The Restoration Of Sanity~ January 18th.

Via Benjamin Riggs
on Jan 18, 2011
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photo courtesy of Sylvie Eudes

In observation, what appears to be chaos is revealed to be order.

Harmony is a funny thing. We tend to place a great deal of importance on arranging our environment in a harmonious way. We seem to have a Feng Shui approach to life. We try to arrange our environment and the people in it, in such a way, that is harmonious. Of course, this sense of harmony varies from one person to the next, dependent upon each persons idea of what is harmonious…

We develop these ideas about the way things should be. We buy into the idea that if the world was more like this or that, then everything would go off perfectly. Once we have developed an idea of perfection an interesting thing begins to happen…

Having developed an idea as to how things ought to be, we impulsively begin to assign roles to those in our environment. We assume that it is their task to bring our plans of perfection to fruition. We place unverbalized expectations upon the people in our lives. At this point we have created a world where we rest at the center as the foreman, and everyone dances around us charged with the task of accomplishing our agenda. We misunderstand our place in the world, and as a result come to false conclusions about the role others are to play in life.

It becomes our life. We own it. Therefore, things are not just happening, they are happening to us. This is an important distinction. Instead of everyone having a role to play in life, they appear to be assigned a role in our life. As opposed to being an expression of space-time, it is as if we stand apart from space and time, as a solid-permanent entity, that owns a particular stretch of real estate.

It is important to note that most everyone is involved in this fundamental confusion. So, it should come as no surprise that conflict is the inevitable result. The world is spinning around 6 billion centers!

This whole movement rests upon the assumption that the world is suppose to be other than it is… Of course, we come to this conclusion, because reality does not conform to our ideas about reality. So, sitting at the core of this assumption is the original misunderstanding, namely that thought is the Alpha and Omega. We believe that what we think is the first and last word. As a result, we believe that reality should conform to our thinking. This is the inception of insanity. We are insane when we buy into the idea that reality is suppose to be inspired by our thinking!

When this isn’t the case (which is often!) life appears to be chaotic. This chaos, or our inability to conceptualize truth, invites us todevelop ideas about how the world should be. From this point of view, what we call chaos, is in reality nothing more than a lack of understanding. This lack of understanding gives rise to a certain sort of fear or paranoia- a feeling that there is no ground to stand on. This fear is then expressed in our expectations or ideas about how the world is suppose to be… Our hopes, aspirations, or expectations are nothing more than the affirmative version or the expression of our fears and apprehensions.

How do we solve this problem?

This whole thing is built upon the idea that reality is suppose to conform to our thoughts. What if our thinking should be inspired by reality? What if we paused for a moment to listen to truth, and allowed what we heard to be expressed in our thinking? What if, instead of perceiving our lack of understanding, or the discrepancy between our thinking and reality as a threat, we saw it as a reminder to check in with the present moment? What if that paranoia, or the feeling that there is no ground to stand on is really an intelligent message from the body, which suggests that our thinking is divorced from truth or content, and is therefore unhealthy?

Confusion is nothing more than a lack of observation. When we listen all things are made clear. In observation what once appeared to be chaos is revealed to be order. It is not that reality changes per se. Instead, we have discovered the natural order of things, and allowed our thinking to be a reflection of this order. This is the restoration of sanity.

~ via

Elephant 365 is an example of Elephant Journal’s commitment to the Mindful Life. Everyday we will offer a new reading regarding meditation practice and the spiritual path, all infused with a fresh perspective on traditional spirituality. If you would like to follow Elephant 365 on FaceBook click here and become a fan of Elephant Meditation by clicking the “Like” tab at the top of the page.


About Benjamin Riggs

Ben Riggs is the author of Finding God in the Body: A Spiritual Path for the Modern West. He is also the director of the Refuge Meditation Group in Shreveport, LA and a teacher at Explore Yoga. Ben writes extensively about Buddhist and Christian spirituality on Elephant Journal, and his blog. Click here to listen to the Finding God in the Body Podcast. To keep up with all of his work follow him on Facebook or Twitter.


3 Responses to “The Restoration Of Sanity~ January 18th.”

  1. Roger Wolsey says:

    YES! More of this sharing the light, love, and truth that we know!
    Yet, let's be sure to not just "preach to the choir," … and, yes, we don't have to be preachy about it. But sharing what feeds and helps us is what we're called to do. I realize the irony here as according to the author, we get into trouble when we say that "we have roles to play" in this world. But, something motivated the author to share his advice and that something is what I hope we'll all nurture and share with others.

  2. TamingAuthor says:

    "This whole thing is built upon the idea that reality is suppose to conform to our thoughts."

    Reality does conform to our thoughts. The reality we see is the sum total of our thoughts.

    "What if our thinking should be inspired by reality?"

    Then we enter the insanity loop. Our thoughts create reality, then we look to reality to inspire our thoughts. That is the karmic loop of insanity. That is attachment that the Buddha says we should cease.

  3. Tamara says:

    Hey! Feng Shui works. Why not enhance your environment and energy to go with the flow rather than against it?