Paradise or Paranoia

Dr. Swami Vivekananda Saraswati, M.B., B.S., D P M., M.A.N.Z.C.P. (Syd)

What a long way it seems between paradise and paranoia, between the realization of the oneness of all things on one hand, and the total isolation and alienation of the paranoid state on the other. But is it such a long way or are these two just the opposite sides of the same coin, merely the polar extremes of the same range of awareness in all human beings?

Paradise is a word whose meaning varies with the person who uses it. Here we intend it to mean the highest consciousness, the realisation that this apparent individual consciousness is just a manifestation of the overall consciousness. There is no separateness; you and I are not isolated islands. In fact, there is no you and no I; we are all one. There is no room here for isolation, fear, hatred, exploitation or any of the other states of consciousness derived from the delusion of separateness.

Paranoia is the other side of the coin. It is the state of consciousness in which one feels alone and isolated from others and the surroundings. If the general emotion is one of anger, hate or fear we have typical paranoid states and paranoid schizophrenia with their delusions of persecution. If the emotion is of high self esteem, we have the delusions of grandeur, 'I am great, everyone else is inferior', so common in mania and brain damage. If the general feeling is one of low self esteem, we have the delusions of worthlessness found in depressions.

These facets of paranoia seem different from each other and the delusions vary, but at the core they are derived from one basic delusion - separateness, the opposite to totality of cosmic consciousness.

We all like to think of ourselves as being potentially all loving and, granted, we are, but in our animal aspect we also harbour an infinite potential depth of resentment, hate and destructiveness. Perhaps we can only realize our divine heritage of universal love when we have cleared the way by accepting the opposite which, in all our humanness, we have within us. Maybe we can start to deal with our delusion of separateness and all its symptoms when we are prepared to acknowledge that they exist within us.

Of course, we don't have to act out the negative feelings, but we should be prepared to accept them as part of out being and to recognize them when they threaten to erupt. We can go further than this and say that by recognizing these negative qualities in ourselves, we may even reduce their tendency to erupt.

Can there be a spectrum with only one end? Can we become one with the totality of consciousness without recognizing the extreme of isolation or paranoia which lies at the other end? Can there be waves with only crests and no troughs? Can we become all loving without recognizing and accepting the hate which, as humans, we are all capable of manifesting?

Once we have understood this polarity principle behind all creation, what courses can we take? There seem to be three: the still, the stilted and the seekers.

The still course is the easiest. In this case we don't try to change our level of consciousness. We just stay the same until we die. Most people want to be like this. They try to regulate their lives so that stresses are minimised and the level of consciousness hardly varies, These people are like a coin which sits on its edge for a hundred years, neither heads nor tails, never moving.

The stilted course is one in which people do interact and seek, They do Have negative feelings but they deny them and put on an artificial exterior which belies what is going on underneath. These people are like the coin which is weighted so that it will always fall 'heads up'. They refuse to accept that another side even exists.

The seekers are the people who are prepared to aim for the stars. They know or soon find out that they will be exposed to all sorts of bufferings; the stable constancy of the still people will never be theirs. They will have to be honest with themselves and look at qualities which they find unpleasant; the complacent, apparent purity of the, stilted people will never be theirs. But they feel that it is worthwhile. Do you?