Dan Riley [00:00:38]:
Jim Hollis, it is wonderful to see you again. Thank you so much. It's an honor to get some of your time. Welcome back to the show.

Dan Riley [00:00:44]:
It's good to see you, man.

James Hollis [00:00:45]:
Well, thank you.

James Hollis [00:00:46]:
It's privileged to be here. And thank you for inviting me again.

Dan Riley [00:00:49]:
My pleasure.

Dan Riley [00:00:50]:
I thought I would start with a quote from your book, which is going to be the primary subject of today's conversation. And you begin the book by saying, quote, the book is based on asking.

Dan Riley [00:01:02]:
Questions that really matter in our lives.

Dan Riley [00:01:05]:
Because I believe large questions get us.

Dan Riley [00:01:07]:
A larger life, a life that takes us to places that engage the mind, spirit, and soul. And I thought I would start by.

Dan Riley [00:01:16]:
Setting the table with that quote and.

Dan Riley [00:01:19]:
Asking you in a little bit more.

Dan Riley [00:01:20]:
Detail, where does this book come from? I know you're up to close to 20 at this point.

Dan Riley [00:01:24]:
What's the background story on this specific book?

James Hollis [00:01:27]:
Well, that book is a collection of essays. And by the way, there is another book that I was just poofing. It is number 20. So it's like, who's counting, right? As my daughter said, haven't you run out of things to say yet? I kept getting close to it. I'm getting close to it. But that specific quote, I think when I was young, as I think we all were, we assumed that there were probably fixed answers to life's biggest questions. And if we can read the right book, take the right class, or find the right guru or whomever, they would tell us what the secrets were. You see, well, once you grow up, you realize there are a bunch of people running around who have no clue as to what's going on.

James Hollis [00:02:12]:
Half of them are politicians, of course. And the unexamined life plays out daily in marriages, in parenting and civic duties and so forth. So large questions mean that you're taking on something that's probably never going to be solved, but you grow by doing it. Small questions in the long run, lead you to a small life in the sense in which it's about safety or ratifying the belief systems that you already have, rather than engaging the otherness of life, which is the process through which we all grow. Just to add one piece of that, in the book, the Eden Project, which is about the psychodynamics of relationship, I.

James Hollis [00:02:56]:
Said, ultimately, while there's a part of.

James Hollis [00:02:59]:
Us that's looking for someone who's going to take care of us and fix us and spare us from having to grow up and deal with it ourselves, what relationship actually offers us, ultimately, is their otherness.

James Hollis [00:03:13]:
The otherness of the other is something.

James Hollis [00:03:16]:
That one needs to take in and include within yourself, and you grow larger that way. So the same is true with the questions that are large in life. What is it that pushes you to discovery? What is it that pushes you to new understandings of self and world? And frankly, I think it leads to a more interesting life, ultimately.

James Hollis [00:03:41]:
I mean, what if there were a.

James Hollis [00:03:43]:
Book that had all the answers you.

James Hollis [00:03:44]:
Ever wanted, read it, memorize it, then.

James Hollis [00:03:48]:
What are you going to do? Right. What are you going to do? It's kind of like there was an elderly lady who was in my neighborhood who, when I was a child, I was probably five or six, and she would say, sometimes she would taught her by, she'd say, come walk with me. And I would walk with her all the time. And she'd know, Jimmy, soon I'm going to those golden streets in know, and I'm going to be walking those golden streets. And then, of course, she passed away. And I remember thinking of at the time, all right, after you've walked the golden streets, what are you going to do?

James Hollis [00:04:23]:

James Hollis [00:04:23]:
Where do you go from there? And I don't mean in any way to diminish her view. I sincerely hope she found those golden streets. But what if you had the secret of life? And then is your life to be circumscribed by that? Or do you find the thing that really tells you secrets about secrets?

James Hollis [00:04:47]:
I think I've made that point, yeah.

Dan Riley [00:04:50]:
The book which I have found in your work in general, to me, is it's a great prompt for deepening one's life and asking these larger questions.

Dan Riley [00:05:00]:
And I thought that one of the.

Dan Riley [00:05:02]:
Things that might be interesting to listeners and to viewers, and I mentioned this when I reached out to you a couple of weeks ago, that our original conversation is one of the most popular.

Dan Riley [00:05:11]:
Interviews I've ever done on the show.

Dan Riley [00:05:13]:
Is break down this conversation by a few of the themes that you talk.

Dan Riley [00:05:17]:
About in the book.

Dan Riley [00:05:18]:
That I thought might be interesting to people. And the one which I know you've written about before, but you clarify in some ways in this book is the.

Dan Riley [00:05:27]:
Concept of the Shadow, which has a.

Dan Riley [00:05:29]:
Lot of, I think, resonance in our culture and is becoming even more a subject of curiosity among people.

Dan Riley [00:05:37]:
And I thought I would read two.

Dan Riley [00:05:39]:
Quotes from you about the shadow and then allow you to add anything you.

Dan Riley [00:05:43]:
Might like to contribute, which is, here's the first quote, which is from you, from the book.

Dan Riley [00:05:48]:
Quote, probably the simplest thing that Jung ever said about the shadow was simply that it is what we do not wish to be.

Dan Riley [00:05:56]:
And the second one is quote, probably.

Dan Riley [00:05:58]:
The wisest thing ever said about the.

Dan Riley [00:06:01]:
Shadow was uttered by the roman african playwright Terence, who a little over 2000 years ago said, and I love this line, nothing human is alien to me.

Dan Riley [00:06:11]:
Again, I am the carrier of the whole human project. In each of us, then, is the.

Dan Riley [00:06:17]:
Liar, the lecturer, the thief, the criminal, the murderer, and shockingly, maybe even the saint as well.

James Hollis [00:06:27]:
Well, I resemble those remarks as that Archie bunker used to. You know, the shadow represents those aspects of ourselves or of our affiliations, such as civic organizations, religious groups, national groups.

James Hollis [00:06:43]:
Whatever those elements which, when we make.

James Hollis [00:06:46]:
Them conscious, we find are contradictory to.

James Hollis [00:06:49]:
Our intended values and or ask of.

James Hollis [00:06:54]:
Us certain things that violate something deep within. You know, the shadow, again, is our human capacity, frankly, for making a mess of things. If you put two human beings on a desert island, they'll build some structures.

James Hollis [00:07:11]:
And then they'll make a mess of it.

James Hollis [00:07:13]:
I have a close friend, Arya Maidenbaum, and he told me this story about a rabbi who was on a sailing ship and the ship went down when it hit some rocks. And so he was on this island for years. I'm giving you the short version here. And he built a whole city. He had nothing else to do with his time. He built a whole city. And after 2025 years, a ship finally comes close enough to see his SOS sign that he's posted there. And the captain comes ashore and he.

James Hollis [00:07:41]:
Says, this is all remarkable.

James Hollis [00:07:44]:
He said, I just think this is marvelous.

James Hollis [00:07:45]:
You've created a whole world here.

James Hollis [00:07:48]:
But one thing that puzzles me, he said, there's one of you and you.

