Schopenhauer said that when we look back over our life it seems as though everything fits together like a life-size jig saw puzzle, with all those chance meetings and events working together to create the harmonious whole that has us right here, right now. And he posits that the director, the choreographer, of the wonderful whole that is our complete life is none other than the mysterious center of ourselves, pulling rabbits out of a hat, dancing this way with that, and that way with this, in producing the opus we have lived without being aware of what we were doing. "There is a center," he would say, and 10,000 others with him, "at work to coalesce a lived history around itself through our choices and reaction to events and circumstances that have only us (and our center) as the one influential constant responsible for the majestic creation of the life we have lived. Our life is the product we have produced without intent or purpose. Joseph Campbell, thinking about this, said, "None of us has lived the life we intended." But, we can trust ourselves to The Mystery of our own unfolding. We can rely on the center of our own being. There are at work within us forces we cannot imagine, or begin to control-- but we can pledge ourselves to them with filial devotion and liege loyalty, letting what happens be what happens, and looking forward to how that contributes to the marvel of the whole in response to the prayer of the people throughout the ages: "The work of our hands-- establish, Thou, it!"
Carl Jung thought we live to bring ourselves to life. Joseph Campbell would say the same. And, he would say that all the mythologies from the beginning say the same. We are forever seeking ourselves. T.S. Eliot, in "The Four Quartets," said, "We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." The Old Taoists held that the Quest we are on is to find our Original Nature, and know "the face that was ours before our parents were born." Jung saw the task before us as one of "Individuation," whereby we become who we are by the life-long process of "circumambulation," an ever tightening spiral around and around the center that is the Self, gradually realizing, knowing, becoming, being, incarnating who we are over the full course of our life. We think we are here to make a lot of money and "pass a good time." We are living on one track when we need to be living on another track. We are going in one direction when we need to be going in a different direction. I don't know how we are going to get things turned around. I do know the old Taoist Masters understood their sole task to be "turning the light around." Now it is our turn to do the turning. Turning, turning, turning, along the path Jung laid out before us: "We are who we always have been, and who we will be." Happy trails, fellow travelers! I'll keep an eye out for you along the way!
Only those who can bear the pain of, and dance with, the contradictions of life as it comes have what it takes to see what's what and do what can be done about it with the gifts/genius/daemon/virtues/character that comes with them from the womb in each situation as it arises moment-by-moment all their life long. Everybody else takes refuge in their dreams of how life should be, or retreats into their favorite way of dismissing, discounting, disregarding, ignoring the reality of the way things are, and lives in denial, dead to the world as it is, all their life long. If you are going to be alive in this world, and it is the only world there is, you are going to have to live your life on your life's terms-- without pausing to curse, moan, groan, or complain. Coming to terms with life's terms and accepting the fact of: This is the way things are, and this is what you can do about it, and that's that, every day.
We cannot see/hear/know/understand/do/be/become before the time for seeing/hearing/knowing/understanding/ doing/being/becoming. But. We can delay seeing, etc. long past the time for seeing, etc. by being distracted/lost in pursuit of the wrong goals in the service of the wrong ideas about what is important and worth our time. Quoth the prophets: "O Land, Land, Land! HEAR the Word of the Lord!" "How long am I to bear with you? How long do I have to put up with you?" "There are none who do what is right! No! Not ONE!" And so it is said by those who know, "Neanderthal got it. Cro Magnon didn't. And here we are." Waiting, watching, for those who can hear what is to be heard, and do what must be done. Like Obi wan Kenobi wondering what is keeping Luke Skywalker. And Master Yoda napping in the swamp between Jedi's. We cannot hurry the time of its arrival. And we must be ready when it comes. That is the paradox of the times. The time between times can seem eternal, but it is the most important time. How we spend it tells the tale. And the joke of all jokes is on us, waiting for the day of the Lord's return while the Lord is waiting for us to show up-- seeing and hearing what has been right before us all along.