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I'm mentally ill sometimes

February 17, 2019

After baring his soul to me for most of an hour, a patient cocked his head, screwed up his face, and asked, "Am I crazy?" Usually when people apply that word to themselves, I reassure them that I never use it. Calling ourselves or our lives crazy is generally not a practice of self-compassion. On this afternoon, however, a more playful response came to me. "Yes, I think you are crazy," I told him, "in the way that we are all crazy when we are living from the small self—the version of us that is prone to fifty times fifty shades of shadow energy: inadequacy, comparison, self-doubt, fear, depression, anger, blaming, craving, boredom, addiction and so on. The small self is a pretty crazy place, and it’s where most of us live much of the time." In talking to him this way, I’m universalizing the problem. I’m essentially saying that we’re all mentally or spiritually ill a fair amount of the time, but we’re habituated to our small-self dis-eases and how they keep us from living from our large Self. We went on to talk about daily practices that can make us more familiar with the large Self—the version of us that is centered, accepting, non-judging, compassionate, and unconditionally loving.

 

That conversation reminded me of a couple of nested meditations I’d written to reflect on my small-self. I hope you find something in one or both that helps you laugh a bit at your own private, habituated craziness, see it more clearly, and surround it with the compassion and acceptance that is always flowing in your large Self.

 

 

Maybe I’m crazy.

 

 

Maybe I’m crazy

for God—so what!

 

 

Maybe I’m crazy

for God. So, what

holy longing draws you?

 

 

Maybe I’m crazy

for God. So, what

holy longing draws you

like a moth insane for the light?

 

(Note: This meditation was inspired by Goethe’s “The Holy Longing.” Check it out. Amazing how relevant his brief poem is hundreds of years later.)

 

 

I am mentally ill sometimes.


 

I am mentally ill sometimes

and so are you.


 

I am mentally ill sometimes,

and so are you

willing to help me end it—the stigma I mean?


 

I am mentally ill sometimes,

and so are you

willing to help me end it—the stigma? I mean,

why pretend life is not difficult for us all?


 

I am mentally ill sometimes,

and so are you

willing to help me end it—the stigma? I mean,

why pretend life is not difficult? For us all,

healing begins with letting go of shame.

 

 

A few years back I told my physician I'd been feeling pretty stressed lately. I said, "Sounds strange—a psychologist saying he's stressed out." She replied, "Sometimes I think we're all crazy." I later told her that her comment was one of the most helpful medical interventions I'd ever received!

 

 

 

Both meditations from Now is Where God Lives: A Year of Nested Meditations to Delight the Mind and Awaken the Soul

Copyright 2018 by Kevin Anderson

 

 

 

 

Kevin Anderson, Ph.D. is a psychologist, author, and speaker who lives in the Toledo, Ohio area. His latest book Now is Where God Lives: Nested Meditations to Delight the Mind and Awaken the Soul is available at Amazon or thewingedlife.com

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All writing excerpts on this site copyrighted by Kevin Anderson.  For permissions, email wingedlifeinfo@gmail.com

Crecopia moth photo in header used by permission of Scott Rosenfeld, scottrosenfeldphoto.com