Struggling with one’s own shadow self, facing interior conflicts and moral failures, undergoing rejection and abandonment, daily humiliations, experiencing any kind of abuse, or any form of limitation: all are gateways into deeper consciousness and the flowering of the soul.*
True meaning in life is to be discovered in the world rather than with man or his own psyche. I have termed this constitutive characteristic “the self-transcendence of human existence” [-] self actualisation is possible only as a side-effect of self-transcendence.**
We must create our most enriching environments but there is no such thing as a perfect one. We are in danger if we believe there is. They are all gardens full of rocks and weeds.
Then we must break out of our environment, disrupt the danger of complacency with some randomness, some practice that is different or reading someone who brings us something new or we disagree with.
It’s not easy because our environments are woven together with our emotions, making them tricky places for us, as David Brooks points out:
‘far from being a cold engine for processing information, neural connections are shaped by emotion’.^^
Journaling is always really helpful for capturing this, making whatever other means for inquiring of our lives more effective:
‘Journaling makes the other keystone activities ten times or a hundred times more powerful. If you’re not using your journal daily, then your meditation, visualisation, and prayer will be far less effective.’^
The mythologist Joseph Campbell writes about the critical nature of our myths or big stories that we tell:
‘The ancient myths were designed to harmonise the mind and the body. The mind can ramble off in strange ways and want things that the body does not want.’*^
Journaling becomes a way of capturing and unwrapping the myths we live within, to be able to change them when we become complacent within them and re in danger of ceasing to grow.
(*From Richard Rohr’s The Naked Now.)
(**Viktor Frankl, quoted in Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(^From Benjamin Hardy’s Willpower Doesn’t Work.)
(^^David Brooks, quoted in Maggie Berg and Barbara Seeber’s The Slow Professor.)
(*^From Joseph Campbell and All Moyers’ The Power of Myth.)