jusummerhayes

It's not about me

"HILLMAN: To the Gods. I feel that these things occur, and they are what the psyche wants or sends me. What the Gods send me. There’s a lovely passage from Marcus Aurelius: “What I do I do always with the community in mind. What happens to me, what befalls me, comes from the Gods.” And befall is a very important word, because that’s where the word case comes from: cadere, to fall. And in German the word for a case is fall. So what falls on you is what happens to you, is the origins of the Greek word pathos too—what drops on you, what wounds you, what happens to you, what falls on you, how you fall, the way the dice fall." — James Hillman, We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy (pp. 35-36) (my emphasis)

I've quoted the entire passage from James Hillman's book, and for a moment (if you don't mind) pause to consider its accuracy to your life.

Or at least that's what I did and am still doing, alongside the audiobook that I'm listening to (it was free on Audible), namely, The Unlikely Peace at Cuchumaquic: The Parallel Lives of People as Plants: Keeping the Seeds Alive by Martín Prechtel.

Gods, what Gods I hear you say?

The ones that live in your bones, your spirit self and, most especially of all, your ancestry.

You see, I don't believe it's an accident we're here, and more than that our purpose, as empty as it might sometimes feel, is already marked out for us.

Does that make me a fatalist?

No, not really but as I've grown into the wineskin of my agedness, I do feel something well beyond the ken of my 20th-century, neoliberal upbringing that makes me realise I've lived such a small life culturally, spiritually and in a village-minded way.

Am I making any sense?

Possibly not.

But then again, if you read around what Hillman is saying, we too often try to process our lives in order to ease the pain or find some usefulness in our trauma. Instead, and this is doing the book a great disservice, we need to hold and live in the pain and see that as something that makes us alive. 

More than that, life is a contradiction between what we think we know and how it is. In many ways, certainly from a Western perspective, everything is too linear, too ordered and we don't like to think that perhaps there are Gods (of the world and beyond) that have us in their gaze. 

If you think this feels hopelessly abstract or, worse still, off the woo-woo scale, I wouldn't blame you but all I know is that the world doesn't revolve around me and my solipsistic ways but instead, we're all, whether we like it or not (even allowing for our peccadillos), connected at the deepest level, and if only we saw that instead of going to war — literally and metaphorically — with our inner self and more especially the local, national and world community.

I understand that a lot of people, particularly with a monotheistic affiliation, will think the idea of Gods a blasphemous way of seeing the world but then again, given how long we've been around on this planet and how much we did rely and still do on the soil, water and sun, it's not too a big leap to think that perhaps it's not quite as straightforward as we were told.

Anyhow, it's over and out for now. Tis Sunday — a day of rest — and I'm off to do, well, as little as possible.

Much love,

— Ju

Photo by Chrissa Giannakoudi on Unsplash

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