Friday, June 7, 2013

Discovering Your Unlived Life

"Wouldn't it be great to just let go of your ego? Just live in the now and be enlightened? Paradox, the contrary opposites, are not ever truly separated; paradoxes make room for grace and mystery." --Living Your Unlived Life by R.Johnson and J. Ruhl

Authors Johnson and Ruhl write of many of the currents in modern thought, and while many others may write on the same topics, dispense the same or similar notions, these two authors are openly and clearly operating within the bounds of their mentor, Carl Jung. Many self styled spiritualists and life "coaches" may also advance the knowledge presented in the book, Living Your Unlived Life, though with less integrity or honesty, implying it to be their own thought or devises; in reality they too are one of the choir canting Jung equally. Not to be fooled, a Simple Mind seeks to track down ideas and their attribution.

Many have preoccupied themselves with various 'busy-iness' for so long that as the second half of life approaches, there is the strong impulse to push back, to 'forget' the many longings in a lifetime; despite a modern appetite for amusements and all kinds of diversions, the impulse to examine a path less often chosen is ignored. Will it be before long that we turn to our own inner longings, recognizing the need for living life that makes sense now, that is creative and renders satisfaction? Will this occur before death or only in the moments attending ones' passing? Feeling the press of growing tedium or vague dissatisfaction, some will turn, attend to this task and realize the riches from doing so. Living Your Unlived Life may just be the best, most, creative thing you've done.

There are those who will simply say that one must get rid of the 'ego/ I /self' and all will be well. Au contraire! write authors Johnson and Ruhl. Instead they note that without an informed, conscious ego, one is "psychotic, not enlightened… [One] can move the ego into relationship, in service to something greater."
In the second life, as we age and mature, an ego may serve to divinize, making parts whole. It may be a partial answer for what serves the greater good. Indeed,the 'ego' is central to the Holy Grail myth of medieval Europe. In concert with consciousness, the ego holds the reins of daily life; ego strength is what actually distinguishes typical, daily imaginings and playfulness from psychosis and absurdity.

Without potentially destroying your earlier accomplishments, destroying your connections to friends and loved ones, ruining your finances, living your un-lived life may be one of the most engaging times of your life. For some it's tinkering and adjusting, for others it's a 'do over' featuring a second career, meaningful creative solutions to the same time worn problems. As each person is unique, there are unique responses to the issues of living the 'second life' in real time, real world ways.

From this process of discovery of our self, we find that much of what remains undeveloped, un-lived is what seems too grand to bear. "This may seem silly, but if you look honestly at your life, you will find it's true," writes Johnson. Some for example, look for spirit in a bottle rather than inside themself; some seek ecstasy from others or from exterior experiences. And true for many is a knee-jerk reaction against change. The 'ego' simply doesn't like it'; it upsets the settled balance. We struggle to get the balance right for our self.

Engaging in the timeless art of Being rather than Doing is the major focus of the second life; in our earlier years we expended energies upon career goals, establishing and maintaining relationships, building financial security; with those tasks now largely in hand, many will find their mind wandering. It meanders at times, like a daydream of what might be; it dreams of situations we find either highly attractive or repulsing.
All this imagining may be taken together as symbolic, realizing over time greater and deeper self awareness, the beginnings of a peaceful life without regrets. "Midlife is a time of reappraisal in part because as we age, the realm of Being must become more predominant."

Discovering our un-lived life and responding to its promptings is a process the authors write about. Setting time aside during ones' day for moments of reflection, to connect with our deepest self is "not mindless daydreaming, zoning out… it's from a state of energized being" that we learn to recognize our self.

Bringing the "calmness and focus of Being into doing activities is a supreme achievement." Trace what or whom you love; follow what matters to you into your Being. Not every concern is meant literally. Some desires and fantasies are best thought out rather than lived. Engage with your symbols. Learn their meaning.

Through the recognition of your own personal symbols and expressive (visual, lyrical, spoken, physical) language, one may pull back together in greater wholeness parts previously buried or torn from a life story.

No one else can live your life for you, nor will they die for you when that time comes.
Actively imagining your story and where it will go from here is a choice and a challenge for you to decide.

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