Most of what we are is either inherited or molded by our formative social experience, essentially, what we brought in with us into this life and how we were greeted when we arrived. The force of these influences can make a strong argument that the course of a human life is predetermined or mechanistically determined.
Nonetheless, as noted existential thinkers and authors Victor Frankl and Edith Eger have demonstrated: Regardless of circumstances beyond our control, we always retain the free will to choose the attitude we will take toward our reality. And attitudes, it turns out, are powerful suggestions that we, as creators, present to our subconscious minds that can completely shift the reality that we live in.
Some of those inherent programs, however, are so powerful that they simply cannot be overridden, like the one the shamans of Ancient Mexico emphasize: We are beings who are going to die. Ironically, this is the one inherent program that human beings refuse to acknowledge and, in fact, spend most of their lives living as though it will never come true!
Of course, the argument immediately arises that to focus on the inevitability of death is morbidly negative and casts too depressive a shadow over opening up to the fullness of life. So what could possibly be the positive side of death?
Death advises us that our time in human form is limited. This impact of limitation allows for a legitimate scientific experiment in the living of a human life. Science insists upon a beginning and an ending to assess the truth and full knowing of something. The awareness of inevitable death keeps us positively on track to discover and test the core hypothesis of our lives. But what is our core hypothesis?
Carl Jung would identify that hypothesis as one of individuation, which entails successfully bringing into realized wholeness the unique combination of opposing parts that we are. Frederick Myers, from his advanced perspective in infinity, would identify that hypothesis as an incarnating soul’s mission, assigned by its Spirit, to answer a question through the trajectory of a human life, which ultimately allows one’s soul group to further refine and thus to advance on its ever-unfolding journey in infinity.
Wholeness must include light and shadow. Individuation is the ability to accept, with equanimity, all parts of self and all parts of the world. Buddha, during his enlightenment, remained utterly calm, as he saw the illusory and transitory nature of all forms. Carlos Castaneda suggested that, as one discovers the specific role one has been assigned in this life, one suspend judgment and live and appreciate it to the fullest, whether it emphasizes the light or the dark side.
The power players on the current world stage are truly playing their parts to perfection, both those who reflect the light and those who blatantly reflect evil. The collective individuation challenge of our time is well represented, with worthy opponents whose interplay is critical to advancement of the soul group of planet Earth’s dream.
Closer to home, we all struggle with these opposing forces within ourselves. We all contend with genetic consequences, which both limit and promote our physical structure, health, and attractiveness. If we can see these effects, no matter how undesirable, as critical factors to our individual and soul group’s need to master, we can embrace the positive side of the negative.
At the level of the psyche, we all deal with forces that can be extremely critical, deprecating and incessantly negative, generating depressed mood states and compulsive behaviors. If we can understand the necessity of these negative forces in our journey of mastery, we can see the positive value of these petty tyrants to help us emerge from the captivity of self pity.
Self pity shapes our vital flowing energy into a rigid negative form that completely clouds the positive potential latent in the present challenge. It’s a dream where many of the stone steps of a narrow circular stairway are missing, as we feel hopelessly barred from ascent to higher ground. Our energy is fully spent on body armor, condemning our innocence and unlived self to the isolation of solitary confinement.
The shamans of ancient Mexico always included powerful petty tyrants in their lives to help them stare down the imprisoning bars of self pity. Being challenged by ruthless petty tyrants frees our energy from the confinement of defending our hurt selves, allowing it to be deployed in focused action in full conformity to what is needed to master the tyrant’s labyrinth.
To achieve this mastery we cannot afford to spend an ounce of energy on being offended. Here, the petty tyrants of this world offer us the greatest opportunity to break through the narcissistic shell of self pity and entitlement.
The success of individuation in the limits of a human life is the achievement of acceptance; complete acceptance for every experience and character one has ever encountered, as well as complete acceptance of one’s self.
The fruit of this acceptance is an even more refined purity of love. And that refined love is what fulfills our lives and advances our soul group another rung on the infinite ladder of love.
Always find the positive in the negative; it’s the truly soulful thing to do,