James Hollis [00:07:51]:
Put two synagogues there.

James Hollis [00:07:53]:
And why is that? And he said, well, there had to be one synagogue where I just wouldn't.

James Hollis [00:07:58]:
Dare cross their door. And that's the shadow. You see, the shadow represents those aspects of ourselves.

James Hollis [00:08:08]:
Does a person want to be parochial, fearful of others? Does a person wish to acknowledge their greediness? Do they really want to examine how many of their decisions are coming out of the four year old or the six year old inside of them? We're swimming in shadow material on a constant basis.

Dan Riley [00:08:31]:
And for people that hear that response.

Dan Riley [00:08:34]:
And are scared by it because it doesn't come naturally to want to look.

Dan Riley [00:08:39]:
At those repressed or darker aspects of their personality, what would be your response.

Dan Riley [00:08:46]:
As to where the wisdom lies in.

Dan Riley [00:08:49]:
Doing that kind of shadow work?

James Hollis [00:08:52]:
Well, what it means is if I don't take that seriously and examine it myself, my shadow is still working its way out through my life, and it'll affect my children, my know, colleagues at work, et cetera, wherever it doesn't go away. As Jung said, the greater the light, the longer the shadow. So where I'm in denial, then I am in some way at the mercy of what's still operating in the world through me. And therefore, if I'm going to be a thoughtful, conscious, even ethical being, I have to constantly be looking at my own backyard here and say, what is it I need to address? What do I need to clean up? And so forth? In a talk that Jung gave in 1937 at Yale, he said, if you could imagine a person strong enough to deal with the shadow and to own it and to wrestle with it, he said, that person has, on the one hand, a new problem to deal with. He can no longer blame somebody else because he understands it starts at home here. But secondly, he's done something wonderful for family and for country by removing from the collective experience some small part of their own shadow. In other words, the best thing you can do, and I alluded to this.

James Hollis [00:10:11]:
Before, is clean up your own backyard.

James Hollis [00:10:14]:
When you do that, that's a civic.

James Hollis [00:10:17]:
Achievement that's helping the world that we live in. So underneath all of this is the.

James Hollis [00:10:26]:
Question, how am I to live my life consciously and ethically in the face of circumstances perhaps over which I have no control? And that's a daunting question, but it will come up in various ways throughout.

James Hollis [00:10:39]:
The course of our life.

Dan Riley [00:10:42]:
There's another section to the book, or.

Dan Riley [00:10:45]:
I guess, a theme in the book.

Dan Riley [00:10:46]:
That I wanted to bring up, and.

Dan Riley [00:10:49]:
You use a word in the book.

Dan Riley [00:10:50]:
Which I didn't hear a lot when.

Dan Riley [00:10:52]:
I was a kid and learned, I.

Dan Riley [00:10:55]:
Think, in my late 20s, which is the word numinous.

Dan Riley [00:10:58]:
And in the first conversation that we had, and I was reviewing that last night, we were discussing religion and religiosity, and I made this offhanded comment to.

Dan Riley [00:11:08]:
You that when I was young, I.

Dan Riley [00:11:11]:
Was a religious person.

Dan Riley [00:11:12]:
I was raised catholic, and then left religion. And you retorted by saying, I would argue if you are spending part of.

Dan Riley [00:11:20]:
Your life and you are a person.

Dan Riley [00:11:22]:
Who is concerned with ultimate questions, you are a religious person by a certain definition. And I've always loved the word numinous.

Dan Riley [00:11:32]:
And you give more clarity to that.

Dan Riley [00:11:34]:
Word in the book.

Dan Riley [00:11:35]:
And I thought I would read a couple of passages that you give about that word, and then I'd love to give it to you to take away. And this is the root of the word you say, quote, the word numinous.

Dan Riley [00:11:47]:
Comes from a latin verb that means to beckon or be summoned.

Dan Riley [00:11:52]:
So we don't create numinosity. It's something that calls us, that speaks.

Dan Riley [00:11:57]:
To us, that catalyzes an autonomous response within us.

Dan Riley [00:12:02]:
Relatedly, and I've heard you use this quote before, I think you refer to.

Dan Riley [00:12:05]:
It as a homie statement by young.

Dan Riley [00:12:08]:
Where he had said, quote, we all.

Dan Riley [00:12:10]:
Walk in shoes too small for us. You later say, quote, as young often.

Dan Riley [00:12:15]:
Mentioned, most of our troubles come when.

Dan Riley [00:12:17]:
We have lost contact with our guiding instincts, that energy within us that's in.

Dan Riley [00:12:22]:
Service to becoming who we are in the world. And then finally, quote, your vocation is.

Dan Riley [00:12:28]:
Really not about a job per se.

Dan Riley [00:12:31]:
It's about what is truly worthy of.

Dan Riley [00:12:34]:
Your commitment, your service.

Dan Riley [00:12:36]:
The calling itself is a mystery that.

Dan Riley [00:12:39]:
Comes from someplace deep within the soul. Inspiration. The word inspire translates as, quote, the breath within means to have the breath of the gods moving through us. And one final note I'll just make.

Dan Riley [00:12:55]:
Which I think I said to you.

Dan Riley [00:12:56]:
When we first met, is in this increasingly secular era.

Dan Riley [00:13:02]:
One of the things I have so.

Dan Riley [00:13:03]:
Appreciated about your work and the popularizing or translation of a lot of the jungian ideas is it seems to be able to weave through a secular time with a mystical bent and a religious bent.

Dan Riley [00:13:22]:
So I wanted to give just the.

Dan Riley [00:13:24]:
Concept of numinous to you, and I.

Dan Riley [00:13:26]:
Know you talk a lot about calling and honoring the summons within and would.

Dan Riley [00:13:32]:
Love to give you any additional time.

Dan Riley [00:13:34]:
You might like to comment on that idea.

James Hollis [00:13:37]:
Sure, we all know we're born with our guiding instincts, but we're obliged to.

James Hollis [00:13:48]:
Be socialized for good reasons. And every time we become socialized, there's the potential for separating us from our deepest source of insight into what our life is about.

James Hollis [00:14:02]:
And this necessary compromise is what is.

James Hollis [00:14:08]:
The price of civilization? Essentially, to have a collective experience, you owe something. We all stop at stop signs. I mean, that's a reasonable expectation. But what happens when someone tells you.

James Hollis [00:14:21]:
Whom you're supposed to marry or what.

James Hollis [00:14:24]:
Your goals in life are meant to be, which historically, most cultures have done precisely that. They've defined for people who they are and what they're to do with their lives. In other words, they're given roles to play and scripts with those roles. Now, if that doesn't in some way link you to the numinous, it will.

James Hollis [00:14:43]:
Be a form of enslavement in one's.

James Hollis [00:14:46]:
Life, and 1 may have no choice. In life, most of humanity has not had a choice. It's either a struggle for survival or it's been living in constricted situations which.

James Hollis [00:14:58]:
In fact, define one.

