“In individuals, insanity is rare; but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule.”
A new friend that I met shares with me a history of bad mental health and all of the usual attempts at getting better: under-qualified groups of friends and family members and sponsors and psychiatrists and therapists, our own bad decisions, all with the best intentions, offering failed attempts to help with our problem.
Not unlike anyone, we both have a tendency to blame others. Even those who say they’re trying to help. This is because others can never understand someone’s problems fully. It is your problem and, like fingerprints, each of our problems is completely unique only to us. And others all have ulterior motives, even if they don’t know it.
A month ago I took a trip to my first Transcendental Meditation retreat with another new friend, a 70-year-old TM teacher who has meditated for over 50 years. She and I talked and philosophized for days. Her life story, her experiences and her insights are powerful and inspirational.
We were talking about TM as it applies to mental health, addictions, and other self-destructive behavior. In short, the never-ending cycle of suffering.
For the next five days I wouldn’t be seeing my other new friend and when I’m away from him for more than 12 hours or so, I start worrying that he’s dead or at least in bad trouble.
Explaining this to my friend on the bus trip and pointing out that my friend recently learned TM, it had not stopped me from worrying about him. But in my doing TM, I was at least “detached” enough to realize we can only help ourselves. One way I help myself is to try to help others, which I will explain toward the end.
Later on the bus-ride I fell asleep. While I slept, she wrote the following:
“The mind can play tricks even when it is entirely free from the influence of trauma, overwhelming grief, negative environment, and even when it is free from the effects of destructive foreign substances and chemicals.
“And yes, even when everything is normal, it can happen that the person may resent or ‘get scared of,’ the liberating effects of the practice of TM because it is so different or opposed to the deeply burdensome feeling of problems and suffering, especially long-time problems and suffering, which has literally become a part of a person’s life, or even his being.
“As you asked, I wonder if your friend wants to let go of his problems? It can also happen that the person may feel guilty for not dealing with the problems head-on–or having dealt with them head-on over and over with no success–not realizing that there are problems that cannot be solved on the level of the problem, but only by transcending the problem… where the problem does not exist at all.”
I love that so much I’ll repeat it, “…there are problems that cannot be solved on the level of the problem, but only by transcending the problem… where the problem does not exist at all.”
That just says it all to me. I had been trying so hard to figure out how to say that for the three years I have been practicing TM. The best I could do was:
What we need is someone we can access anytime, anywhere, who understands our individual experience 100%. Yet that same someone must be completely neutral and unaffected by this experience. At the same time, this person must be totally qualified to deal with us and our problems.
You might think this person cannot exist. But that is basically what we are looking for when we ask others for help, right? Well, this person does exist and is always accessible.
This is you at your essence that we are begged by distraction and fear tactics to never access, as it is detrimental to the insanity we are surrounded by. The insanity we are constantly trying to escape. The insanity that controls us, externally and at our own hands (trying to deal with insanity).
Is this really a bunch of bullshit? Am I really more of a bullshitter than the family and friends and doctors and sponsors and the rest of the under-qualified world trying to help you for… what reason? What would my motivation be except the most unbelievable: I want people to get better? I mean, who really wants that, right? There must be a catch.
Well, I truly want others to get better… for their sake and my own. I’m selfish, like everyone. I do have ulterior motives. You see, the better others get, the less insanity I have to deal with. Even better yet, the less insanity we are all influenced by together, the more fun we can have together.
That’s it. That’s all I ever wanted. Plain and simple.