A flash of momentary insanity can happen to anyone at any time. When we are bewildered by grief or other sudden shocks, our brain without Mindfulness is not prepared for it. The brain not prepared for such intense experiences produces impulsive reactions, which further confuse us and others. Our loved ones whose brains are also not trained to witness such bewilderment often feel stuck and helpless. They say the wrong thing or appear cold because they don’t know how to help or what to say to calm us. We can prepare our brain so that it can see a sudden flash of insanity for what it is and respond to it wisely.
The Brain’s Efficient System
Living a human life is a mixture of sanity and insanity, the ability to balance our inner world or the inability to manage our brain, whose goal is to be efficient. Efficiency helps the brain learn patterns of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors and models for similar experiences. So, it wouldn’t have to overspend precious resources to re-strategize for every event in our lives, much like recipes we use to cook. Most cultures and traditions hand down recipes that work, and it makes sense to use them as formulated.
The brain’s main goal to keep us alive and functioning well works like collecting good recipes, some of which don’t consider one’s health and wellness instead concern with creating palatable tastes. Our mechanical brains often miss the mark on the importance of happiness or peacefulness. Well, because we didn’t train our brains for creating conditions that provide peace and happiness. Our brains follow a manual and a design that could be faulty or lack instructions for certain aspects of life, such as not knowing that aging, death, and illness are aspects of our experience.
We Can Prepare And Train Our Brains
It certainly is not easy to be a human when our brain hasn’t developed a clear and comprehensive manual or systems in place. Each one of us has his/her own unique inner-human manual to work from. This manual has been in development ever since we’ve been born, and luckily for those who are open and curious, it continues to develop and optimize.
Moments of Insanity Can Attack Any One of Us.
Nonetheless, moments of insanity can attack any of us at any time. We may act on it or not, but our brain’s reaction to unforeseen extreme circumstances such as losing a child could make us feel insane.
This was certainly true during the first year of grieving for the loss of my son. I experienced flashes of what I would describe as insanity-like shooting stars., but much faster. Probably, if I described it in detail to a neurologist, they might have a different term for it. The closest way I could explain this sense of insanity was a nanosecond and flash of nothing, just neuron activity. My brain would feel like a moment where the satellite gets weak, and the images on the screen go sideways. Fortunately for my practice, it only happened a couple of times. I could see it and know that it was because of this grand loss and not make a story out of it. By then, I had developed a strong vigilance about thoughts that lead me to suffer. Kuroosh, my son, was learning that skill to be vigilant with his thoughts and feelings. Not to take them seriously and keep his mind peaceful and alert. He was fascinated by the thought of being vigilant with your mind. He is the one sitting in the front to the right meditating.
Out of Compassion, I Share My Extreme Experience.
One of my dear students shared about her great loss of babies and how she was so grateful to hear that I had felt moments of insanity. People who have not experienced the pain of loss so deeply neither were trained for it don’t know what to do or how to respond to someone who is bewildered by grief. They feel helpless and disconnected. Sometimes even expecting the impossible.
The loss of security, name, or love is among some of the most destabilizing events of our lives. The loss of a baby is definitely on top of these events. So, to know that it is normal and expected to feel such disarray in life. Our brain is not prepared for it. Its autopilot mechanism has no effective strategy to deal with it, so it turns to other familiar cycles of reactions such as guilt, self-criticism, anger, hate, resentment, sorrow, and lamentation. It takes self-awareness, self-compassion, insight into the laws of cause and effect, the laws of change, and not-self to combat these sudden extreme experiences of hardship. That is the reason we must continue practicing and developing, transforming, and optimizing the design of our own brain and its manual.
We cover these topics and deeper understandings, developing our lives and brains in the Beyond Mindfulness Courses. I encourage any of you who are not new to Mindfulness practices to consider joining these series.
Please join me on a day-long retreat on May 2nd to create Inner Relief from the Pandemic. Day-Long Mindfulness Retreat