When nothing else works, you can always claim insanity, as this former NASA astronaut.

It is of course very helpful to have relatively stringent definitions of insanity to use in court cases and for insurance purposes, definitions that have pragmatic and practical value in a limited set of circumstances.

But really, if we look a little closer, we may see that as soon as any of us believe any story, we are right away insane.

We take a story and its reversals, which somewhere we know each one has a grain of truth in them, and tell ourselves that only that story has truth in it and its reversals don’t. Only that one story is an accurate representation of how things really are. In fact, it is so true that it faithfully reflect a truth inherent in the world itself.

And by talking ourselves into it that way, we make ourselves go insane.

As soon as our stories of how things are and should be conflict, there is a wide range of emotions from anger, fear, desire, frustration, grief, and much more. And then behaviors flowing from that. All of it triggered because we took a story to be true, propping it up with a range of other stories, and ignoring the grain of truth in each of its turnarounds.

So if I tell myself that I absolutely must have that man, I obsess about him, think about him day and night, drive myself crazy by thinking that I may not get him. And if someone else comes into the picture, I drive myself crazy by jealousy, anger, fear, sadness, grief, until it gets absolutely intolerable, and I go out to do something I would never do otherwise.

We all do this, in different ways. We all get absorbed into a particular story, convince ourselves it is true, and drive ourselves mad in different ways when life does not confirm with the shoulds of this story. And then we resist experiencing it all, which makes it even more intolerable.

Even those core beliefs of I, I am, I am an object in the world and so on, are really forms of insanity. We believe a story and take it as absolutely true, ignoring the truth in its reversals, and so our whole experience of the world is filtered through these stories, making them appear substantial and true. We create an overlay for ourselves which seem very real, and we act on it as if it is real.

And yet, already in the midst of all this we know, somewhere, about the truths in the reversals of those stories, and we know, somewhere, that we are not this small region of the manifest world.

We know, somewhere, that we are this awakeness which has no form, no shape, no beginning, no end, is not to limited to the manifest world, and within and as which this manifest world happens. We know it, because it is our immediate experience, even if it quickly gets clouded over by beliefs and their effects and attention goes into that instead.

A side-effect of seeing all, even in a limited way, is compassion. I look at Lisa Nowak, and see myself. And right away, there is a deep compassion. My view is not fixed in rigid ideas of a split between I and her. My heart is receptive to both of us, including our insanity.

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