Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Benefits of Paranoia

I'm off to a well-adjusted day, so it will take a few little mental tweaks to work me into my usual paranoid mindset, since I promised my self-esteem teaching this morning would be on the benefits of paranoia.

How to do the mental tweaks and yet not have to persist then with a messed up mind for the rest of the day is a process I believe I can manage. It's a matter of seeing my mental universe with a center with various shades, some distinct, some not so distinct, and certainly becoming more diffuse the further I go out. Out there at the edges, in the shadows, I can see darker shadows (I'm picturing them now), probably enemies, all very cloak and dagger.

What if the enemies encroach further this direction? They've been known to. That's why they're enemies. I haven't worked myself up to the fulfillment of the "Love thy enemies" teaching, but, who knows, the key thing in that might be the elimination of paranoia and knowing the joy of life in its fullest. Or it could be, really, that "Love thy enemies" is a technique for embracing paranoia and extracting the benefits from it.

Which way to go? The elimination of paranoia doesn't seem likely to me. And there is a distinction between knowing the joy of life "in its fullest" and "embracing" something, but it's a small one. The holistic thing would seem to be to embrace whatever is -- and let me hasten to add, not purposely to eliminate it, because that would be living a lie, with the embrace being a ploy. It's tricky, a semantics minefield, a "mindfield."

I forgot what I was going to say next. An enemy stole my thought. So ... fiddlesticks! What would it be? ...

Probably that "Loving thy enemies" means eventually you don't consider your enemies your enemies. It's just a holistic thing, oneness. "Paranoia," I believe I heard an august linguist once say, has something to do with mind beside itself. Para and no with an ia on the end as a state. But we shouldn't necessarily tell our mind no. Tell it yes. Instead of fighting what is, let what is work for the benefit of what is! And we apparently is. Is you is or is you ain't my baby? I is, I is! "Tell them I IS sent you ... I is that I is."

So that's the process of getting my thoughts in their usual places. (I'm still not quite there, but from here on I'll be faking it ... -- Check that! I see them, morphing into view, very shadowy, very indistinct, now with faces. But now, here I am loving my enemies ... they're full of fear ... it's their problem ... and none of my own.)

I guess this would be part of the benefits of paranoia for self-esteem. You've got your regular mind and a mind beside that one. Two for the price of one. What should give you more self-esteem than that? Not everyone can say that. I've literally got two minds! Maybe I should split the second one off and clone it (mentally) for a third. Like Sibyl.

Where the second mind might not be your friend -- and where you'll want to love it anyway -- is if it's working against your mutual interests. Telling you only that there are enemies and not telling you how this information is beneficial to you. It's clearly beneficial because you can be on your guard. The more you can value that second mind -- the paranoid one -- the more you can do a conscious partnership, where it's informing the first mind in a reasonable way.

So if the paranoid mind is an enemy, by all means "love it." And bring it back in line, as a responsible adjunct (if not something more intrinsic -- which I would actually advocate) to the first. There's some good things you can do by being paranoid. Alertness, an abundance of caution, seeing all the angles, having a deeper sense of humor, understanding the follies of others. And of course you're not going to tell everyone. Why would you? You're paranoid. That caution is so good.

I think it's pretty typical for paranoid people to have low self-esteem, low pride, and low confidence. But it doesn't have to be that way. Embrace who you are, all these mental states. And find the good in them. Maybe you'll recognize that you have some real advantages, something to be quite proud of. And if you're not completely proud of it, at least make lemonade out of lemons.

I started by saying I wasn't particularly paranoid today. But the day's still young. Get a little tiredness on my bones and I really might lose my grip by mid-afternoon. Then I'll think all these things over. Yes, they're out to get you. But at least I have a mind healthy enough to know it.

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