James Hollis [00:15:02]:
So one suffers a deep, deep wound to the soul that may or may not be visible to the outer world. But it's certainly something that destroys the meaning of life for individuals. And we have tons of examples of that going on around the world at all times. On the other hand, the numinous is to a person who has the possibility of responding to it, is a clue as to what it is I'm to.

James Hollis [00:15:33]:
Do with my life.

James Hollis [00:15:34]:
In other words, what activates your spirit, what touches you? What moves you? Now to choose a kind of simplistic example, let's say we both go to.

James Hollis [00:15:43]:
An art museum, and one painting there.

James Hollis [00:15:46]:
Touches you deeply, and I pass by indifferently, or another one moves me to a strong response, and you're indifferent to it. Which one of us is right? Well, neither one of us. That for whatever reason, the numinous came to each of us in its different form and in its individualized form. And so our response is an honest response to that.

James Hollis [00:16:12]:
Now, that tells you what is meant.

James Hollis [00:16:16]:
For you, what is not meant for you.

James Hollis [00:16:18]:
In other words.

James Hollis [00:16:21]:
I find working with people in the context of analysis has a numinosity to it. For example, we puzzle over where do our dreams come from? How can it that there be some center within me that knows me better than I know myself consciously? What am I to do with my dreams, et cetera? Now, that's an engagement with the mysterious other. And it's not something you manufacture or you can control. It's something that comes to your or it doesn't as that happens. And so beneath all of this is the question of to what are we called to give our energies and our allegiance? And there is a legitimate claim on behalf of the social contract. So we do stop at stop signs, hopefully. On the other hand, you have a.

James Hollis [00:17:09]:
Duty to your own soul, and that's.

James Hollis [00:17:11]:
To be served as well. Many times through the years, people have come to me often after talks and so forth, and said, do you think I should do this or do that.

James Hollis [00:17:20]:
And I've said yes.

James Hollis [00:17:22]:
Both have legitimate claims on you. Figure out a way in which you can honor your obligation, let's say, to your family or paying your bills. And on the other hand, pursuing what feeds your spirit. By spirit here, what we really mean is when you're doing what's right for you, the energy is available, there's a quickening of your whole personhood. Your body and your mind and your emotional life are united in that response. And when it's not right for you, you may have to attend to that. Like you'd get up at three in the morning, change a diaper. That's not going to be particularly numinous, although it may well be.

James Hollis [00:18:04]:
Because when you look at the miracle of this little baby, right, that's numerous for most people, not all people, but for most people, again, the numinous is something outside of us.

James Hollis [00:18:19]:
It triggers a reaction to us, in.

James Hollis [00:18:23]:
Us, and when it does that, it's to be honored and respected. And that could include emotions such as.

James Hollis [00:18:29]:
Fear and so forth. That has numinosity too.

James Hollis [00:18:34]:
There are people who will look at that same painting and be frightened by, you know, if they've been touched, their spirit has been triggered. It's not always pleasant feelings, but at least you're alive. It's sort of like the poet Charles Bukowski said once. You may be worried about losing your.

James Hollis [00:18:53]:
Soul, but at least that worry tells.

James Hollis [00:18:55]:
You you have a soul that you can lose. So that's know. So there's something to be said for the ways in which we respond. And what if your world around you, your family, your religious tradition, your cultural.

James Hollis [00:19:10]:
Circumstances, what if they forbid you from pursuing know?

James Hollis [00:19:15]:
The last novel that Thomas Hardy ever wrote was Jude the obscure, and it was about a fine young man in England who was constantly pumping up against the class structure. And so he couldn't go to Oxbridge, which was Oxford, and know combined, he couldn't marry the woman whom he loved and who loved him in return because they were from different classes and so forth. And it's a perfect example of how the spirit can be quenched by structures and prohibitions in the world around them. And at the same time, the way in which we are also summoned to break through some of those limitations if we need to, and to pay the price for that. As Jung pointed out once, he said, to undertake this process of individuation, becoming more nearly who you truly are, as opposed to just a series of adaptations, will take you away from the collective for a while and he said, you'll feel a guilt burden there, a debt.

James Hollis [00:20:17]:
That'S to be repaid, and you return.

James Hollis [00:20:20]:
To it by bringing a more evolved human being to share with your family, with your children, with your society, and so forth. So this is not about narcissism. It's not about self absorption. It's actually about being called and responding to that call. And that's what vocation means as opposed.

James Hollis [00:20:41]:
To a job, per se.

Dan Riley [00:20:43]:
You note in the book, relatedly, that.

Dan Riley [00:20:46]:
I think this is another idea from.

Dan Riley [00:20:48]:
Jung, that in his mind, the goal of life was not goodness but wholeness.

Dan Riley [00:20:54]:
And you have also said in prior.

Dan Riley [00:20:59]:
Interviews that I've heard you speak about.

Dan Riley [00:21:02]:
That the modern addictions in our culture are something like materialism, hedonism and distraction. And I think for people that probably come to see you who watch interviews.

Dan Riley [00:21:14]:
Like this, they may have found that.

Dan Riley [00:21:17]:
In themselves to some degree.

Dan Riley [00:21:19]:
And I know you speak about often.

Dan Riley [00:21:21]:
A great question to ask when one is feeling depressed or going through a depressive phase is to ask, why has this come? Which is something we had talked about a couple of years ago. And I guess my question would be for you.

Dan Riley [00:21:33]:
Is it your view that the numinous.

Dan Riley [00:21:37]:
Is within all of us?

Dan Riley [00:21:38]:
That the effort and the time and.

Dan Riley [00:21:41]:
Probably the silence and reflection that's required.

Dan Riley [00:21:45]:
To get access to what resonates for an individual?

Dan Riley [00:21:49]:
Is there for all to be found.

Dan Riley [00:21:51]:
Provided you maybe push back against some.

Dan Riley [00:21:54]:
Of those cultural currents? How do you view that from sort of an individual?

James Hollis [00:21:59]:
Remember, the numinous is outside of us, and there is within each of us the capacity to be moved by something such as falling in love. Falling in love is experience. This Ordinary Human being over here is apparel and celestial light. And you fall in love with them, you see? And that's a summons to engage the mystery of the other. And you respond to it, and you can't help but being touched, you see? Or you're listening to some new music. You like some, you don't like others.

James Hollis [00:22:33]:
By what grounds do you make that decision?

James Hollis [00:22:37]:
That's encountering the numinosity of life. And for each of us, it's going to be a different path. I mean, sometimes our paths overlap, of course, but we have different paths to take. So alone or together, we have our own journeys to make in life. And the more you take your journey, the more you have to share with others. So again, it's not about selfishness or isolation.

James Hollis [00:23:02]:
Quite the contrary. You return to the world.

James Hollis [00:23:05]:
I spent my adult life in public education, all of my adult life, in fact. I started at age five, going to school, and I've never stopped. It's just that I idolized my teachers for the simple reason that they were introducing me to a larger world. Why would I not be grateful, and why would I not want to share that with others later in life? That's why I do a program like this. At this late age of life, I'm still doing it. And that's because I believe strongly in the need to sort of turn on the light within a person and maybe give them permission. One of the things I found, by the way, is very few people have.

