Excerpt About Maturation

The Proverbial Midlife Crisis

In the work of self-realization, the first and most important part of working on the narcissistic constellation involves exposing the shell. This means realizing directly that what we take ourselves to be is not real, that it is an empty shell, a facade constructed from images and identifications. For most students in our work, this happens completely naturally, in the course of self-exploration. It is not necessary for the teacher to introduce or create these perceptions. Simply by exploring our continuing experience of ourselves and inquiring into its meaning and truth, we come to see that what we take to be our identity is actually an empty mental construct. One of the main ways a person arrives at this understanding is through maturation of the well-integrated self. Maturing through a life lived with a competent ego integrating one’s experience, we are likely to experience some relaxation of the defensive ego structures. With the relaxation of these structures, we may then become aware of a sense of emptiness and meaninglessness, a sense that our life is pointless. This may happen, for example, when we live our lives according to our ambitions and ideals and actually complete our inner program. We can then relax and we can afford to be flexible in our positions and attitudes. This entails letting go of some of our defensive positions. Also, accomplishing our goals may give us a sense of inner value and felt wisdom, but the deepening of this wisdom will eventually require a transformation of identity. Frequently, an individual who has arrived at this awareness through maturity becomes interested in the deeper aspects of existence and seeks answers in philosophy, religion, or spiritual practice. This natural process is frequently what begins the inner search, especially in a well integrated ego. It is the proverbial midlife crisis, although often, of course, the quest leads one to seek meaning in external life or activities.

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