Do you know what one of God's favorite dialects is?
So no wonder people who society deems "crazy" can sometimes be the most spiritually awakened. "The first will be last and the last will be first," (Matthew 20:16). Nevertheless, many of these people themselves don't know what's happening to them. No surprise given that we're taught in school that there is no meaning in the universe and we're all just random atoms bumping into each other. But no fear, the Wisdom Traditions have powerful maps to help us or those we care about navigate these spaces. Let's explore one from Christianity today, and one from Hinduism next time.
Christianity: Jesus' Experience in the Desert
Jesus. One of the most famous and influential, if not the most famous and influential, human of all time. But did you know that both Jesus' family (Mark 3:21) and society (John 10:20) thought He was insane? Let's take one example in Jesus' life, one that I can relate to through my experiences of so-called "psychosis" in bipolar, to explore how this can sometimes go down.
The year is 30 AD. The setting, here:
Jesus comes out of the river after being baptized by His cousin John. The heavens break open and Jesus hears God's voice endorsing Him. Filled with power, He is then "led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by the Devil," (Matthew 4:1). God may not tempt, but He created the Tempter, the Persecutor in a court of law, to refine our intentions and heart and show us who we are. Although it's not easy, be careful not to put all trials in the category of bad.
In the desert, after not eating for 40 days (which satisfies the criteria of being involuntarily psychiatrically hospitalized in California), reality starts to morph for Jesus.
1.1 He comes to believe that He has the power to turn rocks into bread, to shapeshift matter using His mind. Can He? Probably. He fed the masses on manifested bread later on remember. Should He put it to the test? After all, it's a basic human need. After some back and forth in His mind, He decides that what He's really after is God, not physical satisfaction.
When I was in my bipolar psychosis and I was offered the power to manifest physical satisfaction I was like, "Heck yeah!" Epic fail.
Jesus - 1 Me - 0
1.2 Next this force, whether it's inside or outside of Jesus' mind, tries to convince Him that He can fly. Can He? Probably. The force does quote the Bible saying that God will save His people from being hurt. Should He jump? People have on LSD. No, He decides, it's not right to put God to the test.
When I was in my bipolar psychosis I believed I could fly. I put photos of my family in my third storey windows to prevent myself from jumping out. But in the heat of it, I probably would have if no one was there. I dig Peter Pan and that it's thinking a happy thought combined with fairydust that allows us to fly to the stars, to a world of imagination with no time called Neverland. But the 2015 movie Pan implies they're all dead. Would we have heard of Jesus today if He had've jumped off the Temple Roof? How many others have failed this test? Me.
Jesus - 2 Me - 0
1.3 Finally, this force expands Jesus' mind beyond time and space so He can see and taste all the glorious splendor of existence, and then offers it to Him. Ahhhh, how beautiful, how powerful, how seductive, how brilliant and magnificent. Why not? Who deserves it more? All that's required is the service of that. That's the point that tips Jesus off that this is Satan, the Tempter, showing Him this stuff. Did He know it was Satan before? Who knows. Maybe not. Maybe it was His own voice. But when He sees it for what it is, Satan leaves Him, and angels come and hook Him up. If you were offered everything you've ever wanted in terms of power, lust satiation, fame, glory...would you take it? Jesus didn't cos of what lay beneath it, choosing instead to die a righteous death caused by unrighteous forces to pay the short-term price for long-term glory that couldn't be taken from Him. I was given a miniscule taste of this and you think I chose to go for it? You bet I did. I got thrown in jail.
Jesus - 3 Me - 0
30AD goes down perpetually. It's happening somewhere now. Maybe with someone you love, maybe to you yourself. What do we do?
Recognize that you're not alone. You're not the only one this has ever happened to and therefore we have some good data we can look to for how best to navigate it. Look to the people who rocked it; look to Jesus. Before acting on anything, pause, reflect on the Wisdom Traditions (Scripture is Jesus' sword against the Tempter in this experience), and bounce these ideas off of the safe people in your life. If you don't have any safe people in your life, you can reach out to me through this site. Bear in mind tho that it can take me a while to get notifications of messages. If it's overwhelming and you need to go to hospital, no worries, go. I did. Keep yourself safe and you'll get another chance to surf this wave. These things can be life and death, glory and misery. Choose Life, it's been offered to you. Find the True North, and the other compass points fall into place and can lead you to Life in all its glory.
Next time we'll explore the navigational framework that the nonduality of Hinduism's Avaita Vedanta offers us.