I was in a spiritual shop buying some Christmas gifts a few days ago. The energy in the space was holiday frenetic, yet kind and well-intentioned. My mind brought some nervous chatter, but the visit was a success. I left with more than I was seeking.
I have been playing in the mud, to use my mother’s old analogy. She loved to get into the ugly, murky, Earthy, real, foundational stuff—dig through it to see what was there. She’d happily welcome you into her mud pit especially if you brought your mud with you. Jung, Freud, and my analyst encourage me to “walk the royal road to the unconscious,” and Tara Brach suggests I invite Mara to tea instead of fending her off. I’m considering.
Perhaps before reaching Mara, perhaps beyond, I encounter some other bits. The dreams, desires, and wants I have let go unsaid. And the ones I said only once, almost inaudibly. The ones I set aside because I doubted myself, seemingly trusting others more. Some of these are big and some are little. And there is always a trade-off that the conscious mind presents—follow the quiet voice and risk failure or accept another path and risk joy. The packaging is deceptive, however. The choice I’m making never looks exactly like that. Of course if it did it might be an easy decision.
The first option may not be well-received externally, but is authentic. A little push back is all my conscious mind needs to shy away completely. The second option is my Eden moment. I want to choose the apple, the carrot, the shiny bling, instant gratification, the neural pathway that is the most worn down. I’m gaining curiosity about what my psyche wants. I know where Road #2 goes. What is down the other path?
Jung has convinced me the apple is there so that we will sin, to create the chaos of our lives. Why else the temptation? How else would we learn what is truth and what is illusion? If a crossroads represents a choice that finally gets my leg out of a trap that has me stuck, my trap is choosing the norm. That’s my pain—fear of giving that quiet voice a chance to be heard. Fear of doing what I want instead of what I think I should want or what I think someone else wants.
We all have a leg in a different trap. My Road #2 slyly disguises the traps of others as interesting distractions from my Road #1. I may look away, free myself first. In fact, I could be so bold as to not even notice others there. If I do notice, I could stand by and witness that they are also trying to escape their own traps and not interfere. Right now I will focus inward, put on my oxygen mask first before assisting others, give voice to my psyche with the pendulum I bought for her to communicate with me.