This post is formatted to reflect an original journal entry.
A brisk and sunny Saturday, and I am reflecting on the importance of habits. Habits and how they either aid or hinder us in the pursuit of becoming. A thought: you don’t have to try nearly as hard when your habits are good. What the existentialists/humanists call “alignment,” and what Carl Rogers refers to as “congruence”: being aware of our feelings, living in accord with them, and communicating them as genuinely as possible. Harmony. Fluidity. Effortlessness. I ask myself if my habits are not, in fact, the single most powerful language through which I communicate with myself. The things we do habitually tell us who we are. They can either bring us closer to ourselves—closer to a kind of integrated, inner-directed approach to living—or help maintain discord. A fragmented, ego-centered kind of perception. Nietzsche, too, wrote about this.
And I’ve noticed several things happen: 1.) The more I act in accord with my feelings (as I said I intended to in Faux), the more I begin to notice discreet, even mindless—or, especially mindless—habits in other areas of life that are affecting my well-being. As if a proverbial lightbulb flickers on and illuminates a number of incongruities to which I had previously been somewhat blind. Because I familiarize myself with the harmony of alignment and desire it in all spheres of my life. When I adopt good habits, I find it is much easier to take responsibility for my decisions. A more transparent kind of living. 2.) I discover it is impossible for me to “become” myself if I only satisfy those inner impulses that meet the criteria of the should’s. That align with social standards, that please those who are important to me, or that I can justify by my rational mind. This is not inner-directed living. Which I am beginning to understand is, for me, an entirely intuitive pursuit.
The intuitive speaks. At least, to some of us. To be sure, my intuition has been advising me all along. At issue is only ever my willingness to heed its guidance. (As a side note, it often feels natural to me to view my inner impulses as being driven by either a life or death instinct—Eros and Thanatos—as Freud would.) 3.) I have the distinct impression that I am in the process of rediscovering what I already knew. Of returning to myself.
Indeed, the more I reflect on this process in conjunction with my readings of Jung and, surprisingly, my forays into psychedelia, the more I am convinced that becoming oneself requires certain gestures of regression in order to move forward. That it is, in many aspects, a rediscovery. A reigniting of former passions, a return to a simpler, more creative, often more childlike form of perception, and perhaps most importantly, the recognition of a former intuitive knowledge of who one is. Which includes how one ought to live. At the outset of this project, I hadn’t considered that I was truly on a quest for archaic knowledge. That to find meaning, or to rediscover myself, was also to create a cosmos. To, as Octavio Paz says, attempt to recapture a “time before time,” as it is reflected in my own consciousness.
But none of these ideas are new. And none of it’s all that new to me either. But I feel as if I’m looking at it all with new eyes now. That’s the difference. Engaging with ideas to which I was formerly introduced with a vastly different perspective. Re-arrangements. And all motivated differently. I need to learn it now because it’s in my bones. It’s who I am. And if anyone had tried to tell me all of this previously, I wouldn’t have listened. It was necessary that I learn it myself. The struggle is part of the triumph. In fact, it’s the best part.