James Hollis [00:23:44]:
Permission, really, to be who they are.

James Hollis [00:23:47]:
Because you learn early in life, life is conditional. Even love seems to be conditional, and you better meet the conditions. What do you need to do? Keep your mouth shut. Be a nice student. Distract mom and dad from their struggles. What is it you need to do? Well, those necessary perceptions by a child are things that become roles and scripts that they have to enact and pay.

James Hollis [00:24:13]:
The price down the line.

James Hollis [00:24:14]:
So the second half of life is about recovering a relationship to the person you left behind. And there's always a person left behind in those thousand adaptations and life's necessary tasks, such as paying the bills and covering the mortgage and seeing the children have orthodontic braces and things like that, you see. So again, figure out a way to do that and still honor the calling of your soul, because if you don't, something will sicken and sour within you.

James Hollis [00:24:46]:
And they'll have to live with that, too.

Dan Riley [00:24:49]:
I've heard you say before, I love.

Dan Riley [00:24:50]:
That, Jim, and I've heard you talk.

Dan Riley [00:24:52]:
Before about the primary obstacles in life being summarized as fear and lethargy.

Dan Riley [00:25:02]:
And there's a section in the book that I love that I wanted to read out where you talk about Lethargy. I want to get into fear in.

Dan Riley [00:25:12]:
A second here, but this is the.

Dan Riley [00:25:14]:
Line from the book, quote, lethargy is.

Dan Riley [00:25:16]:
Related to one of the four rivers of classical hell, leth. If you drink of the waters of Leth, you forget. What do you forget? You forget your journey. You forget your reason for being here. You forget to show up.

Dan Riley [00:25:32]:
And I've heard you say before that I believe you phrase them as the two gremlins that often meet us at the foot of our bed every morning. Fear and lethargy.

Dan Riley [00:25:41]:
And I wanted to give you an.

Dan Riley [00:25:42]:
Opportunity to speak in more detail about.

Dan Riley [00:25:44]:
The role of lethargy in one's life and why it is to be confronted.

James Hollis [00:25:50]:
Sure. Well, there's a part of each of.

James Hollis [00:25:53]:
Us that wants to drown in the unconscious, because life is difficult and dangerous, and then you die, and it's like, well, who wants to deal with that? So you mentioned distraction earlier. There are 1000 distractions in our culture. You could just turn on the television and stop reflecting on any of this and just be involved in whatever's happening out there. There's a lot of noise out there, a lot of shiny new objects you can go purchase. All of these things at some level.

James Hollis [00:26:20]:
Are flights from engaging the reality of your own soul. And so underneath all of this is.

James Hollis [00:26:30]:
The hard work that it requires to.

James Hollis [00:26:33]:
Say, all right, where did that come from in me?

James Hollis [00:26:36]:
Why did I get so upset about that yesterday? What's that about? Or wonder why I had that dream? To ask some very basic questions about what's really going on and pursue it. Don't stop with it, but pursue that. You lethargy, lethe is a river of forgetfulness. And so we forget we're here to live this journey in as full of.

James Hollis [00:27:00]:
Way as we possibly can.

James Hollis [00:27:03]:
But that touches the issue of fear, because one thing we've all learned as children is the world's big and you're not, and the world's powerful and you're not. So how are you going to cope with that for a few decades?

James Hollis [00:27:13]:
You see?

James Hollis [00:27:14]:
So we're intimidated by the magnitude of life. And those two deterrence are within each of us.

James Hollis [00:27:24]:
It shows up every morning where you.

James Hollis [00:27:27]:
Want to stay in bed and pull the blanket over your head and just not deal with the complexities of the world or the complexities of your marriage or the complexities of finding work. You really love whatever it is, and also feeling relatively powerless in the world. You sort of have to ask yourself over and over if I'm going to show up in life.

James Hollis [00:27:51]:
Not show off, but show up, what.

James Hollis [00:27:54]:
Is ask of me? And how do I go about doing that? And that's when you've moved out of this gray area into an engagement with your life. In a book that Jung published in 1912, he said, and this is a paraphrase, he said, the spirit of evil, which is strong language, a spirit of evil, was a negation of the life force by fear. Only boldness could deliver us from fear. And if the risk is not taken.

James Hollis [00:28:21]:
The meaning of life is violated.

James Hollis [00:28:23]:
And I've said to people, type that up and put it on the mirror where you have to see it every day when you brush your teeth or whatever you do there. And if you really internalize it, it'll.

James Hollis [00:28:36]:
Change your life, because you realize how.

James Hollis [00:28:38]:
Fear pushes you into a small court. I'd love to learn to play the piano, but I have no talent, you see.

James Hollis [00:28:44]:
Well, there is a perfect example of.

James Hollis [00:28:47]:
An impulse summons by the numinous, and it's shut down right away. After I finish proofreading this latest book, I'm actually going to try some painting I did once before when I was in training many decades ago. But it's something I want to come back to. I have zero talent in the area, but trying to express myself through color and through shapes and forms in relationship to each other has a numinosity to.

James Hollis [00:29:16]:
It, calls me to that.

James Hollis [00:29:18]:
So I want to try to honor that while I can. And I'm not going to commercialize it, and I'm not going to compare it with somebody else's work. That's what happens. People start looking over their shoulder and say, well, can I do this or can I do that? That's that issue of permission, and behind it you have the child's fears, and.

James Hollis [00:29:40]:
They'Re still governing after all these decades. So you have to push back.

Dan Riley [00:29:47]:
Yeah, we've talked a little bit about.

Dan Riley [00:29:49]:
Distraction today, and I've heard it been.

Dan Riley [00:29:52]:
Said that modern life is more brave.

Dan Riley [00:29:55]:
New world than 1984 in many ways.

Dan Riley [00:29:58]:
And I wanted to put this to.

Dan Riley [00:30:00]:
You of what you are seeing in terms of, and I don't know if you would relate this directly to the.

Dan Riley [00:30:05]:
Idea of lethargy, but the distractions that you think are often plaguing people.

Dan Riley [00:30:12]:
I don't know exactly how you would frame that, if you agree with that sentiment. But when you look around the country and you think about the concept of lethargy and how much of an impediment that can be to individuation or individual.

Dan Riley [00:30:25]:
Progress, what do you see?

James Hollis [00:30:28]:
Well, I see what you see, and that is a culture that is in.

James Hollis [00:30:36]:
Love with, enchanted by violence, shiny new.

James Hollis [00:30:40]:
Things, and is given at times to scapegoating people, and is often in a.

James Hollis [00:30:51]:
Culture of blaming rather than taking responsibility.

James Hollis [00:30:56]:
So all of that is easier than the hard work of living with yourself.

James Hollis [00:31:02]:
Can I stand to address the person.

James Hollis [00:31:06]:
Who'S in this sack of skin that.

James Hollis [00:31:08]:
I am and own that person's complexities.

James Hollis [00:31:12]:
And deal with that and stop thinking about myself as a good person and everybody else as a bad person, but see that what is common to humanity is within me and within you, and we need to be honest about that and own our part of that.

