Ancient rites of passage championed the mature achievement of adulthood as the requisite linchpin to mastering life’s deepest challenges. Without the establishment of this mature adult self we are ill-equipped, or defensively overladen, to journey forward into life’s deepest needs and challenges.
The modern technological world has failed to collectively build the bridge to maturity that was once constructed by the transformative power of ancient ritual. Nonetheless, the modern world and life itself force us to forge an adult self. It is only the adult self that can take the journey forward, and that journey—if it is to be fulfilling—requires a recapitulation of life lived, with all its deficits, hurts, disappointments and traumas, to release frustrated energies and find renewal in deep connection with the greater self.
The adult self must ready itself to take the recapitulation journey. For this it must learn to be present to needs, feelings, and impulses, without collapse. Collapse here means caving to the demands of another part of the self that seeks release or relief in a compulsive, impulsive, habitual self-destructive behavior. The adult self must learn to stay still, to breathe and bear the tension of inner pressure in order to consciously choose the best course of action—that is, action that supports the true needs of the self.
Sometimes the tension must be borne for some time before the clarity on what is the right decision is achieved. Sometimes the adult self acts precipitously, only to realize it has been duped into traversing an old road once again. This is a critical juncture in the process, but one must not be swallowed in negative self-judgment or talk of failure, for that is the one-way highway to the helplessness of the child self, bemoaning its position, steeped in the powerlessness of self-pity.
The work is always for the adult self to stay present, both in the experience and as the detached observer, allowing for all the feelings, judgments, sensations and truths to be fully known. The adult self feels but does not get weighed down by its discoveries, though it can take some time, and repeated dives into the deeper self, to achieve this state of detached equilibrium.
The job of the adult self in recapitulation is to acknowledge, learn, and take forward into life the new awarenesses that are achieved, once and for all freeing the self of the need to cling to old habitual patterns and illusions. Resisting judgment, the adult self gradually molts into new life. Intense emotions and physical tremors are par for the course, bringing the necessary accompanying release of the multidimensional self as it frees itself of the past and moves forward to claim its innate potential.
In this powerful physical release the adult self loosens and releases a torrent of energetic waves, once again fully present but staunch observer as well. Here, bearing the tension is allowing for vulnerability; complete physical and emotional release without constriction.
The crux of forging the adult self to fully live, is to learn to bear the tension of being fully present to all that was and all that is. In full presence we reclaim our birthright, our higher potential, completely freed to enjoy new energetic life.
In ancient religions, the standard-bearers of this ability to withstand the tension is the image of Christ on the cross and Buddha beneath his tree. In each of these ritual dramas, bearing the tension led to freeing the self to higher vibrational energetic life beyond the body, into full enlightenment in complete awareness. We too can achieve this state. Recapitulation is one tried and true method of taking the journey.
Keep it simple. Bear the tension, stay fully present, release the old, and move forward into wholeness, breathing in new life and new energy.