Most of humanity walks around all day, every day, a slave to their inner maniac. What do I mean by inner maniac? I’ll explain it but I don’t think I need to. Most of you know exactly what I mean.
We could call this many things. Inner neurotic. Inner lunatic. Inner Sensitive Sally. Ego. I heard Mickey Singer use inner maniac in a recent talk and laughed when I heard it so I’m going with that.
Our inner maniac is our personal self. Our ego. Our inner critic who criticizes ourselves and everyone else. It says things like,
“I mean how big a bitch does someone have to be to say something like that? Seriously.”
“I’m not talking to that jerk until he apologizes.”
“I can’t ask her out. I’m not good enough for her.”
I’ve written a bunch about the fact that we are not our inner maniac, we are the consciousness that is aware of that inner maniac. That idea is at the heart of Eckhart Tolle’s, Michael Singer’s and most spiritual leaders’ teachings.
People think their inner maniac is all they are
The biggest problem in our world is that most people think they are their inner maniac. They aren’t aware that there’s anything else to them. Just that voice in the head babbling on and on all day long, every day.
Since you’re reading this, I assume that you are one of the fortunate few who is at least aware that there is a deeper dimension to you than just the inner maniac. That in itself is a profoundly important step forward on the spiritual path. How is that?
A two-step life journey
One way to boil down the entire spiritual awakening journey is to reduce it to two steps. Step one would be simply becoming aware that you are not your inner maniac, as I wrote above.
Step one doesn’t take a huge amount of work, but it’s essential. Why? Because there is no step two unless we complete step one.
What is step two? It’s the work involved with dealing with our inner maniac. Who performs that work? Our conscious, aware self; i.e., the self that most people don’t know exists.
The work of quieting the maniac
I’m sure you have some idea of what that work involves. It’s practicing meditation, mindfulness and other techniques that facilitate the quieting of our inner maniac.
The more we quiet the maniac, the more distance we create between it and our conscious selves. One could say that step two is simply about creating more and more distance between our two selves.
Awakening comes when that inner maniac is so far away that it becomes a faint whisper in the background with little say in our lives. Wouldn’t that be great?
The work of step two
Yes, it would. But back to the work of step two. Because yes, part of it is the meditating, etc. But a significant chunk of work lies in how we relate to the inner maniac when it acts up.
The truth is that I, and many of you, aren’t there yet. Not even close.
What do I mean by that? While we are aware that we are the consciousness and not the maniac, we still allow the maniac to smother our consciousness and take over the steering wheel. A lot.
So what do we do to change that? That’s the crux of this piece. What we do is practice relating to our inner maniac in a different way.
Uptight on the highway
Here’s a minor example to illustrate. You’re driving along and the person in front of you is going 25 MPH in a 40 MPH zone. You’re not late. You don’t have to be anywhere in the next few minutes. And yet…your inner maniac gets its panties in a bunch because you’re going 15 MPH below the speed limit.
Because you’re one of the fortunate few who is developed enough to become aware that your inner maniac has acted up, you do just that: You become aware of it.
But here’s the rub. You probably get annoyed that your inner maniac acted up over this mole hill of a situation.
“Who cares? It’s probably some old lady taking her time getting home. Why do I have to get all worked up over this stupid crap?”
Don’t get mad at the maniac
Getting mad and frustrated that we have to deal with the maniac doesn’t help. It provides fuel to the maniac. It empowers him/her. It’s better than becoming completely consumed by the maniac and losing all awareness which is how most of humanity lives.
But there’s a better way. That way is something that if we work hard at and give proper attention can make a big difference in our awakening.
What is that way?
We get comfortable with our maniac.
We don’t get mad at him/her. We don’t get frustrated or annoyed or impatient. We relax with it.
In the driving example, here’s how it would play out. Your maniac acts up because you’re going slowly. Once you notice this has happened, you say to yourself,
“Okay, there he goes. Getting all bent out of shape because we’re going 25 in a 40. It’s alright. That’s what he does. Just ignore him…”
The more we do that, the more distance we create between us and the maniac and the weaker the maniac becomes.
Treat your maniac like it’s a five-year-old kid having a tantrum. Yes, it’s annoying when a kid melts down, but guess what? That’s what five-year-olds do!
And getting spun up over all kinds of self-destructive situations is what inner maniacs do. Accept that reality. Just watch the tantrums your maniac has and stay calm and comfortable. Relax.
I hope this is sinking in. Why? Because it truly is a game-changer if we put in the work.
It’s not enough to simply know that we are the egoic self and the conscious self. The work of our lifetimes comes in creating space between those two, a process that eventually leads to the defanging of our egos.
So work on becoming comfortable and patient with your inner maniac. It will take you, the real you, far.