How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

Our country is in a crazy place these days. Don’t you agree? Just look around you. But I think it’s important to remember, no matter how bad things look, we are still living in a free country. In many places things are much worse. People live in fear and desperation, with nothing to eat and with violence all around them, with no control. Many people have it so much worse than us. No matter how bad things look here, there is a basic sense of law and order that can be our foundation for enacting positive change. We are so fortunate to have that opportunity.

Also, no matter how bad things look, it is important to remember every day that nothing is permanent, nothing is forever. If we look at past history, even within our own lifetimes, we see that things can turn around, and become better. But sometimes we have to learn this the hard way.

I think if we approach our worldview from this angle, we can be more effective in our efforts change the world around us. Also, we can begin to turn our attention to the inner world, which is equally as crazy as the one outside of us. With this attitude, remembering impermanence, remembering how things change, and that they CAN change, we can see that it is possible to become free from our inner hungry ghosts – which means our dissatisfied minds. This dissatisfaction is one of our most destructive enemies; it causes so much harm.

In reality, we are all impermanent, we are all guests, we are all here just temporarily, for a relatively short time on this earth, in this life. But our projections and illusions fight with us all the time to make us believe we are here to stay forever. This is a very strong delusion.

If we understand this, and work to change it, then we can begin to relax, to have a good time, to appreciate and enjoy our lives and our privileges. We can take everything a little less seriously, and bring some lightness into our attitudes. And we can be kind to each other, and open to each other. We can stop torturing ourselves, and stop torturing everyone else in our lives.

If we do this, we will see the beginning of real change, of real revolution, and real reform – inside and outside of ourselves.

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12 Responses to How to Stay Sane in a Crazy World

  1. “This dissatisfaction is one of our most destructive enemies; it causes so much harm.” – I’m just pulling my thoughts together for a Lo-jong class on this tomorrow night. (Gyalwa Gyatso Buddhist Center, Campbell, CA.) Specifically, we are going to be looking at the drawbacks of following anger and desire. The drawbacks of anger seem more obvious; of desire is harder.

  2. leah says:

    Thank you for that reminder, it is always welcome and need!

  3. Rocio Masset says:

    Spanish translation as an offering to my beloved Yangsi Rinpoche (May your words reach all sentient beings, in all lenguages)

    Nuestro país esta en un lugar un poco loco estos días. Estan de acuerdo? Simplemente miren a su alrededor. Creo que es importante recordar que no importa que tan mal parezcan las cosas, todavía vivimos en un país libre. En muchos otros lugares las cosas están mucho peor. Las personas viven con miedo y desesperación sin nada que comer o con violencia a su alrededor, sin control. Muchas personas la pasan mucho peor que nosotros. No importa que tan mal las cosas parezcan aquí, hay un sentido básico de ley y orden que pueden ser la base para erigir un cambio positivo. Somos muy afortunados de tener esta oportunidad.

    Además, no importa que tan mal se vean las cosas es importante recordar cada día que nada es permanente, nada es para siempre. Si vemos la historia pasada, aun en nuestra propia vida, vemos que las cosas cambian, y se vuelven mejores. Pero a veces tenemos que aprender esto de una manera dura.

    Creo que si vemos nuestra visión del mundo desde este ángulo, podemos ser más efectivos en nuestro esfuerzo de cambiar el mundo a nuestro alrededor. Además, podemos hacer que cambie nuestra atención hacia el mundo interno, el cual está igual de loco que el que esta fuera de nosotros. Con esta actitud, recordando la impermanencia, recordando cómo cambian las cosas y que las cosas PUEDEN cambiar, podemos ver que es posible estar libres de nuestros espíritus hambrientos internos – es decir, nuestra mente insatisfecha. Esta insatisfacción es uno de nuestros enemigos más destructivos; nos causa mucho daño.

    En realidad, todos somos impermanentes, todos somos invitados, estamos aquí solo temporalmente, por un tiempo relativamente corto, en esta tierra, en esta vida. Pero nuestras proyecciones e ilusiones pelean con nosotros todo el tiempo para hacernos creer que estaremos aquí para siempre. Esta es una ilusión muy fuerte.

    Si entendemos esto y trabajamos para cambiarlo, entonces podemos empezar a relajarnos, a tener un buen tiempo, a apreciar y disfrutar nuestras vidas y nuestros privilegios. Podemos tomar todo un poco menos serio y traer algo de ligereza a nuestra actitud. Y podemos ser buenos los unos para con los otros y abiertos los unos con los otros. Podemos dejar de torturarnos y dejar de torturar a todos los demás en nuestras vidas.

    Si hacemos esto todos veremos el inicio de un verdadero cambio, de la real revolución y la real reforma – dentro y fuera de nosotros.

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  5. Paulette Booth says:

    Thank you. Love and light.

  6. Tash says:

    That’s the thing. We don’t live in a free country. In a dictatorship people know they are not free, but here Americans are like samsaric happiness, seems free but not free. You write, text, phone, even occupy something, then what? The power of money and power still trumps. Within the dharma realm we believe in buddha’s words that there will be eventual enlightenment for all sentient beings. But within this small spectrum of time and space, I am not so optimism. In fact, to think that America is still better than other places may be our first downfall. America leads in consumerism, materialism and individualism, and now corporate profitism that recognizes no national boundary nor humanism. I know it is not a permanent state. But to see things going from bad to worse, at least just in my lifetime or my children lifetime, does not offer much consolation. I say my prayers and visualize the light of wisdom going out and I visualize hope. Is this enough?

  7. Lorne Ladner says:

    Perhaps its due to thinking lately about the topic of precious human rebirth, but I’ve been thinking that life here and now in the U.S. is very wonderful. There are many great Dharma teachers. And, there are now so many Dharma books in English. We’re totally free to do spiritual practices and no one will stop us! And, there’s lots of suffering all around to help us develop compassion and renunciation. Then, also, the Vajrayana teachings exist here! Its said that those aren’t practiced even in most Pure Lands such as those of Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha. So, lately I think that this is really a great, perfect pure land right here if someone really wants to study and practice! Also, technology gives us so much access to audio teachings! One last reflection–things have always been difficult on this planet, and so much of history is filled with plagues, extreme injustice, slavery, horrible wars, and much else. So, I think the current problems are typical of human history everywhere.

  8. Robyn says:

    Several things come to mind…His Holiness has said that the only constant is change..and with the resilience of the human spirit we must choose to never give up. In equanimity we can strive towards compassionate existence and see that which is happening round us as an opportunity to
    put that love in action….seeing how in small ways within our present lives that we can be doers, that intentionally stepping in the footsteps of those who have passed in light before us. In this reciprocal giving we shall receive and learn that there can be happiness in even the most challenging of times. Om Tara!
    Tujichay! Yangsi Rinpoche-la

  9. mountncat says:

    Thank you, that is so helpful for me to read, to be reminded not to get so attached to the things and ideas about things. Your words are like fresh air, like good medicine, like apple pie made from local organic apples by your friend, with ground up ginger and sweetened without sugar.

  10. Brigitte says:

    So good to read your wisdom Rinpoche, so appreciated to have you close to us and taking care. Thank you.

  11. Pingback: Sanity in a Crazy World | A Clear and Empty Mind

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