In Panama for a week in April, I had "seen" things that I couldn't understand... many, mundane... but I had glimpses of an extraordinary connectedness that went beyond words... for the last few days of the trip, I also lived a life I had dreamed about as a child, but had forgotten.
Returning home through Miami, the experience became even more miraculous. And, I began to disassociate with reality. Suffering from sleep deprivation and starvation, the degree of chemical imbalance was becoming extreme. But I loved every moment... mostly.
Recovery from that period took several years. Understanding that experience has taken decades.
Over the last seven years, I have finally begun to integrate the physical and the meta-physical... the experience with the imagination... and the truth with the delusions.
Over the past two or three (or seven, or 29) years, I've discovered that many of the truths I've "discovered" have been known by others all along.
For example: Last year, I encountered deeper insight into my perpetual question to myself and others, "What do you want?"
In https://youtu.be/VYJp813tGH4?t=18m33s through 19:01: “The question is: “What do you mean by ‘actually want?’”
...I've learned... sometimes, the hard way. Awakening comes in many forms -- but I can say from experience that when it comes to awakening, "the hard way" can be VERY hard.
Extraordinary experiences of several varieties may yield variants of the “PTSD” experience. For those finding themselves on this path, part of the recovery process involves building a larger understanding, and re-establishing a balance between the extraordinary aspects of metaphysical realities, and the mundane realities of every day life.
Digging a layer deeper -- a consequence of extraordinary experiences (those that result in PTSD) is the disruption of the framework of values, and the goals which depend on those values. Rebuilding a frame of reference that allows one to pursue valued goals is central to recovery.
In https://youtu.be/VYJp813tGH4?t=22m55s through 26:10 Peterson offers insight into a strategy for building a vision for life, concluding: “Better have a valued goal, or you can’t get any positive emotion.”
The team at Boulder Crest has redefined the perspective on PTSD by considering “disorder” to be a fundamentally wrong attitude toward the experience. Their attitude aligns perfectly with my lessons-learned over the last three decades. They define, instead, the need for "Post Traumatic Growth;" recognizing, in their particular domain, that the skills and experience developed in combat demand growth. Rather than seeking to "fix a disorder" their program is oriented toward seeking to rebuild a renewed sense of the purpose for life, organizing thinking around the emotional, physical, spiritual, and financial wellbeing of the participants that come through their programs. https://youtu.be/Ag7CDNnfQc0
For now, their program is limited to a very select few. But the skills the teams teach are invaluable to us all, regardless of our experience. We all need to deeply understand our purpose, and to build a framework in our lives to move forward effectively. For most of us, this process is ad hoc at best. For the vast majority of the world, this isn't even "a thing."
Furthermore, to do this well, requires a deep understanding of "how things work" -- or, as Peterson put it, it's necessary to “do a structural analysis of the subcomponents of human existence.”
Since the '90s, I've been formulating my life goals, aiming to organize my thinking around what I want out of life. In 2006, I was inspired by Ted Leonsis's blog to expand the scope of my thinking. But this year, I've finally begun to encounter the state-of-the-art in thinking about the future. For example:
I know there are thousands of self-help books. And, I've heard of many that are oriented toward purpose, goals and finding direction in life. But, off hand, I don't believe I've read any that I'd recommend. ...I've been winging it!