James Hollis [00:31:27]:
Again, it sounds so simple, but it's the hardest work you ever do. And I've often said to people who.

James Hollis [00:31:34]:
Are in long term analysis. This is not about curing you, because you're not a disease. This is about a process of discovery that'll make your life more interesting to you. Because you realize, for example, just to.

James Hollis [00:31:45]:
Use the parable that we were using.

James Hollis [00:31:48]:
Before, when you rise in the morning.

James Hollis [00:31:51]:
There are the two gremlins.

James Hollis [00:31:53]:
Taking them on is an heroic task.

James Hollis [00:31:55]:
It really is.

James Hollis [00:31:56]:
You have to take on the seductions of lassitude or lethargy.

James Hollis [00:32:02]:
You have to take on your fears.

James Hollis [00:32:05]:
And if you do, your life is rich, exciting, and developmental, and if you don't, it's going to be shut down.

James Hollis [00:32:11]:
And you will be miserable. And most are miserable and don't know why, and it's because they're not living the life that makes sense to them.

Dan Riley [00:32:21]:
I know I have heard you say that in your own personal life, with your own personal journey, that you're a card carrying introvert. And that in many ways I feel similarly with this kind of work, that it's always anxiety producing to some degree beforehand and doing the research and doing.

Dan Riley [00:32:39]:
The preparation, and to put that to you and your life story, which I.

Dan Riley [00:32:45]:
Know in our first interview, you spoke about in some detail, how do you.

Dan Riley [00:32:51]:
Make sense of your decision to, which.

Dan Riley [00:32:55]:
Is amazing, because you're such an eloquent speaker, and you're a prolific writer and.

Dan Riley [00:33:00]:
Speaker, how you overcame what is probably a natural temperament for bookishness and quiet.

Dan Riley [00:33:09]:
Solitude and writing to become more of a public figure.

Dan Riley [00:33:12]:
How do you make sense of how you made that possible for yourself?

James Hollis [00:33:16]:
Well, that's a good question, because you're right. As a card carrying introvert, I would rather be off in the corner reading a book than having this interview. No disrespect, I get it, because I always feel anxiety beforehand, because there's always something about the public arena that's intimidating. And secondly, in my family of origin, which was governed, my parents were not allowed to get an education. They were hardworking people, but their whole mentality was, let's stick together and don't go out there. It's just too dangerous. We'll stay here and take care of each other. So the first thing I did when I reached 18 was move away, of course, because I had to get away.

James Hollis [00:33:57]:
Not that I didn't love them or respect them. I did and do to this moment. At the same time, I knew that.

James Hollis [00:34:03]:
Something in me would die if I stayed there.

James Hollis [00:34:06]:
And so at some point you have to decide, am I going to live.

James Hollis [00:34:12]:
My life or not?

James Hollis [00:34:14]:
And then the second question is, in.

James Hollis [00:34:17]:
Service to what is worthy of your.

James Hollis [00:34:21]:
Service, because if you're not finding something worthy of your service, you're going to be serving your complexes from the past, you're going to be trying to deal with old battles. And again, you're not in a developmental, you're in a regressive agenda. So for me it was a. I was identified with the role of teaching, and teaching is something that comes naturally to me. And secondly, it's like if I have discovered things that I found helpful through the work of analytic psychology, why would.

James Hollis [00:34:55]:
I not share it with somebody else?

James Hollis [00:34:57]:
So I do it one on one in the analytic hour. Certainly. But then it became clear to me that both public speaking and publication is reaching more people. And the interesting thing is, today, because of Zoom, thank goodness, or its equivalent, there are people now showing up for lectures from around the world. I recently taught a course where we had people in eleven different countries that never would have happened in the past. There we're addressing the issue of geographic or cultural isolation, and the modern electronic technology makes it possible to overcome.

James Hollis [00:35:38]:
That's marvelous. But my point was the numinosity of vocation.

James Hollis [00:35:44]:
I felt called to be a teacher.

James Hollis [00:35:46]:
And a teacher shares things with people.

James Hollis [00:35:51]:
And that was more important than my cultural conditioning and family of origin and my native tendency to keep my mouth.

James Hollis [00:35:59]:
Shut and be isolated. Yeah, I forget if I.

James Hollis [00:36:02]:
Excuse me.

Dan Riley [00:36:03]:
No, I get it. I think I may have gotten this idea from you, or maybe one of your books. But the idea was essentially, if given.

Dan Riley [00:36:11]:
The choice between anxiety and depression, choose.

Dan Riley [00:36:15]:
Anxiety, for it helps to progress you in life.

Dan Riley [00:36:19]:
It's developmental. And I know from our first conversation that you're no stranger to moments of transition. And that my understanding is that after obtaining a tenured professorship, a position that.

Dan Riley [00:36:35]:
You have said metaphorically, people would kill.

Dan Riley [00:36:38]:
For you, decided to go in another direction following a depression in your mid thirty s. And I'm wondering if that.

Dan Riley [00:36:47]:
Moment in your life earlier, when you decided to leave your family of origin.

Dan Riley [00:36:52]:
If you ever give thought to what.

Dan Riley [00:36:55]:
Would have become of you, if you would have stuck around your hometown, if you wouldn't have left home at 18. As we mentioned earlier, the line about nothing human is alien to me.

Dan Riley [00:37:07]:
I wonder if you see patients that are full of neurosis or full of.

Dan Riley [00:37:13]:
Some sort of chronic depression, and see.

Dan Riley [00:37:15]:
A version of yourself if you hadn't done difficult and fearful things.

James Hollis [00:37:20]:
Sure, the alternative is in some way to kill the spirit, and you can.

James Hollis [00:37:29]:
Expect depression to be a life experience for you, as opposed to something that comes here and there in one's life.

James Hollis [00:37:36]:
But your whole life would be depressed, and people turn to alcohol and medication and so forth.

James Hollis [00:37:45]:
I had a client a number of years ago. I saw twice. Only first time, he was in his 50s. He had been raised in a fundamentalist culture. He had doubts as a teenager about his conditioning, and as a result of which, he was so frightened of having his thoughts be captured by someone else. And he would be excommunicated or punished in some way that he would actually have nausea and periods of fainting. In other words, disassociation. I'm not going to be able to stand this pressure, so I'm moving over here.

James Hollis [00:38:23]:
I mean, that wasn't a conscious thought, but it was how his psyche was protecting him at some. So here he was, in his 50s, with honest questions about the religious issues that he'd been exposed to, and he had gone to several psychiatrists, was loaded up with medication, and I said, your questions are honest. It's time in your life to take them seriously. And he said, if I do so, I'll lose my marriage, and I'll lose my place in the community. And I believe that would have been the case. So he came a second time and said almost the identical things, and I.

James Hollis [00:38:59]:
Was trying to give him permission to.

James Hollis [00:39:01]:
Own what was already true for him. And he made a third appointment, and I remember thinking the time, I'll never see him again. And sure enough, a note came. He said, I visited another psychiatrist, and he's put me on this medication, x and y.

James Hollis [00:39:15]:
And all of this.

James Hollis [00:39:17]:
And I say this with a deepest.

