by Stephen Sondheim
Works of art revealing deeper truths related to the human condition can provide catharsis for both individuals and the collective. The psychological definition of catharsis is “a technique to relieve tension and anxiety by bringing repressed material to consciousness.” The process of individuation or Self-realization involves bringing shadow material from both the personal and collective unconscious into conscious awareness. However, to achieve full benefit from this process it must occur in a context or within a worldview that is profound and not filled with illusion. So we can conclude that the wonderful Sondheim musical Wicked has a cathartic (but limited) effect.
Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes and leap
Something has changed within me. The awakening process or paradigm shift occurs within, it is a “heartfelt” process and indeed, something is not the same.
I’m through with playing the rules. The “rules” of the old paradigm (P-B) have conditioned most of us to pursue plenty, pleasure and power. Choosing response instead of reaction we stop listening to the false self and stop the suffering created by the illusion of someone else’s game.
Too late for second-guessing. Once we experience the Great Insight of Oneness our identity is forever changed. By awakening to our True-self identity and the experience of equanimity we feel what it is like to be truly present to the joys of being fully alive, completely awake and it is then too late to go back to sleep.
It’s time to trust my instincts. We have learned to listen to our intuition rather than being guided by our intellect. We have learned through our own experience that we live in a friendly universe and that we need not fear expressing the beauty that is within us. It is indeed safe to close our eyes and leap.
References and notes are available for this essay.
Find a much more in-depth discussion on this blog and in printed books by Roy Charles Henry.