Afterwards he read to me a passage from a book he’d lent me called Anatomy of the Psyche, by Edward F. Edinger, and today it’s buzzing rather loudly in my head (having felt a bit of a psychic punch in the gut on a couple of fronts this afternoon). When I’d originally taken it home, it was so textural that I couldn’t get into it. I guess I need a “story” to get involved. Probably why I liked History in school and retained it better than say, Math. In any case, he read this passage to me and I think it’s worth sharing to anyone who undertakes a journey of major change (presumably for the good) in their life. It reads:
“Anyone who gives themselves up to this search must therefore expect to meet with much vexation of spirit. He will frequently have to change his course in consequence of new discoveries he makes… The devil will do his utmost to frustrate your search by one or the other of three stumbling blocks, namely haste, despair or deception. He who is in a hurry will complete his work neither in a month; nor yet in a year… and in this Art it will always be true that the man who is in a hurry will never be without matter of complaint. If the enemy does not prevail against you by hurry, he will assault you with despondency, and will be constantly putting into your mind discouraging thoughts. How those that seek this Art are many, while they are few that find it and how those who fail are often wiser than yourself. He will then ask you what hope there can be of your attaining the [deep secret of life]; moreover he will vex you with doubts of whether your [therapist] is himself possessed of the secret which he professes to impart to you; or whether or not he is concealing the best part of that which he knows. The third enemy against whom you must guard is deceit, and this is perhaps more dangerous than the other two. The servants whom you must employ to feed your furnaces are frequently most untrustworthy. Some are careless and go to sleep when they should be attending the fire. Others are depraved and do all the harm they can. Others, again, are either stupid or conceited and over-confident and disobey instructions or are drunken, negligent or absent-minded. Be on your guard for all of these if you wish to be spared a great loss.”
Heaven knows, there have been many times in my life when there have been those close to me who insisted they were there to tend the fire, and resembled the third enemy described above. Luckily for me, I have been on this search long enough to know the difference between someone who hurts me unintentionally, through intent of kindness, love, loyalty or friendship and one who does so out of any other intent (or lack thereof). But that doesn’t mean that I don’t easily get derailed. I spent most of my life with people who wanted nothing more than to derail me because it was first fun, then force of will, and finally habit.
The passage goes on to read:
“… Therefore if any man desire to reach the great and unspeakable mystery, he must remember that it is attained not only by the might of man, but by the grace of [your Higher Power].” (Thomas Norton's "The Ordinal of Alchemy")
What this all suggests is that you must “self-oriented” instead of “ego-oriented” if you are to succeed in a quest to heal yourself. But right now, I don’t really know what that means. I don’t know the difference between my ego and my self because one sits so heavily upon the other they appear as one.
I want to be loved when I love and desired when I desire, trusted when I’m trustworthy and befriended when I’m friendly and in all good things, reciprocal. But apparently, it’s my lot to wait for parts of my life to happen that come more readily to others and have caused me to see myself as a failure at living. To have gone as long as I’ve gone without true, deep, trusting intimacy is more painful than I have words to tell and I'm rarely without words. It makes me hurry. That search also causes me to inspire repulsion and fear in those I don't wish to inspire anything of the sort. I suppose I can understand how I must seem in the their eyes. Being nice to me shouldn't be so hard. So right now, the best thing I can do to put myself in the right place, is figure out which part of me is pulling the strings… my “self” or my “ego” and get them in working order. Hopefully when that happens, all the things I yearn for will unfold easily and I’ll laugh at how fervently I tried to yank them into place when all I had to do was wait… just a little bit more.