The Joys of Insanity

by Ruwan Meepagala  Sep 15, 2014

I chose insomnia this time around.

My hands are shaking as I try to close the backdoor without waking up my folks. I'm fifteen. It's four am. I just taunted two thugs on the corner then beat feet back home as they started running at me. In a few hours I'll get ready for school and totally shut down in fear of being bullied, but right now I'm powerful. I'm alive. I'm totally insane.

Through my adolescence I often went days without sleeping much to my chagrin. I'd get into bed by 11, read a book to try to wear myself out, then after a few hours of staring at the ceiling, I'd surrender the attempt at slumber and hop out of bed to start my alternate life.

My witching hour ritual started with some guitar playing. Sometimes I'd jerk off. Then I'd look at the clock and berate myself. My inability to sleep was fueled by a deep self-loathing around being shy and perpetually terrified of people. I'd imagine beating myself up. I'd literally pound my head against my brown couch cushions.

After that I'd start to lose my mind.

At a certain point, when I couldn't go down any further, my higher thinking would shut off. I'd walk silently in the dark like a zombie. I'd stumble from room to room not knowing what I was going to do till I got there. In pitch black, I'd sit at the family piano and tap away ghastly melodies. Then I'd lace up my sneakers and sneak out the back door.

I grew in a part of Brooklyn that was not a pleasant place to be out at at 4am. The streets are just as populated as they are at 4pm, however it's not the same class of people. These night people seemed to only exist by moonlight. That was ok. I seemed to only exist at night too.

By day I could barely make eye contact with kids at school, but by night I would now walk up to red-eyed alcoholics in alleyways and say "Good evening." By day I would fold to the slightest aggression, but by night I'd taunt thugs with my stare till they said "yo let's fuck up this n###." Only after the adrenaline rush of beating feet back home would I realize what I had done the last few hours.

I was absolutely mad. I was possessed. I loved it.

Something beautiful happens when we completely let go.

We get to enter the creative involuntary-- the state where nothing is planned and everything is spontaneous. It's a return to innocence. We come back to nascent state of endless curiosity about the world with a naive disregard for consequence.

Often we are too smart for our own good. We can look at a critical life situation and predict how its going to play out; one of the benefits of being human. This ability of danger assessment is also one of the worst things for us when it comes to creativity and living by feel. It often prevents us from jumping into situations because we think we know what will happen, when we really don't. To live creatively, by feel, in orgasm, is to dive into something simply because it increases sensation. The consequences can be sorted out later. That's insanity.

Insanity is a shade off of brilliance.

My favorite tarot card is The Fool. He is the archetype that is easily ridiculed because he seems not to care about anything. He walks through life non-nonchalantly because he is oblivious of the dangers of reality. But it's actually the contrary. The Fool can flow moment to moment without worry because he knows that you don't need to know.

Medieval courts had jesters, fools, for the wisdom that they could impart to the king. The entertainment value from their disregard for being appropriate or respected was secondary to the benefit that their "foolish" persona allowed them to tell the truth to the king without anyone thinking they had malicious intent. An insane person can only tell the truth

Black Elk, the holy leader of the Lakota Sioux held the designation of heyoka, sacred clown, their version of the Fool. His role in leadership would be to channel the irrational. He was known to laugh when everyone wept, ride horses backwards, and defy all reasoning. From such antics he was reported to be able to sense when unseen dangers were approaching.

"Crazy" is simply unbridled expression.

My best writing has come from being morbidly depressed or furious to the point where I couldn't think. It's like the crazy cracks a fissure in the solid egg shell of my ego so that all the yolk can pour out.

What most of us call 'sanity' is self-control by sticking to what we know is safe. If that is the case, then your natural state is not "sane." It's in moments of insanity where we abandon control, we are actually open enough to fully express ourselves without the filters of fear or or vanity. Going crazy is simply returning to your natural state.

Insanity is simple being alive.

Let yourself go crazy.