What's worth our time? We live to find out. By now (This is my 77th June), I have ruled out a lot of things. Articulating the truth of the moment remains high on the list. Saying what's what, and looking for what needs to be done about it, is my favorite thing. It's been my shtick for years. I'm taken by how many people prefer movies, sports, sit-coms and best sellers-- board games, quiz shows, ice cream and pizza. If you can get a Jungian analyst to talk about themselves-- what they like to do, what their nighttime dreams are saying to them, where they think their life might be taking them-- you could pick up some tips for how you might approach your own life. It will come down to paying attention, connecting the dots, seeing how this is related to that, and where that over there came from and putting 2 and 2 together. Few of us are that curious about ourselves and how we amassed the assorted collection of things that constitute our life, but it is great path to what we could do with what remains of our time. The clues are everywhere for those who think there must be more to it than whiskey and picking up dog poop three time a day.
If we aren't spending our time consciously/intentionally/persistently/deliberately being who we are, doing it the way we would do it, we are wasting our time, and throwing away opportunities to bring ourselves forth in the time left for living. How would you live the rest of what is left of this moment in a way that is true to who you are? Do that, and repeat it in all of the moments that follow this one. To do that, you have to have a good sense of who you are and who you are not, of what is you and what is not-you. If you don't have that by now, now is a great time to begin getting to the bottom of you. Awareness! Awareness! Awareness! How do you play out what remains of your life in ways that are true to you? Sit quietly and imagine your options, try all of the imaginable combinations of potential actions and reactions until you find some that could work. Maybe you don't get a divorce and quit your job as your first move toward you. Maybe you start with practicing becoming courageous in small, inconsequential ways, until you get the hang of it. A lack of courage has you where you are, the practice of courage will take you along the path to where you need to be. One step at a time. See what beckons as a reasonable first step, and start walking.
The fundamental conflict is the conflict between the Garden of Eden and the Garden of Gethsemane-- between the call of the world and the call of our soul. We want what will kill us. W.B. Yeats saw this as the conflict between the Primary Mask and the Antithetical Mask. The Primary Mask is given to us at birth. It is who we are to be as parents/family/culture/church/society would have us be. This is the Knowledge of Good and Evil, of the Rules and Ways of Being that will get us what we want in the world of space and time. The Antithetical Mask is given to us before birth. It is our own sense of what is right for us and what is wrong fort us as our heart and soul (Psyche) determine what fits us and what does not. The life that is ours to live comes with us from the womb, and at birth we meet the life the culture has waiting for us in a "Here, put this on, fresh from the rack," kind of way. It does not fit us but there are perks and fringe benefits aplenty, so off we go, out of the Garden, to seek our fortune among the flashing lights and hypnotic sounds of Gay Paree (Or its local manifestation). Well, the world has its way of doing business and measuring success, and our soul has its way of doing business and measuring success, and life in one sphere of existence is death in the other, and which will we listen to and which will we ignore? What will guide our boat on its path through the sea? Jesus points the way in the Garden of Gethsemane, but it is the way of dying to the world's way of reckoning success and living to the soul's way of valuing and being. "Thy will, not mine, be done," means we are to be as Jesus was, liege servants serving our soul with filial devotion and loyalty. And so it is said that the path back to Eden winds through the heart of Gethsemane and across the face of Golgotha. And we all bear the marks of the cross in our own bodies as we wrestle for our life within the tension the world's way of doing things and our soul's call for faithful obedience to our oath in the Garden, not Eden, but Gethsemane. And we work this out again and again, finding the Middle Way between World and Soul throughout our life, dying and being resurrected to die and be resurrected with each choice in each situation as it arises. The Middle way is the slippery slope, the dangerous path, like a razor's edge, between the Primary and the Antithetical Mask, the world and the soul, how we serve which to what extent, and what guides our boat on its path through the sea. Negotiation and compromise, Kid. Negotiation and compromise. Death and Resurrection, Kid. Death and Resurrection.