“It Seemed the Better Way”

 

 

The unconscious is a “trickster,” the ultimate illusionist, navigating the demands of our inner and outer worlds, negotiating our strengths and limitations to impact our perception, our understanding, our choices.  Most of what we consciously know is sourced and bent from the shadows, casting figures in the “out there” of our world … representing unwanted vulnerability, contradictions, secrets, and fears…. the unknown.  Kept in the darkness or “out there,” we become the Sisyphean boulder, death itself, lost in futility and affliction without a will of our own, an aim outside of the command “repeat.” If we are lucky, we fall with adequate accessible consciousness in our surroundings and….wake up.

If you will, take a moment to really listen to the lyrics within the rhythm of Cohen’s music, his pitch, his tone …

Seemed the better way
When first I heard him speak
Now it’s much too late
To turn the other cheek

Sounded like the truth
Seemed the better way
Sounded like the truth
But it’s not the truth today

I wonder what it was
I wonder what it meant
First he touched on love
Then he touched on death

Sounded like the truth
Seemed the better way
Sounded like the truth
But it’s not the truth today

I better hold my tongue
I better take my place
Lift this glass of blood
Try to say the grace

Seemed the better way
When first I heard him speak
But now…

Cohen is inviting us….into the darkness, the unconscious.

A mass projection (illusion) is a presumption that we are already conscious, able to hold love, death, their opposites and all that is in between, all that is life.  We largely presume we are awake with free will, know what we are doing and where we are going.  When we actively check this presumption against the data it fails, over and over, across method and time.  The projection, nevertheless, thrives in personal and mass moral relativism and certainty, primal processes which find objectivity offensive, false, incomprehensible, wrong.  At times we may catch shimmering reflections of the boulder against our cheek, the summit, or perhaps experience the thunderous sound of the descent of our boulder to where we began a million times before.  Mirrors (people, memories, systems, facts), however, reflecting back too much unwanted truth are too often dismissed, thrown away or shattered …  out of necessity, until the tools are acquired.

The work of objectivity involves the stuff of patience, the capacity to suspend certainty while holding the tension of opposing energies.  We are not born with such a capacity, nor can we learn it by intellect alone through a book or academic study.  Our attention is easily redirected or confused, our pride wounded, our views narrowed by ignorance, our senses full or maxed out, our paradigm fused to the consciousness of our family of origin.  The basic and essential need for safety and control are well maintained by routine and habit that support what we know and keep at bay what we do not want to know.  The practice of building equanimity in the face of uncertainty, adversity, and change is the alternative path.

The song “It Seemed the Better Way” is from Cohen’s album You Want It Darker.  It goes against our grain to “want it darker,” like the solution to Chinese handcuffs.  It goes against our instincts that we gain life from loss, failure, sacrifice, and confrontations with our mortality.  Together and alone, each teaches us about surrender and grows our patience, understanding, humility, truthfulness, courage, and compassion.

Into the darkness…we find the questions…we break open to true light, love, and life.

Author: Kairos Spiritual Direction and Life Coaching

Rachel Magnell, Ph.D. is studied in Counseling Psychology, Neuroscience, Jungian Depth Psychology, Hypnosis, Yoga Philosophy and Meditation.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: