What if You Lost Your Mind?

When is the last time you walked by a homeless individual and secretly thought to yourself that you were so glad that human being was not you?  Even worse, if they are mumbling long streams of undecipherable words strung together by expletives, perhaps you gave them a wide berth.  They seem to have lost their mind somewhere in the pain, memories, or chemical warfare and they are left undesirable, unpredictable and unpleasant.

We call them mentally unstable.  They seem to search for something they can’t find, and if they do, they instantly begin the search again.

The mentally ill often live a life of turmoil and isolation.  However, I have noticed within myself and countless others, some similarities with our minds that can be disturbing.  Those seen on the streets are sometimes men and women just like you and I who forgot to pull the curtain on their ludicrous thoughts, or just don’t care who “sees” them anymore.  Their minds seem out of control with obsessive thoughts and fears while they remain highly intelligent in various disciplines of science, mathematics or history.

How Well Does Your Mind Serve You?

  • Have you noticed that you mumble to yourself about other people, their behavior, what you think of the rain etc?  Perhaps you don’t verbalize your thoughts.
  • Do you find yourself worrying about the same issues almost daily, if not hourly? 
  • Are you content to be quiet and still or do you need the more sophisticated diversions and stimulation – in your case maybe you have a TV, iPod or laptop?
  • Does your mind always tell you the truth about what others think about you? 
  • Do you wonder at times if people were just talking about you behind your back, or if the driver in the car behind you is talking to her passenger about you? 

The street people are called paranoid, what’s your label?

  • Can you ever find an escape from your thoughts or do you need a drink after work or a joint to set a new mood?  At least you are not sharing a needle, so I it’s a more sane approach, and less risky.

Losing your mind, as presented in this series of articles can be refreshing, revitalizing and healthy, if you lose it by choice. What you find could signal a transformation, a state of contentment, and at times euphoria.

The key is to know how to lose one’s mind by conscious choice; how to empty your thought generator long enough to experience your real self, rather than replacing the pain and anguish for an escape into non-reality.

Your mind, which in fact is best defined as craziness, can mislead you and cause you undue suffering.  The unconscious mind injures relationships and stymies your ability to become all that you want to be.  And the unconscious mind, without the normal control panel set properly, will appear to the world to be insane.

I propose there is a place for losing one’s mind and finding the inner tranquility of a presence more vast, more intelligent, more stable than anything our “right mind” could conceive.  Each Monday, for the next 4 weeks we will address this topic and offer practical ways to lose your mind and find yourself.  You won’t appear mad, or lose your job!  In fact, you will excel and become highly proficient at the things you decide to do, because of the renewed focus and energy. Life begins to reveal new dimensions when you have the awareness to see them.  I invite you to join me for the journey and share your thoughts and experiences along the way.

At the very least, you will see the homeless (not to imply that all that are homeless are insane) or “insane” with a new perspective that could change the way you feel when you walk by them or they sit next to you on the commuter train.

Here are some highlights of the weeks to come:

Help! I Need To Lose My Mind: How to begin a conscious process of seeing life anew.
Help! My Mind Is Back: How to allow a gentle process (or awakening) of consciousness in you.
Five Sure Fire Signs To Be Sure You Lost Your Mind: What does awakening, awareness or consciousness “feel” like?
How Will My Lost Mind Save My Relationships?  : Allowing your new life to penetrate what matters to you most.

Be sure to sign up for my RSS feed and stay tuned.  This may be the spring of a new mind for you!

In The Grace of the Moment,

 My sincere thanks to the generousity and talent of the photographers at Flickr. Names and URL’s are listed relative to the placement of the photo in the post.

Orhan: http://www.flickr.com/photos/orhantsolak/213849945/

Urline: http://www.flickr.com/photos/urline/1269483272/

snowdog 101:http://www.flickr.com/photos/snowdog101/421054969/


 Is this worth a read?  Do you DIGG it?


14 Comments Add yours

  1. jancartier says:

    What a concept!!! Looking forward to the series. 🙂 Jan

  2. liveforever says:

    I remember being at a workshop once and the leader was reflecting that we are all “mad”, it’s just that those of us that consider ourselves “normal” share the same perceptions! And that the “madness” comes from our belief that we are separate from God.

    Looking forward to the series!

  3. Hi Harmony,
    I really appreciate the sensitivity and concern you possess in presenting this argument to all of us. Homelessness is very sad and an unfortunate fallout of our society. In Los Angeles, when a mental patient is released from the hospital, they are “dumped” on skid row; a garbage can of society’s rejects.

    Just because they are homeless and seemingly mad to an observer doesn’t mean that they don’t have some sense of godliness.

    Can’t wait for you to expound on what you have discovered.

  4. goldenzen says:

    @Hello Jan and thank you once again for visiting. Your painting for auction today was gorgeous!

    @liveforever – yes, the idea we are seperated from the I AM of what we are made of creates a disparity called madness!

