A Capacity for Irrelevant Dancing (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 198)

Blood beats in the ears. Beat, beat, beat. A slow drum in the darkness, beating in the ears of one who lies wakeful with fever, with the sickness of too much misery. It beats unceasingly, in the ears, in the mind itself. Body and mind are indivisible and in the spirit blood painfully throbs. Sad thoughts droop through the mind. A small pure light comes swaying down through the darkness, comes to rest, resigning itself to the obscurity of its misfortune. There is resignation, but blood still beats in the ears. Blood still painfully beats, though the mind has acquiesced. And then, suddenly, the mind exerts itself, throws off the fever of too much suffering and, laughing, commands the body to dance. The introduction to the last movement comes to its suspended, throbbing close. There is an instant of expectation and then, with a series of mounting trochees and a downward hurrying, step after tiny step, in triple time, the dance begins. Irrelevant, irreverent, out of key with all that has gone before. But man’s greatest strength lies in his capacity for irrelevance. In the midst of pestilences, he builds cathedrals; and a slave, he can think the irrelevant and unsuitable thoughts of a free man. The spirit is slave to fever and beating blood, at the mercy of an obscure and tyrannous misfortune. But irrelevantly, it elects to dance in triple measure—a mounting skip, a patter of descending feet.

Antic Hay

Aldous Huxley          1923

Love Not of the Real Child (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 197)

It is one of the turning points in therapy when the patient comes to the emotional insight that all the love she has captured with so much effort and self-denial was not meant for her as she really was, that the admiration for her beauty and achievements was aimed at this beauty and these achievements, and not at the child herself. In therapy, this small and lonely child that is hidden behind her achievements wakes up and asks: “What would have happened if I had appeared before you, sad, needy, angry, furious? Where would your love have been then? And I was all these things as well. Does this mean that it was not really me you loved, but only what I pretended to be? The well-behaved, reliable, empathic, understanding, and convenient child, who in fact was a never a child at all? What became of my childhood? Have I not been cheated out of it? I can never return to it. I can never make up for it. From the beginning I have been a little adult.

The Drama of the Gifted Child: the Search for the True Self

Alice Miller          1994

But Not (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 194)

Pretext Comment: This passage is the most succinct yet comprehensive statement I believe that I have ever come across which explains the overwhelming majority of ongoing mental illness in any of its various forms.

I knew

what had been done to me,

but not

what I had done to myself.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein          1995

The Two Poles of the False Self; The Root of much Mental and Behavioral Illness (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 190)

Paraphrased pretext note: According to Buddhist psychology, narcissism is an inherent consequence or side effect of maturation in human existence. It does not necessarily have to become a demon of future suffering, instability, and mental anguish, but most often it does. The adults suffering from such eventually become parents and pass this insufferable torch onto their children via their over invasiveness/intrusiveness or neglectful behavior in relation to their child’s true self. The child’s narcissistic anchor is unable to lock and hold on a stable parental entity in this dynamic and is thus unable to naturally autocorrect by withering away into oblivion from whence it came. Instead, the narcissistic anchor becomes a narcissistic “demon” possessing the child and that demon then assumes one of two possible versions, creating the shell of a false self around the child. Often, the child grows into an adult who continues to carry the demon for the rest of their life.

Cribb 2017

  •

Just as the philosophers of the Buddha’s day could be described as either eternalists (who believed in an immortal heaven, God, or real self) or annihilationists (who believed only in the meaninglessness or futility of life, so the human psyche finds comfort in alternatively embracing one or the other of these views. they are in fact, the two poles of the false self: namely, the grandiose self developed in compliance with the parent’s demands and in constant need of admiration, and the empty self, alone and impoverished, alienated and insecure, aware only of the love that was never given. The grandiose self, while fragile and dependent on the admiration of others, believes itself to be omnipotent or self-sufficient and so retreats to aloofness or remoteness, or, when threatened, clings to an idealized other from whom it hopes to retrieve its power. The empty self clings in desperation to that which it feels can assuage its hollowness or retreats to a barren void in which it is unapproachable and which reinforces the belief in its own unworthiness. Neither feels entirely satisfactorily, but to the extent that we are governed by the demands of the false self, we can envision no alternative.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

