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Vesuvius imagined, artist unknown

The meaning of Total Being expands as our experience of true nature reveals more and more of itself. Total Being can shift from being the totality of the individual to the total being of the whole universe to the mysterious total being beyond time and space. True nature allows us to perceive everything in a new light. We recognize that where we are in the moment is not other than anything else. Everything else is within us, and not only everything else but everything else at all other times and places. When we are not experiencing ourselves this way, then we are experiencing ourselves only as the individual and not the unilocal nature of the individual. It’s true that as an individual, we are in time and space. But we are also the true nature of the individual that interpenetrates all time and all space, bringing everything in time and space to one singular point.

A. H. Almaas, The Alchemy of Freedom

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— Eckhart Tolle

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It is fashionable today to bypass or surpass Freud for all sorts of reasons: sociological, feminist, scientistic. But one gift from Freud that we ought never neglect: his return to the sources of culture in Mediterranean myths, rooting psychology not in the brain or genetics or blind evolution but in the poetic basis of mind, whose imagination is structured by mythical configurations.

James Hillman

We are led into life by images. How we imagine life sets our course. It’s not easy to alter the way we envision things because we’re not paying attention to how we create the world we live in. We don’t normally question it. We take our mythologizing as real. The job of an analyst is to listen carefully and alert us to our fallacies. If we have bad luck, it’s probably traceable to the myths we unconsciously live by.

Even the idea that it all comes down to chemistry and that the right pharmaceutical will cure our problem is a mythical idea. And of course, it’s easier to take a pill than understand our mind. Chemical imbalances exist no doubt, but how humans imagine the world has immense power. Discovering one is living a personal myth without knowing it is an important piece of information about ourselves that could give us a better grip on things. Otherwise we are pushed and pulled by “fate.” Getting increased purchase on our life by insight is superior to chemical adjustments, in my opinion, and has the advantage of avoiding side effects.

Since the human society we live in is neurotic and blind, we who wish to be creative and healthy are faced with a task that goes well beyond becoming “well adjusted.” Being well adjusted to a sick society means staying sick ourselves. Threading this particular needle is a conundrum we are all faced with to a lesser or greater extent — how to have a real life in a world that just wants automatons.

Being creative in a world that threatens your survival will focus your mind on the basics of food and shelter. American society is living out a myth of survival of the fittest. A myth of cooperation would create a very different reality for millions of people. Unquestioned ideas and imaginary constructs have power. Our credence gives them the ability to make our lives harder than necessary on both the micro and macro levels.

Our education and upbringing reinforces these myths instead of deconstructing them. Our individual task is to question and dismantle them by whatever means we can locate. The hive-mind does not encourage this, but that’s to be expected.

We are offered an opportunity to give birth to ourselves as a deeper human being at this time. Those who are taking advantage of this opportunity are helping both themselves and the world.

Written by

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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