Crazy Wisdom – The First Lesson

The phrase Crazy Wisdom refers to strange and unexpected behavior by a spiritual master, supposedly for our elucidation. Coined by the recent spiritual master Chogyam Trungpa, this condition or state has been around for centuries. The Sufis talk about the “Way of Blame.” Mullah Nasruddin acts the fool in Sufi stories to manifest some insight about human beings.

The condition of crazy wisdom shares some things with the creative state. We’re going to borrow the unaccountability, the spirit of spontaneity, the ability to live in contradictions without losing control, the ability to bounce back with resilience if you do happen to lose control.

We often suffer from the “if onlys”…If only I had more money, a sponsor, better luck, better health…more ..more …more. We all fall into that. Crazy wisdom generally speaking doesn’t allow us those excuses. What we have at the moment are the ideal conditions for creative expression. Some exceptions apply: serious illness, being held at gunpoint, looking after a pack of kids. But short of that…

We can agree on many things, one being that it’s crazy out there. We have to be able to navigate the chaos, the storms as they whip through our lives. Like surfers we have to stay on the board and catch the right moment to ride the wave successfully. Chaos surfing.

That’s the first lesson. Find out what we need in our lives to survive the chaos without placing demands on anyone else. An inner quality? A state of health? A certain competence? We have to make that assessment.

The last fifty years may describe the greediest two generations in Western history. Consider how much we demand of Life, of our parents, of each other. We want it all. Like the wife in the Grimm fairy tale “The Fisherman and His Wife ” who keeps wishing for more and more until it is all taken away from her.  We can’t have it all.  So we have to choose.

I just emerged from a period of my life when I was holding down two jobs, writing, trying to create in other media, helping to raise a family. I thought it was the way to go. It was stupid.  My health suffered. Though I still can’t see what I could have done differently.  So, I clearly haven’t learned the lesson yet. Looking back, I think I was trying to have it all, and like an unrealistic juggler, I dropped all the balls.

To have a more creative life we have to make some space for it. We have to decide what’s essential and unavoidable. That’s the first hard lesson.

Then we have to stick to that decision.

Next time we’ll look at some practical strategies.

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