Monday, January 17, 2011

The Voice of Sanity

I was meditating this morning and this idea came to me...the idea of "sanity." I think that sanity, to some degree, is personal. Someone with prejudices defines it one way, someone of a particular passion, say an artist or an athlete, defines it another. As I thought about the idea of sanity, the word "sanitize" came to mind. The word "sane" comes from the Latin word "sanus" meaning healthy. To sanitize something is the act of making something clean which, logically, leads to health. It seems to me, if I can sanitize my thinking, my own phobias and fears may also be cleansed or neutralized. Any sense of victimization or paranoia also disappears. I am more powerful, centered, and calm.

The only path to sanity for me has been to first accept what is happening. It is to simply acknowledge that what IS, well, IS.  Byron Katie, a wonderful self-help guru wrote a beautiful book called, "Loving What Is" and theorizes that the only path to sanity is through acceptance. It does not necessarily mean that an action is not needed. In fact, if I understand her theory correctly, it requires a personal action of rethinking the situation that is making you "insane." "Sanitizing" your thinking means taking your thought about it, your opinion about it, and setting it aside by asking the question, "Is my thought about this particular event even true?" While it may or may not be true, its what you choose to do about it or label it at this point, that matters.

I have tasted sanity and I have tasted the opposite. One is sweet and calming and the other is bitter and destructive, not only to others but also to myself. The first is real and grounding, the second frame of mind assumes. Assumptions are most always "off target" and are rarely sane. Assumptions produce feelings of bitterness and resentment. Sanitizing my thoughts shows me a path, an answer, a possibility that I might have otherwise missed.  To sanitize my thoughts always brings me to a place of compassion for others and patience for myself. I wrote a poem in my youth that ended with, "I think I need to be bleached!" I had no idea how true that was at the time! The Tao Te Ching tells us that a master is someone who "learns to unlearn." Christ told us to remove the plank from our own eye instead of the sliver from another. Somewhere, in the wisdom of our prophets, they all prescribe the same thing. Sanitizing your thoughts is a small toll to pay if peace is the path you wish to travel upon.

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