The afternoon of life is just as full of meaning as the morning; only, its meaning and purpose are different.
—C. G. Jung
Jung conceptualized these tasks for meaningful aliveness in the second half of life: face the certainty of death; review, reflect upon, and sum up your life; let go of roads not taken; let go of the dominance of the ego; encounter and honor the wholeness of the Self within and with others; articulate your own raison d’être; and engage creativity. In 12 feature films created by such master directors as Charles Chaplin, Akira Kurosawa, and Ingmar Bergman, among others, main characters come to embody meaningful aliveness in luminous ways. Mindfully watching what they discover trains our eyes, minds, and hearts to encompass the longings of our own psyches to discover, as we mature, what Joseph Campbell has called “the rapture of being alive.” The seminar employs methods developed over 28 film seminars at Esalen co-led by Francis Lu and Brother David Steindl-Rast from 1990 to 2016: films carefully curated and shown on state-of-the-art equipment (including 4K Blu-ray video projection and seven loudspeakers), PDF syllabus on the films, and reflection and group interaction focused on the participant’s unique experience of each film. Movies take on an exquisite cumulative power when shown and processed over seven days in a group setting at Esalen.
Recommended reading: Hollis, Living an Examined Life: Wisdom for the Second Half of the Journey: Smith, The Power of Meaning: Finding Fulfillment in a World Obsessed with Happiness.