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National Geographic

Man is so ready to ask in his infinite pride: “Am I not greatly superior to the animal?” But he would also do well to ask: “In what respect have I remained behind the animal?” Then he would find that he has remained behind the animal in respect of many faculties — faculties which are innate in the animal, but which man, if he is to develop them himself, has to acquire and master by dint of effort. — Rudolf Steiner

Live dangerously and you live right. — Goethe

We are disoriented to some degree because we are cut loose from the instincts of our organs, unlike animals. We therefore have imagination, and can take stupid chances that could kill us. Unmoored from the wisdom of inherited bodily knowledge, we may easily get lost in life and not know what to do. We have to learn how to listen to inner urgings and take them seriously.

A combination of factors — my Puritan upbringing and a severe bodily injury — put me at some distance from myself at an early age. In my youth, I simply didn’t have a good estimation of who I was and what I was made for. I spent over forty years trying on partners and lifestyles that never fit. I’m lucky I was determined to keep trying until I got it right, which I finally did by stint of persistence and acceptance of the obvious when I could see I had screwed up once again.

Some of us have few guides in life, making trial and error the only modus operandi left. My instincts were so overwhelmed by accident and upbringing that my imagination was free to offer all kinds of unlikely solutions to the questions posed by life. I was also lucky to have my long suffering parents who were often left to wonder “what the hell is he up to now?”

In the end, just by being allowed to not be married to my mistakes, I eliminated the wrong paths and stumbled onto the right one. Having said all that, I notice how people who have their heads screwed on better than I often go through periods of painful misjudgements. Life is rarely easy for any of us. We are all due our bumps and bruises.

We all have a certain life-schooling that deepens us and educated our hearts.

Now, in my troisieme age, I speak from personal experience of profound cluelessness, with compassion for those who are going through a period of their lives that could be called the “education of the heart” period. I say, hold on, keep going through the fog. If you persist, if you start to listen to your animal instinct as well as your human intuitions, you’ll get there. This travail is not forever.

Especially if you are on the exacerbated sensitivity spectrum, you will learn how essential it is to pay attention to your own irrational energies. The coming to yourself is not an exercise in becoming practical, of adapting yourself to a crazy world. Just the opposite in fact.

The practice is in finding and affirming whatever you are, no matter what.

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