Through a Jungian Lens

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Behind Our Own Protective Shells

with 8 comments

This morning as I enter these words on the keyboard of my laptop, there is a slight drizzle that is expected to turn into snow as the morning wears on.  It is zero outside, that line that marks the freezing point.  The skies are gray.  It has become an almost colourless world here on the Canadian prairies, a world waiting for sunshine and the return of colour, the return of life.

This photo was taken three months ago in San José, Costa Rica at the hostel I was staying at while in the city.  It seemed as though everywhere I looked, people had strung concertina wire around their homes.  The wire was meant to keep out those who would steal and perhaps injure those within the confines of the sharp wire.

The wire made me think of how we build our own defenses against outside intruders.  In truth, our personae are just that, defenses.  We build our personae into personalities that hide the inside contents, the treasure that is our soul, our sense of worth.  In a way, it is similar to the layer upon layer of protective wrapping that we use when we want to ship something fragile and priceless to another destination.  The last thing we want to happen is to have an “other” steal our treasure and perhaps even destroy it.

While reading books such as the Da Vinci Code or The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (and others of the same genre) one watches as the layers are peeled back to reveal the ultimate treasure.  The extremes to which one goes in order to protect that central truth is amazing.  What we do in ordinary life is just as amazing when it comes to adding layer upon layer of protection.  It doesn’t take too long before the inner treasure becomes almost mythic in nature.  What takes on the lustre of truth are nothing more than protective symbols that can only point back to the centre, or in too many situations, point away from the centre if one doesn’t recognise the symbols.

As we try to regain a sense of who we really are, we must navigate through the carefully constructed layers of protection, decoding the symbols along the way, overcoming the traps set by our various complexes.  This work is truly a hero’s journey.


8 Responses

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  1. I remember The Hero’s Journey consists of a Vow, which means an exchange of power – giving up your protection and giving someone else the responsibility of some of your Power. Few are willing, but it is worth it, given the Results.


    April 25, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    • For me, it is worth it even with incomplete results at this time – LOL!

      Robert G. Longpré

      April 25, 2010 at 8:13 pm

  2. So true. Yet I believe sometimes there is a valid reason, one that cannot be understood at first.

    • The only valid reason I see is that of having the self survive with some sort of sanity. Denying the journey is an invitation to loss of soul and a barren life.

      Robert G. Longpré

      April 25, 2010 at 8:21 pm

  3. The photograph is stunning.


    April 25, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    • Thanks. It does kind of seize one’s attention in its starkness.

      Robert G. Longpré

      April 25, 2010 at 8:20 pm

  4. We also add layer upon layer to the persona to hide the ‘ugliness’ we perceive within ourselves, whether real or not…

    looking for the treasure, unwrapping all of those layers, means working through the layers we have created to find this ‘ugliness’ expose it to the sun, see how real it is, work on it, and then go further into the wrapping to reach the treasure. Sometimes it is very easy to be stuck at not wanting to open the ‘ugly’ layer, and we allow ourselves to stay there. Hiding something from the world and ourselves, and perhaps never reaching the treasure within.

    Lotus Light

    April 25, 2010 at 11:48 pm

    • Thanks, Lotus for adding this dimension to our layering.

      Robert G. Longpré

      April 26, 2010 at 5:50 pm

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