I had a dream last night in which I relived a situation from my youth. Shame and humiliation caused me to cower and isolate into a fantasy as a way of finding relief from that. It was a not such an unusual experience of those youthful years. I also met with some old friends this past week and it triggered similar emotions and than I heard on CBC that the word nostalgia in Greek literally means “the pain from old wounds” and I realized that I am still functioning from that place at times. There is something of me that has been extremely invested in not confronting or even acknowledging this reality.
I am seeing more clearly that I have been under the influence of this wounded sense of self and I am beginning to realize that I lived so many of those years with a looming sense of immense fear, shame and humiliation. It probably had something to do with my Irish Catholic upbringing. Most of how I acted was a matter of coping with that, in efforts to escape in fantasy at times and/or or in a need of covering it over in some way
I think that those underlying feelings continued to be an unseen influence in how I have acted even into recent times, contributing to a meanness or insensitivity or impatience in my interactions with others. I only hope that my insights can bring some relief and allow me to relate to others from a place not so obsessed with my own woundedness and possibly with more compassion and care.
There is something about seeing more deeply into nostalgic feelings. And coming to acceptance of the wounded reality and this sense of being vulnerable that allows for a more compassionate response to life situations. As well, I feel the urge to apologize to those I have hurt because I feel that most everything I have been and done has been rooted in ignorance. That’s all that I can be sure of.
I am driven at times by a subtle urge to search for something that I am not so clearly aware of. Maybe it is simply an endlessly arising curiosity, without intent to resolve anything specific. But it most certainly seems at times that something is amiss.
In my 65th year, there is something of me that is easily tired, that desires comfort and ease in life more than I used to. But it quickly becomes clear that this does not bring satisfaction and the urge to be engaged in the natural mystery of life calls me back.. The impulse to turn to what nature offers is more influential than ever.
I am more in need of rest and contemplation these days but I utilize those moments to engage in a meditative, contemplative experience and not in resorting to busyness to distract me as I once did. Its not satisfying enough to be complacently engaged in meaningless activity which seems to serve more as a distraction from conscious awareness. The contemplative life that I have nurtured makes complacency difficult. I am constantly brought back to presence. There is as well the increased ongoing awareness of human folly and destructiveness of ego oriented perception, actions and solutions to problems. I am overwhelmingly aware at times of how humans have come to live fragmented lives and the toll it has taken on other species and the planet.
Increasingly I realize that destructive consequences seem to be a result of a separation from self and simultaneously from nature and much of my focus is about reconnecting to what I have forgotten of that. There seems to be a compassion and caring that emanates from fostering that connection however slowly and apprehensively I embrace it. Its the intensification in sensitivity and sense of vulnerability that arises with this that is somewhat unbearable at times. At other times when I allow myself to settle into it I am enabled to realize what it is that has been missing.
I write in a way of generality knowing well that the process of individuation is unique for all.
We are something of both an individual and something deeper that is a part of our essence. It is something not of a concrete quality or easily conceptualized that we have all originated from. We are not so conscious of it in modern times, having somehow become something which has forgotten that deeper truth of what we are; however, much it is part of our being.
Henry Corbin’s writes about the idea of the “angel” that plays a role in the unfolding of our conscious experience. He writes about “Eternal Time” as a personal Figure, a celestial counterpart that completes and grants Eternity to the earthly soul, and appears in epiphanies that are, as he puts it, “each time unique”. “This idea makes possible a simultaneity of divine unity and divine plurality which avoids the simplest dilemma between monotheism and polytheism. The earthly soul meets its Angel on the road in an act of rigorous and irreplaceable individuation of that divine presence. To lose that deeper dimension is to lose an angel.”
At times we realize that something is amiss in our lives. Somehow touching and connecting with something that lay more deeply, an inseparable part of us, that in our fragmented focus and modern and cultural thinking we have lost awareness of, can lead us towards a more comprehensive individuation. We are something of both an individual and that something that is ineffable, that has existed prior to the arrival and ability of words to iilluminate, that is of our collective essence. Henry Corbin refers to that graceful process of reconnecting to our nature as being led by an angel.