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Normal crazy people

Posted by Simon Parke, 17 February 2020, 11.00am

‘Normal crazy people,’ we are sometimes called; it is a good description.

And ‘normal’ is not to be mistaken for healthy. If we are normal, it just means that we are accepting and obeying the norms around us; whatever those norms happen to be.

‘Crazy’ means we are not in control and do insane things because we are in the thrall of automatic thoughts.

We have around 70,000 thoughts a day and 97% of them are the same as yesterday; and they weren’t true then.

There is something profoundly mistaken about a lot of me, which can be unnerving.

Our subconscious is peopled by repetitive thoughts we learned in our early years; but they are thoughts that now only make us unhappy and stupid.

But admitting it can be difficult.

A Harvard University study reckoned 96% of people are not in control of their mental faculties; so that’s 4% who are not crazy; not following automatic thought.

The start of wisdom is to realise our own madness; to appreciate how much of the time we are in the thrall of long-lying voices, which shape so many of our perceptions.

To appreciate the fundamental nature of our insanity is a big brave moment and a liberating one.

Suddenly we are awake to what is going on inside us; the endless lies we tell ourselves, the suffering we cause ourselves.

Imagine, for instance, how free we would be if our anxious thoughts ceased or our catastrophising thoughts ceased or our negative thoughts ceased.

Waking up doesn’t mean we suddenly stop lying to ourselves; the lies will keep coming, as will the suffering they cause. They have had the run of the place for so long they don’t suddenly leave.

But as we befriend our insanity, maybe it is less able to kidnap us for so long, leaving us free to notice rather than react.

So is anyone here now? Some are.

Are you yesterday, locked in the stale repetition of automatic thought? Or are you tomorrow, a kite in the wind of insane predictions about the future?

As I post this blog, am I here and now?

When I arrive here, like a daffodil in the snow, I arrive at awareness.

Less normal, less crazy.

 
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