Awakening or Bondage (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 185)

Yet, one of the most compelling things about the Buddhist view of suffering is the notion, inherent in the Wheel of Life image, that the causes of suffering are also the means of release; that is, the sufferer’s perspective determines whether a given realm is a vehicle for awakening or bondage. Conditioned by the forces of attachment, aversion, and delusion, our faulty perception of the realms—not the realms themselves—cause suffering.

thoughts without a thinker

Mark Epstein, M.D.          1995

Who do you think loves you? (Love vs Sex 244)

A woman said to a man “You have repeatedly called me a bully and a person who suffers from mental illness and delusion, how could you want to be with me if you believe that and I am constantly making you miserable?”

The man replied “I never said you were making me miserable. I never said that. You are putting words in my mouth that I never said. Instead of trying to tell me what I believe or how I feel about you, you might do better to pay attention to objective reality and my actual behavior, that is if you want to engage with the truth. You do not get to tell me how I feel or put words in my mouth to justify your fears. That is a distortion and a manipulation of reality which I cannot acknowledge for more than what it is. I cannot defend myself against your delusional projection and I will not. You are avoiding reality by creating a false premise regarding all of my feelings for you. You need to engage with reality.”

The woman flustered, fearful, and full of emotion, shot back “You have called me delusional. . .and a bully. . .and you have told me I was mentally ill! You have told me those things many times! Those are real! I am not making any of that up. Those comments, your comments, came out of your mouth. They were and are real, and they have happened many times. How can you think that I am such a monster and say that I do not make you miserable all of the time?”

“I have said you were a bully and that you are being delusional. I have also said that you suffer from mental illness and you do. I said all of those things and they are true, they are. I stand behind every one of those words and I am not recanting any of that. You are not always a bully, and you are not always delusional, but you do suffer from mental illness, and all of those things are connected and part of the same issue. I have discussed that calmly and indisputably with you a number of times. You know that.” Maintaining as stable of a tone and cadence as he possible could, the man continued, “How many times have I told you myself that I have also been delusional, and a bully, and suffered from mental illness? How many tales have I recounted about my negative and ugly experiences from being lost and confused in that delusion in the past? I have moved beyond almost all of that now, but it still lingers and I suppose that it always will. So, I’m not pointing any righteous fingers at you or pretending like you and only you are some kind of demonic abomination. I am trying to help you, you damn fool.”

He turned away from her for a brief moment as her silence and softened expressions seemed to suggest that she was trying to process his words. He gave her this moment of silence alone, intentionally, before continuing with what he needed to say. “I would look at your question differently. I would look at it and think about it in almost the exact opposite manner. Why would you not consider that if a man you know who is highly aware and perceptive, who knows you maybe even better than you know yourself, . . . if this man knows every one of your damn archdemons and slithering sufferings; your bully behavior, your supreme delusions, your overwhelming fear and insecurity. . . if he knows all of the intricate complexities of your mental illness and anguish. . . if he knows all of that shit, and not just the happygolucky superficial or watered down version of yourself that ninety-eight percent of the other guys and other people assume is the total culmination of you, . . . that he is the one who truly knows the totality of your existence inside and out, and that even with that knowledge and the burden of that knowledge, he has chosen, willfully chosen, to stand by your side despite all that excessive and weighty baggage you keep toting around with you everyday. Who do you think loves you? A person who just plays with your pseudo-perfect selfie projected persona or a person who truly forms a union with the good, the bad, and the ugly of you? You need to answer that question.”

Cribb          2017

 

Picking Flowers in the Midst of Hell (Warrior Poet Mental Yoga 182)

“I try again and again to console my heart and to pick the flowers that grow in the midst of hell. I find bliss, and for an hour I forget the horror. But that does not mean that it does not exist.”

“You expressed that very well. So you find yourself surrounded by death and horror in the world, and you escape it into lust. But lust has no duration; it leaves you again and again in the desert.”

“Yes, that’s true.”

“Most people feel that way, but only a few feel it with such sharpness and violence as you do; few feel the need to become aware of these feelings. But tell me: besides this desperate coming and going between lust and horror, besides this seesaw between lust for life and sadness of death—have you tried no other road?”

Narcissus and Goldmund

Hermann Hesse          1930