For a very long time I lived by the banal platitude that if you were depressed, you were living in the past; if you were anxious, you were living in the future; and if you were at peace, you were living in the present.
The mindfulness of conscious awareness and gratitude aside; I have learned: the past needs examining if you are to free yourself from it; if you want to forge a new dawn you must bring to light the unconscious myths and metaphors by which you blotted out the sun. The man who ignores his past risks being ruled by it and the man who loathes it, most surely is.
To quote Jung for the billionth and not final time: Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct our life and we will call it fate.
And where else does the unconscious lie but in the seeds of the past by which it was formed.
Through this alchemy of the past we turn suffering to freedom, and by the light emitted from unconscious wounds we see clearly and we become conscious.
I have used a lot of my time these past six months to reflect and look back on my past. And wisely was it spent, for I certainly would not have the clarity and peace I do had I used it otherwise.
Prior to the time spent in reflection, I looked inward, which, for all its inherent dangers, offers its own good: allowing you to search the dark for the God within.
I would compare this inward self-examination and exploration to a kind of diagnoses of one’s wounds, which, before being exposed, so long went ignored, only their symptoms surfacing. And so it is, the wound comes to light and it is ugly and painful.
And then, the wound being located and examined, we turn back to the past and after a personal archeology of its wrecks, we find there the evidence we so long ignored of the crimes we ourselves often committed against ourselves. Here, in the past, we slowly piece together how it all happened; we come to find out why we have done what we have done and why we felt the way we felt to make us do the things we did – the doing and the feeling connected and either through denial or self-deception made completely unconscious to us at the time. And finally, after putting it all together in the hours and months spent in silent rumination, we see ourselves not as victim, but culprit. Our guilt in the excuses, which – if we have been honest with ourselves – are no longer valid.
Thus, we heal in owning our bullshit and claiming our baggage; we take back the same raw material that once burdened us and it becomes the foundation for personal growth and the responsibility that entails. What once owned is now ours. Thus we begin anew, our relationship with ourselves made healthy by virtue of the newfound grace dug up from the graves of our past.
These proceeding ten paragraphs summing up the past six months in which I, in repair, set my heart right.
Today, June 27th, 2015, in my new relationship with myself, ghosts and all, I can now look to the future, a future I have been so diligently working toward, being cautious not to live in it before its time.
As I read in a book, which name I cannot recall, learn from the past, live in the present, and plan for the future.
[Edit: the book is called The Present]
By this maxim I have come to arrive at a time when the future of my design is soon arriving.
Twenty six days and I will again take up residence in LA, whole, as I never was before, with surety, security, confidence, and the Grace by whence it all came.
And so, being learned of my past, I go forward knowing I must think different; whereas in the past I would have exceeded my means and lived to impress others; I live now seeking to impress my soul before a G-d that has given me an opportunity to show Him, to show myself, that I am worthy of all I desire and capable of bearing the crown I aspire. It was under the Emperor Rome burned just as it was by my hand I fell, and by my hands I shall and do rise.
“What kind of life do you desire?”
The words of Alan Watts echo in my mind, their weight clear to me now, their meaning full. And in my own power as a Man, I can now answer this question with a straight face and an upright spine.
With great power comes great responsibility: this is the human condition; the power to build a legacy and the power to lay waste to one. For me the latter is done and the former resumes – but not where I left off, for the past now complete; the future is finally up to me.