The Poet in the Coffee Shop

The handsome poet turned to me, “You believe in sanity, don’t you?” His smile was a kind of smirk. We were sitting in Le Figaro café at MacDougal and Bleecker Street in New York City drinking Constant Comment tea.

I frowned. What a question. My mouth dropped open in shock. I felt as if I had been intellectually slapped. Well, I was in my mid-twenties and new to Greenwich Village. He was a brooding, blue-eyed, thirty year old. I wanted to impress him, but I had been minted in middle-class Indiana in the mid-fifties. I was a good girl with no sophistication. I had never even heard of Constant Comment tea. Was I stupid to “believe in sanity?” Is that something one actually believes in anyway? All I said to him was, “Uh, yeah. Don’t you?”

But I never forgot that moment or that question. Now more than 50 years later, I’m still pondering it.   I think there’s a shit load of insanity going on right now. Do I still believe in sanity? Yes. But what is it?  

Well, after many years of living, here’s my answer to that gorgeous but smug poet: 

To me, sanity is being present in one’s body, owning all one’s feelings without projecting them onto anyone or anything else.

Insanity is not being present and lashing out of anger or hurt or fear.

Sanity is telling the truth simply and directly without attack.

Insanity is lying.

Based on what I believe sanity is, I have no choice but to declare our present President insane.

3 thoughts on “The Poet in the Coffee Shop

  1. I agree that sanity is living in the present and being in touch with your feelings. For me it took a lot of work to be able to do this. All day things happen that are difficult with which to deal. These things trigger my character defects like worry, anxiety, fear, anger, self pity, resentment, etc.. Our brains are hard wired to go to a state of worry. This worry must be turned off. I have to meditate by breathing correctly while looking internally in order to accept my bad feelings and to take responsibility for them. It takes as much courage as I can muster to look honestly internally so as to correct my bad feelings. When I do this, I am in the present—no looking back and being upset—-no looking forward and being afraid—just being in a peaceful, loving, joyful state. A female monk once told me that she became a monk so that she could meditate all day. This allowed her to continually be in the present so that she would not miss out on anything in her life. Being present means that you are joyful and full of life. I have to really work at it or I lose out on being present. I study kygong and this helps to be present. 95% of the American population is in a state of severe stress and this causes them to be knocked away from being present. Most lack a way of operating that allows them to get to a state of being present.

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