Through a Jungian Lens

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Nailed to the Cross of Life

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Crossed lines indicating that one’s journey doesn’t travel this path.

I am continuing on with an idea that was presented in my last post, the idea of finding oneself unable to maintain control. About an hour after publishing the last post, while writing out the story of my pilgrimage in Southern France, I turned to Pema Chodron’s book, When Things Fall Apart. I had taken the book with me on the pilgrimage and had taken opportunities to read little bits of it when I took rests along the trails I travelled. When I found the words I had underlined more than a month ago, I realised that the words belonged here as well for they spoke of the feeling and the state of being that had been uncovered.

“Each day we’re given many opportunities to open up or shut down. The most precious opportunity presents itself when we come to the place where we think we cant handle whatever is happening, It’s too much. It’s gone too far. We feel bad about ourselves. There’s no way we can manipulate the situation to make ourselves come out looking good. No matter how hard we try, it just won’t work. Basically, life has just nailed us.” (Chodron, When Things Fall Apart, p. 13)

‘Life has just nailed us’ is a good way to put it. Life has hit us on the head and pointed us to the ultimate truths about ourselves and the illusion of our being able to control our own shadow to the point of denying its existence. As I found out, and as others continue find out, the shadow has a way of eluding our control.

This is the way, the true path, forward.

It’s all about control, the illusion that one can control not only oneself, but also others and nature. Parents attempt to control adult children when they haven’t mastered how to control themselves. Husbands and wives try to control, mould their partners into some vague inner model which can’t be explained or held constant. Any slippage in one’s personal control is blamed on others or some undefined vagary of life in general. At all costs, the fault has to lie outside of oneself. To be caught in this illusion leaves one a bitter, angry and frustrated person. It is only when life nails us to our own cross that we can find an opening out of the illusion so that we can enter into reality. Sadly, not many will walk through that opening, choosing instead to deny, deny, deny.

Three times I had taken the wrong path, the path marked with crosses that indicated I was not to follow this path if I was to stay on the true path. Three times I walked until someone stopped me to tell me that I had erred. Thankfully, I listened and retraced my steps. I guess I was ripe to listen, to accept that I was fallible and lost. After the third time, it was my turn to open myself to listening to the inner voices that I had long denied, voices that tried to tell me that all that I had buried in the darkness and shadows.

It was time for me to accept all the shadows that helped define the reality of who I was. I thank the universe, life, for nailing me to my own cross where I could be held still long enough for the truth of who I was emerge.


6 Responses

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  1. Dear Friend,
    Thank you for this Special Post.
    Your Magnificent Story can be symbolical viewed by the Main Cross on Golgotha and the two crosses of opposites – and then the last words of utmost pain and abandonment was called out from the Main Cross and HE became our Comforter – to be reached when we landed in deepest of the pit – the Mighty Symbol to Free ourselves.
    How many have tried and how few have succeeded !

    Opa Bear

    October 12, 2012 at 4:31 am

    • Thank you, Opa, for your words which add so much of value to my words.


      October 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

  2. I love also the symbolism…and the realizations you come to as you walk your path…literal or not. :)Thank-you for sharing…as always.


    October 12, 2012 at 1:41 pm

    • Thank you, Aphrodite, for remembering my blog site and returning. 🙂


      October 16, 2012 at 3:21 pm

  3. At first, I wondered why you would follow roads that had obviously been tried and found not to have an issue or exit, hence the crosses painted on the rocks… (Especially if they are GR tracks, which are very well marked and surveyed)
    And then I wondered why you felt that (perhaps) the three attempts to go down these roads were not valid–finally listening and accepting you were lost. I do feel that the crosses that others have left on the stations of the road are, of course, for our safety, but sometimes, it’s really worth going down the “forbidden” or dangerous track, in order to find out oneself. The “lesson” or experience is far more profound than the acceptance that someone is looking out for us. I have enjoyed being lost sometimes, uncomfortable & edgy tho’ that can be–they were experiences that “stuck” very well and allowed me to feel I had found my way, myself.
    I hope your journeys continue to present the choices you well define in your blog. Thank you.

    sahara rose

    October 17, 2012 at 12:38 pm

    • Hi Sahara Rose. The GR 65 was my thin thread that was to serve as a physical container in which I could safely engage in the wrestling with shadows and ghosts of an inner world, an inner journey for which there was no roadmap. The GR 65 was a “time out” from ordinary life, much the same as engaging in a Zen retreat, only it offered a significant physical challenge for my body which I “knew” was going to break under the stress of intensive walking on the steep trail. I hope this answer is somewhat sensible and comprehensible. I look forward to more from you in the future, Sahara Rose. 🙂


      October 17, 2012 at 1:06 pm

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