Mental Health is Overrated

August 13th, 2018

“Brain Damage”

“The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path
The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more
And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon
The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’till I’m sane
You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me.
And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”
from Roger Waters of Pink Floyd, from Dark Side of the Moon

Is the universe rational? Are people rational? Am I?

Does it even matter?

Humans are thinking creatures. That is how we are hard wired. We cannot not think. In Zen we are sometimes told find to the “mind before thinking”. We might as well try to find the body before breathing. Thinking is who we are. It is an essential part of our being.

There is clearly a value in seeing the world as it is without judging it, or critiquing it, or even trying to make sense of it. There is a value in just seeing the color red, or just feeling the raindrops on the skin, or just tasting a fresh peach. There is a value in just being. 

I over-analyze almost everything. I try to figure things out. I was trained to do that from a very early age, and usually I am quite good at it. However, it is a dead end. Logic can only take me so far. Reason slams into the brick wall of chaos. Eventually, my mind can no longer find the results that I seek. In particular, I can not answer the question “why?”

Complete understanding is impossible. I will never understand the world. I will never understand other people, or even understand myself.

I might be able to love what I can’t understand.

Throughout history, there have been men and women who have loved in ways that made no sense. I am thinking of Francis of Assisi and St. Clare and Hildegard of Bingen. I am thinking of Hafiz and Rumi and Ibn Arabi. I am thinking of Maximilian Kolbe and Sophie Scholl and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. They all lived in times and places that made no sense at all. They acted in ways that seemed completely irrational. They all did the right thing.

I took our daughter’s dog outside this morning at 4:00 AM. I looked up at the sky and found the constellation Perseus. I saw a single shooting star. The burning stone in the sky had no meaning. It was only beautiful, and it was only there for a moment.

It was the only thing that mattered.







2 thoughts on “Mental Health is Overrated”

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