The past two weeks have found me faced with both puzzling and inspiring encounters, reflective I feel, of exactly where I find myself in life. As I reflect on these happenings, I am met with both the challenge and the opportunity to revision my place in the world, and to understand what it means to be standing at a different vantage point in life.
First, a talk by Justin Trudeau last week challenged me and my experience of youth today. I found myself vacillating between his voiced appreciation for their capacity to affect change while simultaneously feeling profoundly impacted by a wirnessed trend to disconnect from meaningful forms of relating. I felt myself summoning up visions of “We Day” celebrations, marvelling at this unfolding phenomenon while concurrently reflecting on the challenge to be “known” amidst the competing forces of digital devices. It would seem that social media serves not only to connect and unite, but also to instil face to face invisibility as a by-product of such immersion, and I struggle to know how to be with this trend.
Contrast this with an interview on CBC radio’s “Q” where the story was not one of “checking out” but rather of “checking in”…where the fast paced and impersonal digital reality is relinquished in favour of the slow paced journey of self-discovery. Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez – the subjects of this interview - spoke eloquently of their latest film project entitled “The Way” – a creative enterprise that speaks to the “tapping into the centre of one’s being” that takes place as both the motivation and the by-product of pilgrimage. In this instance, the journey is the El Camino in Spain. I felt mesmerized by their exploration of this topic…connecting deeply to the yearning for transcendence described.
Yet, as I write this, I realize how self-absorbing both perspectives can be. Whether engrossed in the digital world of social media or engaged inwardly, both speak to the needs of the self. The difference is the direction that each takes and the motivation for each course of action. One supports ego. One transcends it, thereby supporting Jung’s view that we spend the first half of life developing a strong ego, and the second half of life, transcending it.
I am at a different vantage point now than I was in my youth. Although still influenced by ego, I have a desire now to slow down, to look inward, and to “tap into the centre of my being”. I yearn for deep connection with my Self and through this journey, to come to know and see others as they be in the world. My vantage point is shifting and as it does, I adjust my vision to see more clearly. Perhaps this is my pilgrimage.