I recently watched a documentary called ‘Reincarnation’ that followed Snoop Dogg, who now calls himself Snoop Lion, on a one month journey of self-discovery and growth in Jamaica. There he hoped to make a reggae album where the main content of his lyrics would be about positivity, growth, and rising above the struggle. In the movie we see Snoop taking time to reflect upon his own journey and his conscious decision to self-actualize into a person of positivity, a person he believes he has always been deep down.
I was thinking while watching the documentary about how our human growth is often stunted by difficult environmental factors. The life choices we make and how we see the world become directly tied to stressors and conflict, and in these cases it can keep our true natures from coming out. In psychoanalytic terms we would call the personality structure that develops neurotic, and what this really means is inflexible. Behavior patterns and thought processes start to crystallize because thinking and acting in these ways seems necessary for emotional and sometimes even physical survival. What starts as a completely natural reaction to a hostile situation becomes an unnatural reaction to non-hostile situations, and ends up causing a lot of problems in relationships and general functioning.
In a sense then a major part of human growth is learning to be more flexible in thought and behavior patterns. When we are open to thinking from many different perspectives and behaving differently based upon the uniqueness of a situation our true Self can start to show its face and we can start to set the actual conditions that are most conducive to our growth and self-actualization. I believe that the vast majority of human beings, when environmental conditions are conducive to letting their true natures burst forth, are concerned with positivity and growth, deeper and more meaningful human connections, and personally meaningful work. They feel joy in the wonder of being alive and ultimately gratitude at the chance to experience the world as the most intelligent creatures on planet earth.
If you are going through conflict or struggle now you can mindfully bring your anxiety into conscious awareness and start to consider what you need to do to create the conditions that are most optimal for your own growth. Different people need different environmental conditions, and whatever society or those around you have told you is optimal, you have a deep wisdom that knows what your personal conditions need to be. No matter how long you have been walking your current path, it’s never too late to decide that it is really not yours and that you have to change your practice of living.