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Ambition versus Transcendence: The Challenge of Aging

After submitting a presenter's application form for a spirituality and aging conference, and sending my novel manuscript off for reader review, I dreamed I was stuck in total gridlock traffic at an intersection; every time the light changed and I tried to turn right across multiple lanes of traffic, I would be stuck. Later that night I dreamed of an underwater diver swimming under the hull of a Russian war ship with torpedoes to do something on its underside and return. After a few minutes of reflection and dream analysis, I realized that each car in that intersection represented an idea I had to squeeze into the application form's very limited spaces, and the ominous war ship represented my potential reactivity to the demands I was placing on myself to once again perform in the world, much as Putin reacts aggressively to real and imagined pressure from the West.

This got me thinking about the conflict between ambition - the ego's style throughout the middle years, and transcendence - the transformation of consciousness and release of ambition that I have been exploring, experiencing and writing about. I sense that this conflict is core to the aging process as we move across the threshold from ego-centered goals and reactivity to a consciousness free from thought, including the self-idea. Such irony: Hoping to share what I am discovering in my own evolving consciousness I trigger the ego's longstanding warrior pattern of quest, conquest and reactivity. And I see that we have to decide to follow the path of enlightenment even when it seems illogical, because any ambition, even for "good" things, means we are still caught in the flypaper of the World of Man, a path that again postpones divine consciousness.

What to do? How to be in the world without being of the world? What does it even mean to be in the world? I sense the answer lies in an awakened consciousness free of thought, a doorway that takes us directly into the divine. I remember the advice from Robert Johnson, the wonderful Jungian writer. He said that when you reach a crossroads in a dream, turn left. Right, he explained, reflects the ego's dominant "in control" posture; left takes us into the unconscious and a vast open awareness. In the dream, I did eventually turn left but only hoping to circle the block and head right after all. Truly turning left would have taken me into completely uncharted, unscripted, and unplanned territory - the realm of real transformation. If you know where you're going, you've already been there.

What is the answer here? The enlightened step, I sense, would be to let go of control and live in the present/Presence wherever I am, to dwell, in other words, in conscious being. Whatever happens on this path will have no entanglements as long as there are no attachments, expectations and goals. Just be. It's an amazing feeling.
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