[Excerpt from SANE, Getting real with reality]

In insanity, pleasure is a release from the prison cell. It is temporary relief.

The greyhound is allowed to catch the rabbit before the chase is back on again.

The hamster wheel stops momentarily.

But it is a temporary fix and it is a fix that ultimately can make the prison harder to bear. Because we have experienced the relief of the end of the search.

The yoga class, the pills, the alcohol, the shopping hit, the love affair. All brilliant. The search for okness ends for a moment. We feel normal again. The weight of the self has disappeared. The prison doors open.

And then of course we are ushered back, a guard on each shoulder and the door slams shut.

The prison is the prison of unquestioned identification with this idea of self.

The bars are unquestioned belief.

The lock is the idea that something ‘out there’ can make this ‘in here’ finally, permanently ok.

And so life becomes vigilance. The avoidance of any experience that threatens or embarrasses or frightens. The quest for the experiences that will build us, make us feel good, confident.

The self is a limitation of infinite possibility, fixed in space and time, boxed in on all sides. The self and the experience are the same thing. It just doesn’t look like it.

From the perspective of the self, there is this experience happening which is entirely separate from the self, and the self reacts to it - great experience, more of that please or terrible experience, never again. We do everything possible to control what experience takes place. This of course is addiction - the attempt to control the experience of self, other and reality, to use pleasure to mask the pain of this misunderstanding.

But there is no control over what experience arises. There is no control over the apparent actions of others. Crucially there is no control over the way these actions are perceived and interpreted. There is no control over what thoughts come in, what beliefs are upheld. The entire happening is out of the control of anyone.

Sanity is understanding this. It is meeting experience as the arising of all there is right now. Nothing else is possible. And this is the portal to the realisation of simple aliveness.

Sanity is about the living, wholly unpredictable world of experience. It is about the possibility of a life of peace because nothing needs to change, a life of freedom because there is no one to be restricted, a life of joy, beauty and love because all form is welcomed.

Sanity is life in tune with itself, living itself. Seeing the miracle of itself reflected back again and again.


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