Friday, April 04, 2014

Holding Opposites

My explorations won't end until they end.

In an unusually difficult Monday I discovered the extension of ``Mahan Method'' to decision-making set-ups with a long-term/commitment dimension, but that will be the topic of another post, or maybe not. In the ensuing discussions with my sister, my focus shifted to the issue of listening to diverse inner conversations (see, http://www.intervoiceonline.org), and then to the idea of holding opposite thoughts (see the last paragraph here: http://blog.ted.com/2014/01/08/the-science-of-willpower-kelly-mcgonigal-on-why-its-so-dang-hard-to-stick-to-a-resolution/). Then, I first acquainted myself with the ``cognitive dissonance'' (Wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance) and then Jung's idea on the tension of holding opposites (for example, http://jungiancenter.org/essay/jungs-challenge-us-holding-tension-opposites). Finally I got to the Kathleen A. Brehony's book, ``Awakening at Midlife,'' and the following paragraphs caught my attention, specially the idea of surrender. And the way I can make sense of surrender, to something inside, is using my own ``Mahan method'' of decision-making. Full circle, lol
Riptides occur when two opposing currents meet; it is a natural collision of opposites. These currents create a swirling action that forms channels. When a wave recedes, water rushes through that outgoing channel with great power and speed. …  riptides are to be respected because they can drag even the strongest swimmer out past the breakers in a heartbeat The natural Impulse is to swim as hard as you can back toward the shore. But when you are caught in a riptide this is the worst thing you can do. You cannot overpower this natural force. Even very competent swimmers drown by trying to fight the force of moving water that is taking them out to sea.

Instead. a riptide demands surrender. If you simply float, taking care only to keep your head above water, the riptide will take you out about fifteen hundred feet or so and only then can you begin to swim parallel to the shore and find your way back. We are used to being in control of our lives, but a riptide teaches that sometimes it is necessary to “go with the flow." Not knowing where you will end up and feeling helpless in the face of the power of forces that are much stronger than you are terrifying experiences. Surviving a riptide demands trust in your own ability to keep your head above the water and trust in the natural force of the event to take you only so far away from shore.

In the midlife passage it is necessary to trust in the integrity of your own inner process, the wisdom of the Self. and your own strength. As with a riptide, it is necessary to believe that the emerging intrapsychic forces will take you only so far from shore.

Jung called his own midlife transition an “encounter with the unconscious.” He wrote: “I frequently imagined a steep descent. I even made several attempts to get to the very bottom. The first time I reached, as it were, a depth of about a thousand feet; the next time I found myself at the edge of a cosmic abyss. It was like a voyage to the moon. or a descent into an empty space. First came the image of a crater, and I had the feeling that I was in the land of the dead. The atmosphere was that of the other world."
My understanding of holding opposites is different. In most significant situations in life, all options are possibilities (with possibly different probabilities, of being true). Everything is right, correct, possible under certain conditions. There is a possibility that I have lost my mind. It's possible that I am depressed. But it is also possible that I am finding myself and re-creating my identity. It's possible that I am reaching new and interesting conclusions. I cannot be sure. I may have a deep, hidden passion in life. Passion may also be a big lie. Everything is possible and it should not really bother us.

I cannot explain this any better. Maybe later I can, maybe not, lol

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