“My view is that you do remember things that are really vital, but you forget much that isn't. At any rate, you remember the early things. And then there is, so to speak, a choice: you can either let that state, as people naturally do, become nostalgia, or even senility, or it's possible that those memories suddenly acquire an enormously enhanced meaning in the whole of your life; and you begin to see your life as a circle instead of a straight line.”
Helen Luke (“Then It Is Given to You;” A Conversation with Helen Luke; Parabola, Summer, 2016)
This Parabola interview on the wisdom of aging with Helen Luke, Jungian author and Analyst, was conducted in the 1990's. Luke died in 1995. She spoke about coming to full consciousness as a human being, and instead of seeing life as a straight line from birth to death, understanding it as a circle, a series of steps toward gaining that consciousness. Part of the process is being able to embrace all of one's life; instead of condemning parts of it as bad, and celebrating parts of it as good, seeing each aspect as vitally important to the whole.
She spoke of the need for compassion in using hindsight—compassion for others and for oneself. Instead of the passion one has in youth of wanting to save the world, one grows to simply love the world. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't support causes that we truly believe in, but with forgiveness and compassion rather than anger and aggression. There is a season for everything.
Luke's view from the perspective of age is that the polarities become balanced. We no longer bounce from anger to indifference, but find a place of genuine joy and love beyond desires and emotions, which includes all the opposites. That is why she says, “It is enormously important for the whole world that some individuals grow to a deep and full consciousness.”
This state of being, where life becomes a circle of compassion and acceptance, requires letting go of the desires of the ego. It is a lifelong undertaking, a soulful endeavor that leads to glimpses of ultimate reality—all is one, all is included, and all will be well.
In the Spirit,