I went on the most beautiful hike this morning. I don’t remember the mountains ever being such a vibrant green!
I love climbing to the peak and looking down on the city below. Whenever I’m stuck or searching for perspective I come to the mountains for guidance. They always feel like home.
Today everything was covered in bright green grass, trees, purple and yellow flowers, and birds singing everywhere. I felt overwhelmed by the natural beauty and so grateful that this experience is only a few minutes from my house whenever I need to rejuvenate.
When you’re stuck in a situation it’s hard to see how far you’ve come and how close you are to success. I just finished this great book (Owning Your Own Shadow by Robert A. Johnson) which talks about the power of sitting in the middle of an uncomfortable opposition and learning to find the higher way out, which doesn’t submit to either side but rather transcends.
So today on the mountaintop I wondered to myself how to practice this in my own life. How can I use this current period of crisis to go beyond myself, into a connection with something higher?
In the Owning Your Own Shadow (pg 93-94), Robert Johnson quotes Dr. Marie-Louise bon Franz who perfectly explains this experience:
“Jung has said that to be in a situation where there is now way out, or to be in a conflict where there is no solution, is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution: the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego-consciousness up against the wall, so that man has to realize that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision. Naturally, if a man says, “Oh well, then I shall just let everything go and make no decision, but just protract and wriggle out of [it],” the whole thing is equally wrong, for them naturally nothing happens. But if he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally…the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God. In psychological language the situation without issue, which the anima arranges with great skill in a man’s life, is meant to drive him into a condition in which he is capable of experiencing the Self. When thinking of the anima as the soul guide, we are apt to think of Beatrice leading Dante up to Paradise, but we should not forget that he experienced that only after he had gone through Hell. Normally, the anima does not take a man by the hand and lead him right up to Paradise; she puts him first in a hot cauldron where he is nicely roasted for a while.”
Hopefully being conscious that I’m currently being roasted in a hot cauldron is the first step lol.