From role to soul?

I suppose that to some people the theme of Connie Zweig’s book The Inner Work of Age: Shifting from Role to Soul will have no meaning. If we take the view that all life is on the surface, with no interiors, then what could inner work mean for the materialist? If we take what seems to me the sensible viewpoint, that we live in parallel interior and exterior worlds, and that through experience and inner exploration we can become more perfect beings, even align to what it is that led us to be born, then this book could have a lot of meaning for you.

Connie Zweig suggests that in the later part of life we have the opportunity to realise what our whole life process has been about, potentially becoming Elders and mentors for others. The process of building ego, that constituted the first part of life, evolves into a learning process, an uncovering of the strong ego that we built, to transcend its fundamental selfishness and in the light of our new understanding make a positive contribution aligned with our unique destiny.

This is, of course, aligned with the messages underlying transpersonal psychologies and all the world’s major religions and spiritual teachers, extensively quoted by Connie. She suggests that there are two major processes that we go through – psychological reconciliation with the Shadow (and, I would suggest, any traumas accumulated there), and the movement from dominance by ego to being led by our inner soul/spirit.

For me this was like a revision of many approaches to psychological and spiritual growth that I have become aware of over a lifetime,  and important reminders they are.

Becoming reconciled with our own failures and ultimate death are of course a part of this process – death being the great taboo in a surface-oriented culture, death being the end of ego.

Important to me was the emphasis on achieving wisdom, and moving towards the role of the wise Elder, and the importance of this role in society – a role forgotten in many countries including my own – where the upper house of Parliament is apparently misused to reward those giving money to Parties, rather than being the place for the most wise members of society to reflect on new developments.

An important book on an important subject, which is of course outside the current mainstream, but no less important for that.

The Devious Imp

Between the idea
And the reality
Between the motion
And the act
Falls the shadow.

TS Eliot, The Hollow Men

the_lincoln_impIn a previous post I talked about some of the glories of Lincoln Cathedral. The angel choir is one of its many magnificent features – an architectural hymn to the glory of God. If you explore the nether reaches of the ambulatory region around the west end of the choir you can find, there high up on a pillar, what is now known as the Lincoln Imp. At first you look and see nothing, the small imp dwarfed by the glorious surroundings. But then you see it nestling there in the angle of two arches, hiding in plain sight.

The imp was the ultimate reminder of the dangers of complacency – there in those beautiful and peaceful surroundings was a symbol of the devil that is always lurking, even when most unexpected. Psychologically, the devil is similar to CG Jung’s concept of the shadow, the unknown dark side of the personality.

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