I just wanted to share some words that inspire me. It’s on a website I’ve been reading lately. Some of the content of the site needs taking with a bucket of salt, I reckon, so I won’t post a link lest I be misunderstood, but there’s much of value otherwise (for me, anyway).
“With the entrance of ego-based consciousness, the soul gets into a state of schizophrenia… Your will constitutes the bridge between the inner and the outer world. The will is that part of you that focuses your soul’s energy into the material world. The will may be inspired by the desire for power or by the desire for oneness. This depends on the state of your inner awareness. When a soul reaches the end of the ego stage, the will becomes more and more an extension of the heart. The ego or the personal will is not destroyed but it is flowing in accordance with the heart’s wisdom and inspiration. At this point the ego joyfully accepts the heart as its spiritual guide. The natural wholeness of the soul is restored.”
Sounds sensible to me. As I see it, most people are hypnotised by ego-based consciousness and are making no effort to ‘wake up’. They prefer the blue pill to the red pill (ref: The Matrix – the blue pill is ignorance, the red enlightenment). Now that I understand the difference, I don’t see how it’s possible to be consistently happy in ego-based consciousness.
But… I don’t think it’s the soul that goes doolally… I think it’s the mind. It depends what you mean by these terms, of course. If the soul is our life-force, then I reckon that’s a constant, whereas the mind is plastic.
Our minds are hard-wired to create order. When it can’t do that it becomes distressed at the disorder. Schizophrenia is the result of not being able to make order out of information. New information that contradicts existing beliefs (an experience that shows up a previously-held belief to be false, for example) can throw the cat among the pigeons.
I don’t see anything wrong with regarding the mind as a computer… it’s not devaluing the mind… au contraire, in God-like fashion we’ve made the computer in our image, so you could argue they are divine. With that metaphor in mind: the mind’s job is to constantly assess our current situation vis-a-vis ‘reality’ (all a bunch of subjective, relative perceptions and not real in any objective way, though!) and then instruct our organism, via our emotional network, how to act to our best advantage. We’re always trying to adapt to our environment. To do this, it creates a framework, a matrix, with which to base its assessments upon. When something doesn’t fit, the mind can’t settle on an interpretation – it can’t find an answer to its questioning lament of “what does it mean?” – and it therefore can’t instruct our organism how to act. Confusion reigns. Distress reigns. Behaviour can be erratic and unpredictable – some people freeze (the human equivalent of playing dead?) and we become dysfunctional. When things don’t compute the system crashes.
Who isn’t occasionally like this?
Within the scientific / psychiatric community, schizophrenia is considered an abnormality. I’d say it’s a perfectly normal manifestation of psychic chaos caused by confusion and conflict. The problem with our society – mainstream, anyway – is that it operates from a belief that there is an objective, Real True reality and all we have to do is discover what it is. Bunkum.
Within the spiritual community, the symptoms of schizophrenia are regarded as a spiritual event.
I’m reminded of one of my favourite quotes, which is: “The mystic and the schizophrenic find themselves in the same ocean, but whereas the mystic swims, the schizophrenic drowns.” (RD Laing)
I guess much depends on whether it’s episodic or chronic. A person’s belief system, and the attitudes of those around them, will determine positive or negative outcomes to so-called dysfunctional behaviour.
I came across this forum entry on a blog linking schizophrenia with spiritual experience. (As it’s a forum entry it might not lead to where I mean it to.)
In it, it defines schizophrenia as broken-hearted, a split between thought and emotion, the Greek ‘skhizein’ meaning ‘split’ and ‘phren’ meaning ‘heart or mind’. That resonates with me because elsewhere on this blog, several times over, I’ve described how our psyches contain a broken-hearted, broken-spirited child, suspended in our psyches, frozen in a cry of anguish, marking the point of realisation that the world isn’t the safe place we assumed, in our innocence, that it was, that our guardians can’t be relied on to make it safe, that they are actually the ones who sometimes make it unsafe, the moment we realised that freedom of self-expression is forbidden (although we didn’t realise why), the turning point when we gave up being real, free and natural and became the artificial construct the big, scarey people insisted we be.
It was a survival tactic.
Then it became a habit.
Then we forgot about our real self.
The post also describes schizophrenia as a ‘psycho-spiritual crisis’ in which the mind re-organises itself, “involving the dissolution and removal of illusions and false beliefs originating in the programming of social conditioning… the person learns to grow beyond fear based ego-consciousness, beyond cultural conditioning and the expectations of others to a higher consciousness state and a new level of awareness. The state of so-called ‘ego-transcendance’ is characterised by an inner sense of emotional liberation.” Oh, yes! That so resonates with me.
And: “In the most general terms, spiritual emergence can be defined as the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature and the cosmos.” This connects with theories of right- and left-brain functioning, whereby left-hemisphere activity is – crudely – about separation through definion and right is about interconnectedness and oneness. So schizophrenia is a left-brain type of thing. We live in an increasingly left-brained world (read Iain McGilchrist on this) that is suspicious of spirituality. Maybe the best thing that could happen to our world is for psychiatrists to have a spiritual awakening! It’s a matter of perception, though, innit? They’d probably regard a schizophrenic episode as a pathology their education ought to make them immune from!
Finally, the post says: “Spiritual emergency is a process of healing and renewal and is characterised by spontaneous alternative consciousness states or ‘realities’ in which the person experiences unbearably distressing psychic overload involving chaotic and overwhelming sensory experiences which in fact offer invaluable opportunities for personal growth. The experiences can be frightening and confusing because they appear to be out of context with everyday reality. As a result they are often misunderstood and discredited as being pathological. Hence the medical model of so-called ‘schizophrenia’ which in fact is a concern for psychology of the spiritual dimension of human nature i.e. ‘transpersonal psychology’.”