James Hollis [00:39:19]:
Of sorrow, not criticism.

James Hollis [00:39:22]:
All of this was a way to.

James Hollis [00:39:25]:
Avoid the hardship of being a Louie. It's.

James Hollis [00:39:30]:
There's an old saying that the 11th commandment is to become yourself.

James Hollis [00:39:35]:
And that's the hardest one of all. And again, this is not narcissism.

James Hollis [00:39:40]:
It's about serving something that wants expression in the world through you. See, that's the person you share with your family, or your clients, or whomever. And it's not about you. It's about you as vehicle. Because the first half of life, and I'm being over generalized here, is, what do they want from me? Parents, school, teachers, colleagues, partners, et cetera, et cetera. What do they want from me? And how do I mobilize the energy.

James Hollis [00:40:08]:
To meet them halfway here?

James Hollis [00:40:12]:
And then in the second half of life, the question is, so, having done that, let's say, more or less successfully.

James Hollis [00:40:19]:
Why am I here?

James Hollis [00:40:21]:
What am I here to do? What's my life about? Is it simply to acquire more money? Is it to build a resume? Is it to have 3.2 children? What is it that I'm here for? And then the quality of one's life comes out of what one does with those kinds of questions. Those are large questions, you see, and they'll get you a larger life, a.

James Hollis [00:40:43]:
More troubled one, but a more interesting one.

James Hollis [00:40:46]:
And that's worth exploring. So if you'd ask me as a child, would you imagine that your profession is to sit in a room and listen to someone's problems? I couldn't have imagined it, of course. As a child, I thought I was going to be a major league baseball player, but I wasn't given that body. So I found later in life, though, that the numinous was found in those.

James Hollis [00:41:13]:
Places, at least for me. And that that was something overriding the narcissistic desires.

James Hollis [00:41:21]:
That was something overriding the infantile fantasies.

James Hollis [00:41:25]:
That that was meaningful and purposeful.

James Hollis [00:41:28]:
There was a time in my training when I was working in a psychiatric hospital, and I was literally shuttling back and forth between an academic campus and psychiatric hospital at the same day sometimes. And I remember thinking at the time, the conversation that's going on in the hospital is far more real.

James Hollis [00:41:46]:
Life is up for grabs, as opposed.

James Hollis [00:41:49]:
To what I'm experiencing on the campus. And that's part of why my gravity began to shift.

James Hollis [00:41:55]:
I never left teaching, but I left the university.

James Hollis [00:41:59]:
There's a difference, and I have respect for the university. That's not my point. My point simply is the kind of conversation I wanted probably couldn't be found there. And the kind of issues that I feel are important to look at, you.

James Hollis [00:42:15]:
Really need to find in a different venue.

James Hollis [00:42:17]:
And that meant leaving a position of security and of lifelong guarantee and so forth, and an office with glass walls on two sides, looking at a lake and forest. So it couldn't have gotten any better, you see? And as I left, I had a friend who was also my bookkeeper, and he said, well, you need to buy disability policy. And I said, and also your medical insurance. And he said, well, the day you don't work is the day you start losing your home, okay?

James Hollis [00:42:50]:
And so I went to work, but I wasn't going back.

James Hollis [00:42:54]:
And that was the right decision. And what might, for me, might not be for someone else. That's what a person has to sort through. And sometimes it's very difficult to adjudicate.

James Hollis [00:43:07]:
Competing, legitimate interests that you have and.

James Hollis [00:43:11]:
A commitment to a relationship, for example, plus your need to pursue a course.

James Hollis [00:43:17]:
Of inquiry that's important for you, and.

James Hollis [00:43:20]:
You just have to try to honor both the best way you can.

James Hollis [00:43:23]:
That's all you can do.

James Hollis [00:43:25]:
The alternative is going to be depression.

James Hollis [00:43:27]:
That's the point.

James Hollis [00:43:28]:
And something pressed down. You see what's pressed down?

James Hollis [00:43:33]:
The life of the spirit, the patient.

Dan Riley [00:43:36]:
You spoke about just a minute ago. It reminds me of one of my favorite american nonprofit organizations called the ClErgy.

Dan Riley [00:43:44]:
ProJect, which is an anonymous venue for.

Dan Riley [00:43:49]:
People in the clergy who no longer.

Dan Riley [00:43:51]:
Believe but don't have the resources or.

Dan Riley [00:43:55]:
The courage necessarily to go public with.

Dan Riley [00:43:58]:
The fact that they no longer identify.

Dan Riley [00:44:02]:
With or really support what they're saying.

Dan Riley [00:44:04]:
Every Sunday from the pulpit.

Dan Riley [00:44:06]:
And I remember you saying in our.

Dan Riley [00:44:08]:
First conversation that that was the story.

Dan Riley [00:44:10]:
Of Young's father, if I remember correctly, that he had a lifelong depression and.

Dan Riley [00:44:14]:
That it was something he grew to.

Dan Riley [00:44:17]:
Not particularly respect about his father is the questions that he was incapable of asking.

Dan Riley [00:44:24]:
And this dovetails rather nicely into a.

Dan Riley [00:44:28]:
Passage in the book that you write.

Dan Riley [00:44:30]:
About psychopathology, where you break this down.

Dan Riley [00:44:34]:
And I want to read this out to you and get your thoughts on it. And this is from you.

Dan Riley [00:44:37]:
Quote, we live in a world that.

Dan Riley [00:44:39]:
Wishes to rid us as quickly as.

Dan Riley [00:44:41]:
Possible of suffering through a behavioral change or a pill. But stop and think for a moment about the word psychopathology. Psyche is the greek word for soul. Pathos refers to suffering. Logos means word or expression.

Dan Riley [00:44:59]:
So psychopathology is literally the expression of.

Dan Riley [00:45:02]:
The suffering of the soul. Wouldn't it make sense to stop and pay attention?

Dan Riley [00:45:07]:
And remember also the etymology of the.

Dan Riley [00:45:09]:
Word therapy, therapeuan means to listen or attend to PsYche, the soul to pay attention to, rather than suppress psychopathology. And to ask.

Dan Riley [00:45:24]:
What is the soul.

Dan Riley [00:45:25]:
Trying to say to me? Then later you say, psYchopathology, then is the autonomous protest of our inner life to the conditions of our outer life.

Dan Riley [00:45:35]:
Whether from our choices or whether imposed.

Dan Riley [00:45:38]:
Upon us by circumstances or others.

James Hollis [00:45:42]:
Okay, well, I'm not going to argue with those words.

James Hollis [00:45:47]:
I think that PrEtty well sums it up.

James Hollis [00:45:49]:
But again, the whole frame gets altered.

James Hollis [00:45:54]:
When you think about the expression of.

James Hollis [00:45:57]:
The suffering of the soul, then doesn't.

James Hollis [00:45:59]:
The question immediately emerge?

James Hollis [00:46:02]:
Well, I better take that seriously.

