Conversations 2 on Aging & Becoming
This is a follow on from Susan Schwartz and my responses on redd.it/5u8b13 on ‘ask me anything’ on 22nd Feb. The questions and our responses are again abbreviated. Last week’s post says a bit about our book “Aging & Becoming ~ A Reflective Enquiry”. In that post I put up a selection of come of the questions. What follows are some further questions and responses –
Q: ... the evolution of mind now appears no longer as a process of the adaptation of species to their environment but as the adaptation of minds to increasingly complex forms that exist in the cosmic potentiality. The cosmic connection means that the human mind is a mystical mind?
A: Jung addressed the mystical traditions in its many forms throughout history. We could say that this resides in the collective conscious and unconscious. The connections remain between mind, body and spirit. It is different eras and people that put different spins on them. This is like contemplating aging – it will look differently depending on where you stand personally and culturally. We address expansion out of narrow ideas into broader perspectives on the aging process. Perhaps this is also a way of addressing the evolutionary process. Jung addressed this with the process of individuation or becoming all we are meant to be. That is surely a lifelong task.
Q: How do I stop myself from feeling the existential angst of being 29? Do I feel anxious because of a primal desire to have children or am I scared that my 20’s have been squandered? Or both?
A: I think it may be both. What you feel is also part of being an aware person who values the inner world and is not taking life lightly. The primal desires also relate to one’s own creative self and how that will be manifest. It comes not only through children but through the effort into discovering through life what it is to be you and what you have to offer to the world.
Q: Hello Susan & Susan, this may seem like a strange question, but what do you do with the fear that time and energy will run out before you complete the inner work you want to do? … I’ve been on a helluva inner journey and I’d emerge from the cocoon as a new person, but everything inside me just collapsed. Something in me has been broken ever since. … I don’t know how I can ever have the time and create the space for the delicate inner work I feel like I need to do …. Let’s face it, that inner work is sometimes brutally challenging …
A: The thing inside that collapsed is calling. It wants you to look inward deeply and find the broken, and put the pieces together. You may think about analysis as a way inward with the serious depth and dedication that your message implies that you have. Aging & Becoming is about that, but the personal work is at hand for you – a blessing and a burden both …
Q: Susan, what if I know little (nothing) about Jung? Will I still understand this book?
A: ...Our book is about life – and death – and everything in between – all that is applicable to us, now and then and in the future –
A: The book is about knowing oneself and reflecting on life … easy to understand concepts .. we are speaking about openings to oneself.
Q: My question is on the cultural side … are your results global? Did you consider the cultural differences between ethnic groups? For example, Japanese do not have problems with aging .. a healthy respect and honor (is) awarded to them because of their age. … also in African-American in the Deep South. They see aging as an honor and they grow old gracefully. So was your sample mixed? Or did you limit it to a certain group of people?
A: … we write about how the elderly are often marginalised in western societies and the sadness of that compared to the attitude of reverence towards the aged of other communities and societies…. We write mostly from our own perspective and experience of aging.
A: Each culture learns from the other. We had to limit ourselves to what we knew and felt. It is an Enquiry providing thoughts, feelings but not all the answers by any means…
Q: I am shocked by what I have allowed to occur in my life. Always positive, illnesses, a couple serious, have taken me from feeling young to resigning to old age. I know it’s my mindset and I simply want my active life back. At 75, I’m giving into old age and my health has been keeping me in this dismal thought pattern. … Even my spiritual attitudes have failed me. I’m not that old yet! Do you have any suggestions?
A: I see many people for inner work who are 75 and older. The witnessing with another, the life review and the reclaiming of energy and spirit happens in this interior focus. Age makes one able for it. Movement in whatever form physically, good self care and care of the self are also important. Mind, body & soul all go together in figuring it out
A: … Life is pretty harrowing much of the time and even harder when there are health issues. Life is a mixture of depth and darkness, height and light – and it is always a learning curve.
To end, a quote by Marie Curie:
Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and that this must be attained.
Thank you for reading!