The Unfolding Self

Posted by on Sep 8, 2015 in PGST Reflections | No Comments

This gorgeous quote is from the novelist Jeanette Winterson’s brilliant new memoir.

“When I was born I became the visible corner of a folded map. The map has more than one route. More than one destination. The map that is the unfolding self is not exactly leading anywhere. The arrow that says YOU ARE HERE is your first coordinate.”

A large aspect of PGST is unearthing the unconscious Old Beliefs that have blocked us out of Action and locked us into Thought. Many of the Old Beliefs seem to take a very linear, prosaic flavor – “X must happen, and if it doesn’t then Y will happen!” Some examples of what our subconscious can often plug into this deadened formula are: “I must be incredibly successful in my career, and if I’m not, my life will have no meaning, value or depth!”, or, “I must avoid rejection at all costs or I will be destroyed!” These unconscious viruses lead not to Winterson’s artful and transcendent observation of “when I was born I became the visible corner of a folded map” with “more than one destination” but, rather spur the malicious lie that we are born with a series of facile, fascistic marching orders that must be fulfilled or despair shall reign eternal.

The idea of the self as an unfolding map “that is not exactly leading anywhere” is one that rings, to me, of a great and resonant truth. In PGST, as we create and move toward our Super Objectives (the large goals that we feel intensely, from a place of great depth, called to do), we keep in mind that the Super Objectives are not the END – the magical land where we will finally achieve worth, freedom and a sexy, super-abundant sweetness – but rather a MEANS to the next level of numinous unfolding. I often compare the Super Objectives to the chisel of a master sculptor. It is said that Michelangelo did not see a sculpture in his mind’s eye before beginning his work, but rather, the creation would reveal itself WITHIN the act of creation. The Super Objectives are just so. In the process of imperfectly moving toward them, not achieving them, another layer of the self, and therefore, untold riches of meaning and depth, unfolds.

“The arrow that says YOU ARE HERE is your first coordinate” – this, from my point of view, is not some trussed up poetic bromide, but the key to unlock the process of the unfolding self. A common trap when calculating how to move our life forward is becoming lost in the fantasy that we are missing something needed. “If only I wasn’t weighed down with this crappy job and massive debt, I could really do something with my life! But until then, I’m f*@#ed!!!” It is very easy, and extremely human, to fall into this sloth dampened and self-hating line of thought, but experience has shown me that YOU ARE HERE is, indeed, always the “first coordinate. The solution. For no matter what the perceived problem, accepting our only reference point is right here, right now, and our current, actual situation – as it is, is the only gateway to a reality-based solution. To live in the solution via direct engagement with the problem/obstacle is the only workable path toward unlocking our human birthright: an existence based in an unyielding sense of self worth and ever deepening meaning.

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