James Hollis [00:46:04]:
And what is it that is causing such harm with the soul? What is producing this injury to the soul? How do I remediate that? How do I address that? And to think that there's a place for medication in life. We know that I'm grateful for medication, but I would guess 90% of the people who are struggling with depression, for example, or anxiety disorders are really living someone else's responses to the questions of life. And they need to decide, this is my life. It's the only one I get, as far as we know. And if you came back in a different form, it would be a different life. So this is the one where you better grab what is important for you or respond to what is trying to call you. Then you have to face your fears.

James Hollis [00:47:03]:
Ultimately facing the fears and moving through.

James Hollis [00:47:07]:
Because, again, something inside of us knows what's right for us. It's smarter than we are. What that is, I don't know. We can call it instinct. We can call it the soul. We can call it whatever language you want. You can call it the divine voice within you.

James Hollis [00:47:23]:
Whatever it is, it's that which is.

James Hollis [00:47:27]:
Ultimately true for you. And the question is, can you honor that and serve it in a way that doesn't bring harm to other people? That doesn't mean it'll make you popular. It doesn't mean that people will understand necessarily what you're doing or why. But the point is, you will understand what you're doing. You will know that it's important for.

James Hollis [00:47:49]:
You that you do this or you die.

Dan Riley [00:47:54]:

James Hollis [00:47:54]:
Spiritually, your body might continue for a.

James Hollis [00:47:56]:
Few decades, but the light's gone out inside.

James Hollis [00:48:00]:
And the key is what lights that flame within you. And that's something that's already given within you. That's not something you acquire. It's how you respond to the things that touch you and that you wish to honor.

Dan Riley [00:48:20]:
You said something in the book, or you alluded to something in the book, and I've heard you speak about this in interviews that you've given about the book itself, which I had never heard.

Dan Riley [00:48:31]:
Until a couple of years ago, about the word sin.

Dan Riley [00:48:35]:
And sin is not a word that is, I've heard you say this, too, is not something that you often hear in popular culture anymore, but that the root, as I understand, of the word.

Dan Riley [00:48:45]:
Sin, is related to marksmanship and one's inability to hit the mark. And this is a subject I think you are so well positioned to contribute.

Dan Riley [00:48:59]:
To our society as it becomes increasingly secular in many ways for good reason.

Dan Riley [00:49:06]:
How you think about the dynamic between historical religion and modern science, or traditional religious concepts and modernity and progression.

Dan Riley [00:49:20]:
And I don't know how the concept.

Dan Riley [00:49:22]:
Of sin might weave into that directly, but I knew I wanted to give.

Dan Riley [00:49:26]:
You a little bit of time to.

Dan Riley [00:49:27]:
Speak about that, because I think just.

Dan Riley [00:49:29]:
In my own life, as friends have.

Dan Riley [00:49:31]:
Left, as I have left traditional institutions.

Dan Riley [00:49:37]:
There is a void, and there is a sense of confusion, often about direction.

Dan Riley [00:49:44]:
Or where one roots one's ethical orientations.

Dan Riley [00:49:47]:
Or life in general. So I just wanted to give that to you and get any thoughts you.

Dan Riley [00:49:51]:
May have that on related to our society.

James Hollis [00:49:55]:
Someone said, I think I saw this on the Internet. He said, I no longer believe in.

James Hollis [00:50:00]:
God, but I sure do miss him.

James Hollis [00:50:03]:
Which is an interesting paradox. That's a pretty witty and actually wise aphorism for that individual that shows that longing for spiritual connection, which I think is to be honored. And the question is, well, yeah, where does your spirit connect? Honor that. If you are among those who can find it still within the traditional institutions, why? Wonderful. It still works for you. It links you to that which is larger than you. We all need a story that's bigger than just our story.

James Hollis [00:50:38]:
But at the same time, if that institution no longer sustains the numinous for.

James Hollis [00:50:48]:
You, if it doesn't quicken the spirit, then you have to have the courage to move on. That's the 50 some year old man I was just talking about. He had left back in adolescence, but his body's been a prisoner of that place, and therefore his soul is constricted. So he's escaping the accountability by medicalizing his situation and say, oh, well, I just need to get a better pill.

James Hollis [00:51:11]:
For whatever my problem is when it.

James Hollis [00:51:16]:
Comes down to a failure of nerve.

James Hollis [00:51:19]:
To address what, again, life is calling him to. So sooner or later, you are a.

James Hollis [00:51:29]:
Religious being in the sense, not necessarily of an institutional form, but because you.

James Hollis [00:51:35]:
Care about matter, spiritual.

James Hollis [00:51:38]:
And maybe the way you care is how you relate to your neighbor or how you relate to your children, or if you appreciate art, or if you appreciate music or sports, or whatever it is that quickens that spirit. That's the thing that allows you to know what the right path for you.

James Hollis [00:51:58]:
Is ultimately, and that will evolve and.

James Hollis [00:52:01]:
Change through the course of your life.

James Hollis [00:52:03]:
As you grow and develop.

James Hollis [00:52:04]:
So one of the things I've never lost is the desire for learning. I can't help but wanting to learn something new about something. And I must say, as annoying as the Internet can be, it's also a marvelous tool for accessing. Used to be had to have all kinds of books around you to sort of look up something. Now it's usually seconds away, which is.

James Hollis [00:52:25]:
Marvelous, and I'm grateful for that.

James Hollis [00:52:28]:
But I've actually had people criticize me for the words I use in books. I once was being driven from an airport to this city to give a speech out on the west coast, and the guy sort of handed me this list.

James Hollis [00:52:46]:
He was kind of irritable.

James Hollis [00:52:48]:
And he said, I want you to look at this and tell me about this. And I looked there, and they were just a list of 40 some words.

James Hollis [00:52:56]:
And I said, what is this?

James Hollis [00:52:57]:
And he said, those are words in your last book that I didn't understand. Like I'm supposed to just use words you understand. Why don't you thank me? Because every one of those words potentially.

James Hollis [00:53:07]:
Opens another world to you. Be grateful.

James Hollis [00:53:10]:
When I see a word I don't know. That's a world I don't know.

James Hollis [00:53:14]:
Now is an opportunity to open to that. You see, that's where the numinous is found.

James Hollis [00:53:19]:
And it's something seemingly as trivial as that. Say, oh, I wonder what that means, I should look that up. Or, I wonder what the background of this is. And there you're tracking what has stirred and pricked the spirit. You see, doesn't have to be grandiose. You don't have to lie in your back and paint the ceiling of the Vatican or something like that. It can show up in the smallest possible way, a momentary contact with another human being. You see, sometimes it's full of numinosity.

Dan Riley [00:53:54]:
I have a friend who is actually.

Dan Riley [00:53:56]:
The friend who introduced me to your work initially. And I was thinking about this as you were talking about the patient who didn't come back for the third appointment.

Dan Riley [00:54:04]:
And he told me that he has.

Dan Riley [00:54:08]:
No tattoos, but if he had to.

Dan Riley [00:54:09]:
Pick what to tattoo on his body.

Dan Riley [00:54:12]:
He would tattoo three words.

Dan Riley [00:54:14]:
And it comes from your writing, and it's insight, courage and endurance.

