For many years the famous psychiatrist Carl Jung employed the craft of writing to express his inner life and to channel a nagging sense of meaninglessness that often haunted him. However, in 1922, he suddenly realized that paper and ink did not seem real enough any more. Jung felt that he needed something more concrete to work with.
Interestingly, it was in building his home, that Jung felt as if he were being reborn in stone. While Jung admits that simple living is difficult, he also believes that it’s solace for the soul. Jung found himself less inclined to fantasize about some future time when life would be somehow sweeter and opportunities more plentiful. There is so much flurry and haste, he writes, that we live more in the future and its chimerical promises of a golden age than in the present. We no longer live on what we have, but on promises, no longer in the light of the present day, but in the darkness of the future, which, we expect, will at last bring the proper sunrise.
Once asked what clinical illnesses the majority of his patients suffered from, Jung replied that about a third of them weren’t suffering from anything at all; if anything he thought, they were blighted by an aimlessness, or lack of meaning in life- mostly because they didn’t know how to live.
It was Jung’s mission in life, too, it seems, to figure this one out.
how to be in discomfort is the stuff of sages and our own day-to-day living….
inquiry for today~ stepping up to our lives may be more about admitting where we are or aren’t…..
Mistakes are inevitable and in order to live a meaningful life, we have to, first of all, resist buying into a narrative of failure. Instead, we pick up the pieces and transmute them into a fitting, beautiful change. In other words, it’s all about the repair.
In Japan, in a practice dating back to the 15th century, highly skilled craftspeople developed the craft of pottery repair into a fine art, called kintsugi. The process basically consists of repairing broken pottery with lacquer that’s dusted and burnished with powdered gold. Rather than trying to hide the flaws, the pieces of bowls or pots or plates are lovingly reassembled and the lines where they were broken become highlighted with gold, marking them as precious objects honored and even prized for their imperfection.
In kintsugi, the reality of brokenness represents an opportunity for the transformation of consciousness. What a wonderful metaphor for our lives. All the fabricated stories about how impossible the situation is, or how our devastations might be assigned, categorized, or clung to- all are brushed away. A space is made clear for repair.
From that place, we can find the pieces through inquiry. Present moment reality, along with the love and compassion we bear for it, provides the glue. The gold dust is, I suspect, the wonder of being so unmistakably alive.