According to existential philosophy and many religious, and ‘spiritual teachings’, there may come a point in the individual’s life, where he or she may feel it imposed on them to question their own belief systems, which include the personal belief systems and the cultural inheritance of the individual. For the lucky few, this may be a smooth transition, but for many, may invoke a feeling of emptiness and existential anxiety.
The personal beliefs and cultural conditioning, no longer serve many individuals and to shed the skin of old belief systems and cultural or societal ‘norms’ may cause a feeling of intense unease.
With the confrontation with who you really are, which invariably comes into conflict to who you think you are, causes a conflict in the mind, of the old and the discovery of the real self, which lies hidden under the layers of conditioned thought or programs absorbed from the individual’s environment since birth.
It dawns on the individual that he or she, is alone in their own quest for meaning and truth, which maybe a task not easily taken, but once the seed of realisation has been sown, there is only one way forward, which is to embrace one’s own life and seek out their own meaning and values.
Not only will this cause an inner disturbance, the consequences will also cause an outer disturbance, with many personal relationships dissolving, but also a forming of new relationships, more in alignment with the individual.
With the individual’s relationship with their own inner world, will affect their own personal relationships on the outer level with kind and also their relationship with the world at large. What happens within, happens without, and vice-versa.
The steps in this painting represent the angst and anxiety when confronted with this realisation. Finding oneself in an abyss of nothingness, with a glimmer of light at the top of the steps, with each step needing to be tread, before walking through the door to one’s own true self and finally feeling secure with that union. A confidence with who you truly are, muting the self-sabotage of our own inner thoughts, while at the same time being unshakable in the face of the sabotage from the outside world. Nurturing compassion from the inside, reflecting to the outside. The ultimate goal.
‘Existential Steps’ – Painted around 2001/2002 by Mark Adams (Dramamask).