This ends my longest hiatus from “literarylew” in the four years I’ve been offering this verbal “deed to oblivion.” I’ve had technical problems with WP but the real “technical problems” are with the rusty technology of my heart which has spent 63 years hiding my “light under a bushel.”
For over a year now I have been immersed in the works of Carl Jung and have found it stimulating and deeply challenging. Jung did not live on the surface of things and his writings lead one into a plunge into the subterranean depths of the unconscious, a plunge which is disconcerting to say the least. On this note, I often think of the title of an Adrienne Rich book of poetry, “Diving into the Wreck” for any descent into the hoary depths of the heart is certainly like “diving into a wreck.” T. S. Eliot described it as daring to “live in the breakage, in the collapse of what was believed in as most certain and therefore the fittest for renunciation.”
Jung wrote extensively about the Christian faith, my spiritual bailiwick, and his perspective emphasized the power of myth which, if one can lay aside the comfort of biblical literalism that I grew up in, can allow one of explore the rich layers of meaning in the Judeo-Christian tradition. But this cannot be done without daring to see one’s own life as mythical, to realize that the narrative of our life is fictional in a sort, and that in this narrative there can be found a real “Presence” which is the essence of who we are. Or, as Stanley Kunitz put it, “I have walked through many lives, some of them my own. I am not the one I was, though some remnant of being remains from which I struggle not to stray.”
Jung and Kunitz grasped the dynamic nature of life, its eternal flux. Life is not static, though our ego constantly demands that we cling to a static view and experience of life even if that view and experience is devastating to ourselves and to others. When we begin to tippy-toe into the “flow” of life (i.e., the “Spirit of God”) we find the experience unnerving.