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  • Writer's picturedrmillerlane

Life Has Not Forgotten You

This is a beautiful passage from a generative book by James Hollis, PhD who is 83 years old and is a practicing Jungian analyst and author of numerous books. This passage is from his most recent book A Life of Meaning - Relocating Your Center Of Spiritual Gravity, Sounds True, pages 107-109, 2023.

In the seventeenth century, Blaise Pascal, in his book Pensees (Thoughts), said even the king, king though he be, if he thinks of self will grow miserable and frightened. So the court has invented the Jester to distract the king and the court from reflecting on things that matter. Pascal labeled this distraction "divertissement," what we now call "diversion." Think about that in the light of contemporary culture with its twenty-four-hour seven-days-a-week wired-in experience of distraction.

So much greater must be our estrangement from our own souls. So much greater must be our fear of that still, quiet voice that speaks within each of us. The ancients know this voice, and they talked about it. They chronicled it. They wrote scripture and mythologies about it. And then we forgot what they learned. The question is, can we return to that? This whole process of stepping into our depths can be intimidating. It can feel isolating, and still, we have to remember, this is our journey. This risk is what brings depth and dignity to our lives.

Let's turn once again to a paragraph from Rainer Maria Rilke's fine Letters to a Young Poet. When the young poet is expressing his apprehensions about the difficulties of life and whether he'll be up to it or not, Rilke writes to him,

"You must not be frightened if a sadness rises up before you larger than you've ever seen, if a restiveness like light and cloud shadows pass over your hand and over all you do, you must think that something is happening with you. That life has not forgotten you, that it holds you in its hand. It will not let you fall. Why do you want to shut out of your life any uneasiness? Any miseries or any depressions? For, after all, you do not know what work these conditions are doing for you."

It's a lovely paragraph because it's a reminder that there's something in us, a life force that supports us, that holds us in its hand...

...Our own psyche keeps showing up, keeps knocking on the door, keeps summoning us back to the high calling of the journey.

This is important because the soul also provides each of us the tools with which to navigate and constantly reminds us that we're charged from the beginning with accountability to what may be seeking its expression through us into the world. Our psyche is constantly summoning us, calling us back to the higher calling of that journey. Moreover, it gives us the tools with which to navigate, to find our way---the internal compass. It reminds us from time to time that we are charged from the beginning of the journey to its end with accountability to what is seeking its expression through us into the world, asking us only that we manage to be as courageous as possible, to show up as best we can, and to live that journey with as much integrity as we can muster.



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