Are you asking good questions?
As I join many friends, one of my sisters and my entire born-in-1952 cohort in exploring the 70s, I find myself re-reading a favorite book by James Hollis, On This Journey We Call Our Life: Living the Questions. Man! This is some book.
Hollis is a Jungian psychoanalyst and has written 18 books. Jungian, of course, refers to Carl Jung, the Swiss psychologist who was a contemporary of Freud in the early days of identifying and exploring mental health. Both men had an interest in the inner life, but they diverged in their ideas as each matured. Both men were vastly influential in 20th and 21st century thinking about and treatment of mental health. If you’ve ever used or heard the term “neurotic,” you can thank Freud. If you’ve ever had a Myers-Briggs evaluation, you can thank (or not thank) Jung (sorta). Have you heard of the collective unconscious? Jung. An Oedipus complex? Freud. Has some of their work been debunked or discredited over the past 100 years? Yes. Did they both break new ground that’s still being explored, examined, widened and deepened? Absolutely!
But back to Hollis and living the questions – and me in my 70s and you wherever you are in your life. Because any time is a good time to examine your life and ask yourself some tough questions about the journey you are navigating. For instance, from Hollis’s website, I derived these thought-provoking items:
Who am I, apart from my history and the roles I have played?
Life is not a problem to be solved but an experiment to be lived.
The best thing we can do for our relationships with others, and with the transcendent, then, is to render our relationship to ourselves more conscious.
What is the world asking of me? What, now, does the soul ask of me?
Why, even when things are going well, do things not feel quite right?
The second half of life isn't about looking for easy answers…It's about honestly exploring the questions that bring richness and value to your life.
No matter where you are in your life, it’s good to ask yourself the hard questions. It’s not easy work and answering them requires a genuine commitment to your own growth. But, I submit, doing that work gives your life meaning. And a meaningful life is something we all strive for. At least, I think so.
As for consciousness itself, as Carl Jung once said, “The reason why consciousness exists, and why there is an urge to widen and deepen it, is very simple: without consciousness things go less well.” May things go well for you.
For those who may be interested, I am offering two limited-enrollment, five-week Lectio 360 workshops beginning in mid-October. If you’d like to know more, please click here and scroll down to Workshops Fall 2022.
Peace and love to you in the week ahead.