"He whose desire turns away from outer things, reaches the place of the soul. If he does not find the soul, the horror of emptiness will overcome him, and fear will drive him with a whip lashing time and again in a desperate endeavor and a blind desire for the hollow things of the world." Carl Jung, p 129 The Red Book, A Reader's Edition
Who on the journey has not felt this? In the moment where we finally agree that our pursuit has been for naught, we encounter the place in us that does not know who we really are. And we are terrified.
I experienced this myself at a certain point in my life. It came in the form of hitting rock bottom. I was bereft, lost, and truly terrified. I feared dying the hopeless death of the lost soul I had become, enslaved to a cycle of alcoholism and in an increasingly desperate nihilism. My pain and hopelessness became the great motivator that I had sought in books and churches and people.
It doesn't matter how we come to desire our soul, only that we do. When we come to terms with our own powerlessness, our own inability to manifest through the force of our will the faith that we so desperately want, we may become willing to turn from our false desires and turn inward towards our soul.
This is terrifying, because we cannot know it until we find it inside ourselves, in this body, in this life. When we objectify it, we make it something outside ourselves to be sought after. But when we truly open our self to the mystery, then she can come.
Jung goes on to say, "Every step closer to my soul excites the scornful laughter of my devils, those cowardly ear-whisperers and poison-mixers. It was easy for them to laugh, since I had to do strange things.” p 137
|Painting by Francine Hart|
I recently had a reaction to my teacher Marc Bregman's suggestion at one of our retreats that there was work that couples could do to support each other around the healing of sexual trauma through the holding of space for each other in the most intimate moments. He used the word Tantric and I didn't like the idea of sexual healing being associated with my spiritual community.
So now here it was in my own work. And, it's not like it's the first time it's come up.
In this most recent dream, I see a boy, 16, who is in an intense state of arousal. A man is with him. Then we are together and I am touching him. I feel what he feels. It is like seeing and feeling a mirror image of myself, only with all the feeling and energy of a 16 year old boy. The opening that I feel in my own body is a deeply intense need that is held inside me. The need is so great that it writhes in my body like it wants to be released. It is powerful and in the dream when I press into the boy, he arches back in ecstasy. I feel this ecstasy in me. It is not about ejaculation or release, that's not what happens in the dream. It is about how the energy is moving in me, and what it is like to experience the energy of this 16 year old boy who is me. It is contained and so I am contained, yet powerful in my desire and need.