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It is the Heart that will Save the World

I remember James Hillman, the Jungian writer/analyst, speaking at a Mendocino Men's Gathering about the coming of age. He said that a young man, like a conqueror of old, travels out into the world of man, sending his troops far and wide to conquer vast swaths of life. But an aging man recalls his troops, withdrawing his great reach to settle into a smaller and more personal realm of acceptance, memory, reflection, consolidation and love. In other words, he comes home. His life is no longer about crusades and quests, it is about quiet and depth, silence and awakening, and seeing clearly with inner sight.

While the "young old," healthy and mobile, may still conquer new worlds, the sands of time run down for all, and age, with its physical aches, pains, and limitations, eventually becomes our home. In the winter of life, we find new purposes: it is time for soul and spirit, reminiscence and gratitude, family and love. Now we are not here to save the world, we are here to love it. In this natural transformation of ego to soul ripens the new human, relieved of the burdens of instinctual competition and aggression, free at last to open the heart. It is the heart that will save the world.

In this new consciousness, love replaces ego and time stands still in moments of belonging to the world just as it is, loving what we ignored for so long, what we missed on the road to "greatness." "Getting old, getting wise, waking up, seeing world with new eyes, coming back, to our self and our life, coming home" - words to a song that wrote itself a few years ago. Now the aging hero steps off his thrown and plays on the floor with his grandchildren, dirties his hands in the garden, and takes care of his aging partner, with immense gratitude for his life.
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