Basic sanity is a concept we can simply apply to our lives anytime anywhere
ife is stressful and some times we need all the help we can get. We work hard to advance, and at times feel we’re not going anywhere. Fortunately there are techniques that can help dissolve that felling of defeat. Welcome to Basic Sanity.
Basic sanity was first introduced in the West by Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche who also presented Vajrayana Buddhism from Tibet in a refreshing new way. He brilliantly stripped dogma and traditional views in favor of a universal language aiming at turning the esoteric and difficult to understand teachings into everyday tools.
Basic sanity is perhaps one of the most fundamental concepts in Vajrayana Buddhism. But to think of basic sanity as a concept embedded in tradition would be a contradiction. Basic sanity is not possessed by any religion, ideology, or dogma. So it is not necessary to belong to any school of thought or to identify with any philosophy or religion to understand it.
Basic sanity is present within all of us all the time we just have to uncover. This article is not intended to be a Buddhist or a religious study. Mentioning the contextual history here is merely a reference but not the most important point.
The most important is to bring the concept of basic sanity forward, so everyone can use it and benefit from it. This text is only valuable if it helps you discover your own fundamental basic sanity, and use it everyday wherever you are.
Developing basic sanity is a process of working with ourselves and bringing awareness to a basic and fundamental ground level. It involves becoming aware of the world we live in. It is also the raw understanding of our vulnerabilities and neurosis without altering anything.
It is quite simple because there is nothing to do and nothing to achieve other than look at our being as they are; we don’t assume we are spiritually qualified or disqualified and we don’t pretend to be someone we are not. We don’t pretend we can help others when we can’t even help ourselves. Here’s kind of how it works.
In our quest for spirituality we seek happiness, although there is nothing wrong with seeking bliss we often end up bringing the opposite to ourselves. There is a basic insanity in our quest for spiritual bliss; we enforce it on others too, and we think we know everything and we want others to follow us. We propagandize what we think as the only right thing, when we ourselves deep inside know we don’t really know crap.
So basic sanity has to do with letting go of this façade and being truthful to ourselves. It has to do with realizing your whole inadequacy when it comes to understanding the mysteries of life. Finding yourself first require that you realize that you might be lost.
Basic sanity is like marrying your spirituality with the world you live in and where you are rather than inventing some faraway place sometime in the future. Of course living it is much harder; we prefer the stories because they are safer and we can always add one thing of another to embellish it just the way we want. In essence this is what dogma and religious fervor are made of; stories of past experiences. Basic sanity is about being present in this present moment and appreciating what we have just the way it is.
Too many people are living their lives thinking that someday in the future things will happen for them. We work hard in the hopes that someday we’ll be able to escape to a place where we’ll be happy. Instead of being happy now we create conditions we must fulfill in order to get our reward someday. If I could just buy this house, if I could just have that wife instead of this one, if I could be more beautiful – then I could be happy.
We look at pictures on Facebook of people smiling in some faraway place and we think everybody else is having a perfect life and we are the only ones not happy but everyone is having the same experience. We think we’ll be happy when we go on a vacation, or the weekend, so we go day to day chasing our happiness but never arriving because it is a dream.
“We propagandize what we think as the only right thing, when we ourselves deep inside know we don’t really know crap”
Even when we finally get what we want; we still not happy, then it gets even worst because now there is nowhere to go. This is called basic insanity. This is so pervasive that we see our entire world engaging in some kind of “collective insanity” as we seek distant habitable planets so maybe we can go there and have a better world instead of simply fixing our beautiful planet.
The saddest thing about this approach to life is perhaps that we create more pain and suffering and pit ourselves against others while chasing our dreams. In order to understand basic sanity we must be aware of our lack of attention to the here and now.
When we move into basic sanity we begin focusing on what’s around us and the mind is quiet and attentive. When we achieve basic sanity things curiously get twisted around. The ordinary things of everyday life become amazing and the amazing extraordinary things become mundane. If you feel that way is a good sign.
We become more attracted to the raw and what’s within reach in the world around us. This is much to our advantage since that’s where we spend 99% of our time. Going to work becomes more bearable and even fun. The boring moments have more meaning because we don’t expect anything from them. Fun here has a different meaning because things no longer have to amuse us, we are not afraid to be bored. Boring things no longer bore us because we don’t need to be entertained 100% of the time.
We are just there. Noticing we are alive becomes a pretty extraordinary thing. The ordinary is cheaper and available in abundance so the heap of compost becomes your new gold. The imaginary happiness in the future becomes more like a movie we watch and know is just an illusion. Cultivating a quit mind is the first step to achieve basic sanity.
Basic sanity is an unspeakable concept. It is all about being and not conceptualizing. Basic sanity can be experienced at anytime by anyone. We might feel basically sane one day and feel basically insane in the other. Basic sanity is not stable or guaranteed state of mind. It is not something that once achieved is yours for the keeps. You might also experience parts of it but even a little bit of basic sanity can go a long way.
Everyone experiences it at some point in their lives because we all know what that is, we just keep forgetting it. Children spend almost all their time in basic sanity but as we grow old the sky becomes cloudier. It all depends on how much we practice in order to quiet our minds. Our busy minds are a factory of thoughts and like a torrent it roars down a river and there are usually emotions.
We must be able to quiet down to river and bring it down to a small brook. We ought to be able to sit and hang out with all of it not leaving anything out, knowing that is all good but the first step is to notice your mind, the world and your thoughts; nothing is excluded and nothing is included, you can start right here and right now.
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