    @Alexys – OH YES. The mind creates a hiding place, assuming that somehow it is protecting. In actuality it keeps us imprisioned.

    Thank you all for your very welcome comments!

  5. Aloha Harmony. I love this article, found it from Barbara’s blog.

    My favorite line is “empty your thought generator long enough to experience your real self”.

    A couple weekends ago I attended a 3-day retreat of zazen meditation. After 3 days of letting thoughts slow down and settle, the “insanity” of my normal thought patterns was much more obvious.

    Thank you for sharing these thoughts.

  6. goldenzen says:

    Aloha! What a vision that brings.
    I smell the air, feel the sensation of color and taste the pinapple all at once.

    Silent retreats, whether for a minute or a week are life-changing. I can only imagine the power of your realization. If possible, could you share with readers an example of a thought you became aware of, after you became more aware, and how “busy” and “nuts” it seems to your true self?

    Thanks again for your kind visit and comments.

  7. wendikelly says:

    This reminds me of a poem I wrote when I was a teen about slipping into a creative mind-vacation.

    I am looking forward to the series.
    I do a lot of meditation, which is a nice mind-vacation and believe me- I need those little mini exits!

    There is also some mental llness in my family and I have a cousin out there wandering, muttering…

    True mental illness as a sad, sad thing.
    Sometimes I think my journaling and meditations help keep me grounded and sane. But I also kind of think I just got lucky and didn’t get dealt that ugly card.

  8. Ellen says:

    This is a great post, Harmony. I will be back for more instruction, Roshi.

    I admit I’m a very bad Zen student. But then I read somewhere that the very worst was not so bad.

    It’s true what you have said here, that if we all did what we were supposed to do we would have “Big Mind” instead of little mind. But we are all made up of “little minds,” too, so it is a constant koan to us all.

    Someone should be in charge of collecting all the homeless people and making sure they have a house to stay in. Something like homeless patrol. E

  9. Simon says:

    Hi Harmony – The presentation on your blog is brilliant! And you’ve given me an ‘Ah Ha’ moment here. So many of us walk around all the time watching our backs, worrying about what other people think of us. Do they like us? Are they impressed? Do they think we’re polite? etc. etc.

    And I’ve just realized that there’s another question we’re also (secretly) asking ourselves. Do they think we’re insane? Because secretly we *know* that these chattering minds of ours are mad. That’s why we’re watching out backs, why we’re so scared to be ‘us’. We’re scared that someone else will find out…

    I look forward to the rest of your series!

  10. Liara Covert says:

    Harmony, if you believe in reincarnation, its possible that you sense you were homeless in another life. Whether or not a person gains empathy and understanding or any insight from such an experience, is another thing.

    Its meaningful to consider life stories of people such as Neal Donald Walsch, Joe Vitale, Chris Gardener (film: Pursuit of Happyness), Robert Kiyosaki, and others, who have all experienced homelessness during this particular life path. Each of them has been affected in different ways. How they have evolved inside influences their present decisions. You don’t have to be famous to learn useful things from life experience. Just be willing to open your heart and mind wider.

  11. Harmony, thank you for inviting me to share my experience during the retreat.

    I think the most obvious conclusion was that I felt so much lighter and peaceful. So the bulk of my mechanical mind chatter must be fear and anxiety related if I feel much calmer when my thoughts slow down.

    It’s almost insidious how our everyday thoughts seem so normal and harmless until we take time to really examine them.

    Your blog will be a nice tool to help me continue the self examination. Much thanks!

  12. goldenzen says:

    Wow, thank you all for you great comments!

    @ WendiKelly: I understand what you are saying. There is a much finer line between sanity and insane than most of us understand. Thank you for your open contribution.

    @ Ellen: Oh my, I am no Roshi. 🙂 I hope to point to teachers of many disciplines and help others find and perhaps understand the teachings a bit clearer. The Roshi, or Teacher, lives within each reader and will clarify and instruct. But, I am humbled by this and your other kind comments on the site.
    Your comment about the homeless is very interesting. In my research for this series, I have been interviewing people who work in organizations that are working face to face with the homeless on a daily basis. Many of them don’t want a “place to live” as we define it, as their fears of confinement (which is the prision within) govern their decisions for comfort.

    @SImon: WOW, yes so true. We fear being found out – even by ourselves. (Thank you for your kind compliment.)

    @ Liara: Wonderful examples. Amazing stories too. The “lost mind” is often evident in the homeless environment, but just as common in the rows of homes on a suburban street. It is a mind that won’t allow freedom, keeps us running in circles, knots our dreams into fears. The key is to “lose our mind” the in a TRUE sense. More to come…

    @Sterling – YES! Thank you. That is it! Please continue to share your stories in the upcoming series. I look forward to your contributions.

    I say Namaste to each of you.

  13. coldpassion says:

    I must simply say…I’m touched.

  14. meenas17 says:

    Awareness ,compassion, and the start up or jerk when you see other’s plight, are the essence of human love. Nothing is beyond it. A great article.

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