Before we move on, a couple more points on the last installment relating to concentration: why it works, how it works and why it’s hazardous.
It helps to think of the mind as a kind of ecology full of all kinds of conflicting impulses, beliefs, concepts, and emotional perspectives on things. This whole ecology is sustained more or less by the attention/energy you give it. In practice you can treat energy and attention as the same thing. In truth one follows the other so closely they might as well be the same.
Now attention has ( at least ) two aspects to it, and they can both be trained. Breadth and depth. Most of us have no problem with a extremely wide and diverse breadth of attention. We maintain views on the whole universe after all. Or we think we do anyway. Most of us have a lot less practice…
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We are not meant to be well-balanced, sober servants of collective values. We are not meant to be sane, safe or similar. We are, each of us, meant to be different. A proper course of therapy does not make us better adjusted; it makes us more eccentric, a unique individual who serves a larger project than that of the ego or the collective norms.
The shape and character of our vocation [which means, calling in Latin] may change at different developmental stages. We have not just one life, but many lives to live, and in the course of however long we are privileged to live, many tasks, many vocations.
Personality, or personhood as Jung might define it, is not found in adjustment to external expectations, but in serving one’s calling in the context of our environment. This may bring one to an individual experience of being ‘misjudged, derided, tortured, and crucified.’
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Like most people, you have ideals, have you not? And the ideal is not real, not factual; it is what should be, it is something in the future. Now, what I say is this: forget the ideal, and be aware of what you are. Do not pursue what should be, but understand what is. The understanding of what you actually are is far more important than the pursuit of what you should be. Why? Because, in understanding what you are, there begins a spontaneous process of transformation; whereas, in becoming what you think you should be, there is no change at all, but only a continuation of the same old thing in a different form. If the mind, seeing that it is stupid, tries to change its stupidity into intelligence, which is what should be, that is silly, it has no meaning, no reality; it is only the pursuit of…
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