Let Me Be Mad
Let Me be Mad
O incomparable Giver of life, cut reason loose at last!
Let it wander grey-eyed from vanity to vanity.
Shatter open my skull, pour in it the wine of madness!
Let me be mad, as You; mad with You, with us.
Beyond the sanity of fools is a burning desert
Where Your sun is whirling in every atom:
Beloved, drag me there, let me roast in Perfection!
Rumi (1207 -1273)
Very often, we are at our best when we allow ourselves to forget what it is we are “supposed to do.” Do you ever find yourself thinking things like:
“If only I had time to treat myself to ______.”
“If only _________ didn’t need me to be there for ___________ all the time.”
“If only I didn’t have to ___________ every day.”
“I would do that if I thought that ____________ could do without me for just a little while.”
You know what? ____________ can do without you for just a little while. You don’t have to do _________ every day, unless you are a prisoner in body, mind, and spirit. The only one who needs you to be there all the time for them (besides your baby/toddler/and/or bedridden loved one — and you can get help from time to time whey you need time to yourself) is you. You have time to treat yourself to yourself.
Joseph Campbell once described the three temptations of the pre-Buddha, just before his enlightenment, as he sat under the bodhi tree — the axis mundi — the center of the Earth (himself). Mara, the spirit of “unskillful emotions,” appeared as three aspects to tempt Buddha’s attention away from his path: desire (empty desire), fear (of death, failure, and success), and social duty (what others say you should be doing with your life). Buddha had none of it and touched the ground, indicating that he was not budging from his path. The spirit of Earth rose up to defend him and said that one who sits in the center cannot be budged. That’s when he ascended.
If your path is to serve, and that is your bliss, then serve. But no one will be able to benefit from your gifts if you do not serve yourself first. You have less than nothing to give if you have spent everything of you in an effort to live up to other people’s expectations for you.
If we were to see Buddha sitting under a bodhi tree today, apparently not doing anything, he would appear mad by all standards. He was a child of the ruling class. He was supposed to govern. He had all kinds of social duties!
However, he knew that those duties that other set for him outside of his will were traps. He had a job to do and he knew that the job was to figure out how he could become an enlightened soul. That goal wasn’t important to anyone but him. No one else knew his path but him. Now millions know thanks to his efforts.
You don’t have to be Buddhist (and I’m not) to learn his lesson, as well as the lessons of Rumi, the Sufi poet who knew that his love for the beloved Divine was the most important thing for him. Pursuing their purposes were their gifts back to Life, and you have your own.
No one else can do what you are supposed to do. Your message is your signature. You are the master of your own message. No one else will understand that, and by all accounts, if you have handed over your will to others it will look as if you have gone mad when you re-take your life into your own hands.
But you must. You have to be the one who grasps the hand of personal madness and fall into your bliss. You will never serve your purpose otherwise.
There is no other way. Personal fulfillment must be attained for health of body, mind and spirit. Personal fulfillment is not empty desire. It is your gift back to the spark of life, and it is the charge to your battery that gives you the energy and grace to serve those whom you love with excellence.
When we appreciate our own life, we are best able to appreciate those who are in our lives with us. They in turn benefit from the shining Divine in you.
Be mad. Love yourself first and give your divine madness back to the world in the form of love, appreciation, and teaching by example. We will all live longer, healthier, happier, fulfilled lives if you do.
Posted on 03/07/2013, in Uncategorized and tagged Bodhi Tree, Buddha, Buddhism, Earth, Gautama Buddha, Joseph Campbell, Mad (magazine), Mara, Religion and Spirituality, Rumi. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.