Dan Riley [00:54:22]:
And that, I think you've written is.

Dan Riley [00:54:25]:
Not a bad litany of which to.

Dan Riley [00:54:28]:
Have as a bit of a north star to guide one's life in the sense of having the insight to know what feels right to you, and then.

Dan Riley [00:54:34]:
The courage and the endurance to see it through. And I know we are getting close.

Dan Riley [00:54:40]:
To the end of our conversation, Jim, and I want to just make a.

Dan Riley [00:54:43]:
Comment about how much I appreciate how much time you have given to the public. And I know it's not necessarily natural.

Dan Riley [00:54:52]:
For you to do these kind of.

Dan Riley [00:54:53]:
Interviews and be more of a public.

Dan Riley [00:54:55]:
Figure, but you obviously have an audience.

Dan Riley [00:54:58]:
Of people who are very interested in your work and grateful to you for your work. And I wanted to convey that before we close down.

Dan Riley [00:55:08]:
And there's a quote that I wanted.

Dan Riley [00:55:09]:
To end with, which you actually beat.

Dan Riley [00:55:12]:
Me to the punch and said it earlier in the conversation. But I thought it was worth reiterating.

Dan Riley [00:55:17]:
Because of, I think, just how orienting it can be for living an authentic.

Dan Riley [00:55:26]:
Or an examined life.

Dan Riley [00:55:27]:
And this is it.

Dan Riley [00:55:30]:
It's quote, the spirit of evil is.

Dan Riley [00:55:32]:
Negation of the life force by fear. Only boldness can deliver us from fear.

Dan Riley [00:55:39]:
And if the risk is not taken.

Dan Riley [00:55:41]:
The meaning of life is violated.

Dan Riley [00:55:43]:
You spoke to that earlier about the concept, that individual concept, and there's one addendum I might add to that from.

Dan Riley [00:55:50]:
The book as well, which is that quote. When we serve fear or anxiety only, we inevitably will also suffer a neurosis, the psyche's response to its diminishment or neglect.

Dan Riley [00:56:03]:
And I thought maybe we would close on focusing on fear.

Dan Riley [00:56:07]:
We talked about lethargy earlier, but maybe.

Dan Riley [00:56:10]:
If we can spend a few minutes talking about fear and how you think.

Dan Riley [00:56:13]:
About the role of fear and its conquering in a life well lived.

James Hollis [00:56:19]:
Well, a person who had no fear would be a person who just walk in front of cars or would walk to a dangerous animal. Fear is protective, as we know. Fear is specific. Anxiety is very vague. I think of anxiety often as like a fog that covers a highway. You can put your hand in it and there's nothing there. When you open your hand, it's very generalized and amorphous, but it's enough to stop your forward progress. You can't drive through that fog.

James Hollis [00:56:50]:
But buried in the anxiety is a series of fears, the fear that someone won't like me. These are often very primitive fears. If you smoke them out, so to.

James Hollis [00:57:00]:
Speak, someone won't like me and I'll be in trouble.

James Hollis [00:57:04]:
Now, for a child, if someone doesn't like you, you're in peril because you depend on the goodwill of your parents.

James Hollis [00:57:11]:
And playmates and so forth.

James Hollis [00:57:14]:
Or I'll be out there by myself. And the fear of abandonment is extraordinary in people's lives, and understandably. Or I'll get punished in some way, you see, or they'll laugh at me, or they'll judge me, or whatever. Those are understandable fears. But sooner or later, one has to find the courage to face them. When you mentioned the three things before, insight psychology can only help with the first part. Then come the moral qualities of the individual. Courage to face the tasks that life brings you.

James Hollis [00:57:46]:
Whether you want those tasks or not, life is going to bring them to you, and then endurance, sticking it out over time. And when you live it through, then you find that your life is richer, more interesting, and frankly, more authentic than all of those adaptations and all of those fearful evasions.

James Hollis [00:58:08]:
But sooner or later, one has to face one's fears.

James Hollis [00:58:12]:
It doesn't mean you get caught in.

James Hollis [00:58:13]:
A literal so if you're afraid of heights.

James Hollis [00:58:16]:
You don't have to go out and climb a telephone pole or do skydiving. I'm just saying, recognize.

James Hollis [00:58:21]:
What does that mean?

James Hollis [00:58:23]:
Maybe what I'm really afraid of is stepping up to the next level of my own capacity and fearing there'll be nothing underneath me. You see, in other words, what it would mean symbolically, but that I can address, because that shows up on a.

James Hollis [00:58:39]:
Kind of daily basis in my life.

Dan Riley [00:58:42]:
One additional comment I'll make to that, because I know I've heard you speak about this, which I think echoes a lot of probably the experience of many people, which is that you have referred to yourself as a recovering nice person. And I would imagine that's related to this concept as well, of stepping into.

Dan Riley [00:59:01]:
New roles for yourself.

James Hollis [00:59:03]:

James Hollis [00:59:04]:
Well, some of us, many of us were raised to be nice all the time. And nice meant means accommodating whatever is demanded in your environment.

James Hollis [00:59:12]:

James Hollis [00:59:13]:
Well, if you're nice in all directions, and it's a reflexive niceness, sooner or later it'll violate your own personhood, and sooner or later it'll violate the expectations of your own soul and just the.

James Hollis [00:59:30]:
Capacity to say no to someone.

James Hollis [00:59:33]:
No, I don't want to do that, or no, I'm not going to allow you to do that to me. Those are moments where one is not being nice, but one is being very real.

James Hollis [00:59:42]:
One is being authentic.

James Hollis [00:59:44]:
Because the opposite of a reflexive niceness is not evil. It's called authenticity. Because reflexive niceness is a protection, an old protection. It's what we call codependence, where the other. It's a power differential. The power is always in the hands.

James Hollis [01:00:05]:
Of the other, never within me.

James Hollis [01:00:07]:
And therefore, I don't have the right to say, no, I don't want to do that. I have to cooperate with you, et cetera. So that's why Jung said once, neurosis.

James Hollis [01:00:17]:
Is the flight from authentic suffering.

James Hollis [01:00:20]:
So suffering, either way, if you have inauthentic suffering, you'll be hit with a depression that comes from the unlived life. If you step into your life more fully, you'll have a lot of anxiety.

James Hollis [01:00:33]:
But as you said before, that's preferable.

James Hollis [01:00:36]:
To depression, because depression ultimately steals from us our capacity to engage life and to grow and develop. And we can stay stuck in self pity, we can stay stuck in blaming, we can stay stuck in our avoidance patterns. But sooner or later, something inside of us knows and shows up and pathologizes.

Dan Riley [01:01:00]:
I think that's a great place to stop.

Dan Riley [01:01:02]:
Jim, thank you so much for coming.

Dan Riley [01:01:03]:
Back on and giving me the time. It's really great to see you, and thanks again for your work in doing.

Dan Riley [01:01:08]:
All this public work for everyone.

James Hollis [01:01:09]:
Thank you, Dennis.

James Hollis [01:01:10]:
Privilege to be with you.

James Hollis [01:01:11]:
I wish you well. Thank you.