how the body appears. Always.)
There is the everyday delusion that I am who I think I am.
And then there is the ‘more deluded’ delusion that I am so worthless I should kill myself.
(And then there is the sanity of realising who we are is way beyond thought or belief).
There is the everyday delusion that I am separate from other people.
And there is the ‘more deluded’ delusion that for me to be safe I must annihilate those that seem to threaten my identity.
(And then there is the sanity of realising that all others are created from the same conditioned thought that creates the self.)
There is the everyday delusion that how reality appears is how it is.
Then there is the ‘more deluded’ delusion that the thought-created reality must be fought against.
(And then there is the sanity of realising there is no objective reality. Ever.)
There is the everyday delusion of sometimes believing the commentary in the head.
And then there is the ‘more deluded’ delusion of carrying out its orders no matter how harmful.
(And then there is the sanity of realising the ‘voice of separation’ never provides information about reality.)
All delusions are created equal – all are made of thought and belief. None are true. But some are more deluded, further away from the sanity of completeness, wholeness, freedom and love.
Some delusions are lightly held, ready to be given up and seen through. But some are clung onto with clenched fist, moving us deeper into an ever-greater conviction of a separate, fixed individual in a separate and true reality.
We need a new definition of insanity / sanity that does not depend on the transient activity of delusion, belief and thought.
How about this?
We are deluded and insane to the extent the thoughts of who we are and of what reality is are believed.
We are sane to the extent that there is realisation of no fixed, objective individual self and no fixed, separate, objective reality.