Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Emergent Man

By Jonathan Dunnemann

Until we have grown into our fullness in life, we will face the ongoing risk of becoming disillusioned, distracted and utterly lost. When this occurs, we often find ourselves having become mere caricatures of someone else lacking an authentic identity, missing a true calling, and absent an integral association with a set of chosen beliefs, practices, and values.

When you are eventually able to "pass through" your difficulties, and you will, there you will find yourself enlarged and renewed, with a keener sense of direction, purpose, and out on the other side of past lived "chaotic" circumstances.

During the time of struggle, to gain a stable footing, it is important to fight mightily against the rising tide of despair, hopelessness, or panic that might otherwise consume us. The inner-self can fast become home to negative emotional reactions, thoughts, plans, and sense of self.  However, gaining understanding from time to time requires re-examination if we are to ever find the way back to a personal path and thereby avoid becoming completely disconnected from our "greatest potentiality" or "true north". As James Hollis, PhD., and author writes in What Matters Most, what becomes most consequential "...is the task of consciousness, the task of therapy, the task of recovering right relationship to the gods.
Let me give some examples. When we address why a depression has fallen upon us, or why we suffer panic attacks, or why we repeatedly sabotage ourselves, we have to track the "logic" of our symptom down to what the soul wants from us.  (Our symptoms are "logical" expressions of an inner conflict, an embodiment of the contretemps between oppression and expression.) Why, in a depression, has the committee of the inner life" withdrawn cooperation from the agenda of the CEO ego? What do "they" want? Why has generalized anxiety, which is an inescapable aspect of our existential condition, chosen this venue for its panicky focus?

Be open to possibly seeking good counsel from your elders on how to more skillfully identify those cultural guideposts that can lead you more swiftly towards authentic, committed, empathetic, honest and joyful living.

In the future, there will come a time for recalling how this period of trial progressively transformed into a peak awakening.  Such events reflect an important right of passage in our overall development. The kind that fosters deepened self-awareness, self-control, and "schooling in the power of trained thought (Holmes, 1938)."

Getting there though requires a strategic focus on establishing a realistic self-understanding of how to make better overall life choices. A prerequisite is that one must have the insight to recognize relationships among their thoughts, feelings, and actions and thereby capacity to learn the meanings and causes of experiences along with the associated behaviors behind them (Applebaum, 1973).

Unfortunately, in our early adult life, we possess limited self-knowledge. "Neisser, for example, suggested there were five kinds of selves to know, including the private (internal) self, the interpersonal self and a conceptual self that helps to integrate the others (Mayer, 2008)." Ernest Holmes says, "We are limited only by concept and the refusal that comes from ignorance or laziness to re-mount the slope of thought". 

"Instinctive Life waits upon man's discovery of the natural laws and his discovery of himself and his relationship to the great Whole (Holmes, 1938)." Let it be clear, there never will be blue skies, fair weather and wonderful rainbows all of the time. On occasion, we will encounter harsh elements, and unforeseen events causing us much frustration, pain, and at times even grief. Still, we need never forfeit our hope or flat-out "give up".

The task in those rough seasons of daily living is to cast aside the soiled habits, ideas and deceptive images that wear thin one's gratitude, patience, and self-efficacy. Not until we have done this, will we begin to experience the freedom that comes from stepping out of our garments of angst, what we have worn for far too long while masquerading under another person's authority. After this has transpired, we  can start acting out of a "free expression of feelings, motives, and inclinations (Kernis, 2003).

Continue to be mindful of the following:
The road ahead can come from only one place - inside. No one else can identify our paths for us. Finding and successfully following one's true path comes from our inner guidance and wisdom.
The path begins with a vision - a vision of what life looks like - at work, at home, at play and in relationship. This vision informs one of one's place in life and on the planet. One's vision, when sought and discovered inside, and tested, provides a sense of worth and value that defines one's place on the planet
~ Peter Vajda