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Craziness, Religion and the Human Condition

One of the reasons I struggle to write about spirituality is I write for a tough audience, and I don’t mean you, I mean the audience I write to in my head. My audience is very very intelligent, very rational and judgemental and not afraid to let me know what they think. As I write I wonder to myself what this critic would think about this or what they would say about that. And some topics get hard to write about because I desperately don’t want to let them find out that I am crazy.

I know it’s nuts. But then again I’m nuts. You are probably nuts. We are pretty much all nuts. Crazy. That is the human condition. We have socially acceptable norms which wax and wane with the times and provided your outward behaviour doesn’t deviate too far those norms then you are considered sane. But inside our heads we are nuts. If you don’t believe me try spending a few days (hours will do) recording all of the thoughts that cross your mind. Only a crazy person would think some of the things that you and I think every-day.

One of the functions of religious traditions is to give us a way out of, or relief from, the trap of our own minds and to be less trite about it I am talking here about the ego or false self. God (or Gods if you prefer) being outside of the self and greater than the self offer a way out. Different traditions have different approaches and give a different emphasis to this aspect but it is there in at least some vestigial form in all religions.

In a moment of synchronicity while I was drafting this piece I read Philip Carr-Gomm’s recent post where he quotes Catholic priest Sean O’Laoire who says that “we have to become serial killers in order to reach enlightenment”. And the first death he prescribes is the ego’s. Most of the pathologies of religion which I referred to in my last post exist because the false self will use anything and especially the most sacred to further it’s own survival and only rarely does any-one take the first step let alone any of the others.

I’m a couple of weeks into A Course In Miracles and whilst this line of thinking isn’t new to me the course has certainly made it clearer. The religious language aside the course says (so far at least) that we are crazy and it offers a way out. I’ve explored other ways in the past, it’s been a more than a twenty year pre-occupation. I don’t know if A Course In Miracles can deliver on the goods, or maybe if it can I’m too crazy for it to work any-way. But as I said before I think it is the only path worth walking. So, dear critic, thanks for everything but I am most likely crazy and I’m going to do my best to stop trying to convince you otherwise, this work is too important to me.