What are your thoughts and reflections from the presentation, "Boundary-making as an Expression of the Savior Archetype"?
Truth visits some days
twirling her hair and
gracious in her half smile,
but flinging wide her cloak
to concede what lives within:
that dry and rattled leaf,
pale eyes cracked and
blue as aged porcelain,
weeping a pale mist.
Maybe you feel her wintry hand
brush the clenched fist of becoming
and sense the easing of a cramping grip.
Maybe you waken, then,
in this holy perplexion
where the letting go runs
to both ruin and salvation,
and you find yourself not
marvelous or divine, but
a shade more delicate,
a trifle more worthy,
in your servitude
Buddha’s four noble truths are… the truth of suffering, the cause of suffering (clinging), the end of suffering (relinquishing), and the path to the end of suffering (the noble eightfold path). Buddha's teachings of non-clinging and suffering have always dogged the central musings of my life, Helen's essay "Suffering" tops my list of favorites (though I'm sure that's true of many here) and a calligraphy of Joan's hangs near my bedside and serves as a reminder on anxious nights: "Demand Nothing; Refuse Nothing - all Opposites are of God." I've always had a feeling that if one can get close to understanding suffering, truth is not far behind.
Jo Marie Thompson
February 20, 2020
at Kevala Retreat for Apple Farm
BY Karen Branan
What do I feel? Not any one thing for very long. On waking, wonderment at that dream of the pink baby girl who spoke with wisdom which I do not remember. Wonderment is followed by intrigue as doors inch open to possibilities in that dream. Intrigue is immediately interrupted by affection as Spike bounds upon my bed and nestles into his customary cradle between my blanketed legs – another baby, this one hungry for hugs and tuna.
Awake now, the Out There seeps in, bringing a frisson of fear. What now? What today? What new White House idiocies? Who stricken? What learned? What closed?
The pack-rat has also awakened with her worries, her lists, her inventories. What is enough? What is too much? And the mother comes forth as well with her need to nurture. Who needs sanitizer? Apples? Tylenol? A walk? A poem?
What do I feel? Hope, yes, because the glorious work I have done for so long goes on and is, in some strange and inextricable way, enriched by this crisis, this plague, which while shutting us away from each other shuts us into ourselves and plants seeds for tomorrow, then brings us together through technology to plan and build and know that a new world is aborning at the very moment the old is being destroyed.
I have no word for this feeling, but know I have been preparing for this time since I was that tiny pink baby of whom I dreamt and know that somewhere deep inside new feelings and wisdom await that will carry me to this coming world, to this entirely new life.
Thank you to Apple Farm writer Jane Smith-Eivemark, analyst from Hamilton, Ontario
Thirty years ago I worked for a group called the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA Canada) in Toronto. I was marketing events for (what we called) leading edge thinkers. Among such thinkers was Riane Eisler, who is best known for her book, The Chalice and the Blade. Meeting Dr. Eisler was a powerful experience on many levels – namely, her speaking to our profound need to see things differently and to act in ways that are possible, as well as necessary, in the transformation of the world. My introduction to such thinkers helped me to more deeply appreciate the need for my search for truth. My search for truth took further shape in (what is affectionately known as listening to the living human document) clinical pastoral education circles where I trained, as a clinician, and teacher in that model of education. Here I discovered more of the truth of both the patient’s life as well as my own as a professional offering pastoral (spiritual) care.
In short, on a vocational level, the tension of truth finding is my guiding star. The tension of the social and the religious streams that I knew/know in my work in spiritual care led me to open another door in my late 40s – the work of being in analysis and the study of depth psychology as I prepared to be a Jungian analyst. At this time when I am transitioning to be named a senior analyst I live within this rubric of the social and the religious tensions in new ways.
I realize that there are measures of truth telling. The questions of: “What is it that is being told and who is the one who is listening?” are central to the process of discernment. There are interpretations of life in which a person declares that he/she/they have heard the truth. In days gone by, for example, I held that love was the deepest measure of truth and now I am no longer sure of that. In fact, I lean toward the work of D.H. Lawrence and his imperative to go deeper than love. He writes these words in his poem of that name:
There is love, and it is a deep thing
but there are deeper things than love.
First and last, man is alone.
He is born alone, and alone he dies
and alone he is while he lives, in his deepest self.
Love, like the flowers, is life, growing.
But underneath are the deep rocks, the living rock that lives
and deeper still the unknown fire, unknown and heavy, heavy
Love is a thing of twoness.
But underneath any twoness, man is alone.
And underneath the great turbulent emotions of love, the
lies the living rock of a single creature's pride,
the dark, naif pride.
And deeper even than the bedrock of pride
lies the ponderous fire of naked life
with its strange primordial consciousness of justice
and its primordial consciousness of connection,
connection with still deeper, still more terrible life-fire
and the old, old final life-truth.
Love is of twoness, and is lovely
like the living life on the earth
but below all roots of love lies the bedrock of naked pride,
and deeper than the bedrock of pride is the primordial fire of
which rests in connection with the further forever unknowable
fire of all things
and which rocks with a sense of connection, religion
and trembles with a sense of truth, primordial consciousness
and is silent with a sense of justice, the fiery primordial
All this is deeper than love
deeper than love.
The depths are where we find truth according to Lawrence. I see this as people die in hospital. I see this, also, in peoples’ attempt to hang onto life in the name of love. As a result of my work I feel my attraction to Lawrence’s sense of truth in greater depth than is knowable on many levels. It is in the depths where we don’t know in a rational sense but do know in other ways. We see in the work of our best thinkers and/or leaders – in any discipline – this profound embodiment of truth.
Within the Jungian world I look to Wolfgang Giegerich, a post-Jungian analyst nowadays. Giegerich writes about the logic of the soul in its search for truth as we live in soul. Our work, according to Giegerich, is to know that we live in soul and by listening to its demands – no matter what they are – we are living the truth.
In short, truth is highly subjective for individuals and society. It remains to be seen how we can find new myths that sustain the integrity of finding the truth in our fragile, beautiful and dangerous ways of living on both individual and social levels.
Thank you to writer Mary Theis,
How do we find our own truth? For some reason the book “Wishes, Lies and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry” came to mind as I considered this question. This book was first published in 1970. The title intrigued me and I kept the book around the house for years – I don’t know that I ever read it.
The book is meant to demonstrate ways we can help children be in touch with their creativity. I expect this idea would work for adults too.
Why did that book come to mind as I considered truth telling? I have the fantasy that the teacher, in order to engage the children’s interest, suggested they talk about lies and lying. It could be a lie that they told, or that had been told to them. Then they were encouraged to notice the images and feelings that this exercise evoked in them and only then begin to write. What a marvelous, non-judgmental way to help children see themselves and some not so pleasant truths about the world and human nature.
I believe this process is related to how I discover my truth. Sometimes I lie to myself and then listen to and feel the response the lie provokes in me. I see a connection between lying and creativity – maybe it has to do with allowing ourselves to look at and play with our lies.
I notice that when I am doing reflective writing – especially if I am hurt or angry – I can be blaming and accusing. In the process of writing, I hear myself and discern the deeper truth of my own shadow qualities. This is a creative process where I can learn my own truth and therefore follow the adage: “This is above all: To thine ownself be true, And it must follow as the night the day, Thou canst not be false to any man.” (Hamlet, Act I Scene III, William Shakespeare)
Thank you to writer Marla Sarle, retired counselor/teacher, member of Apple Farm board of directors
Poor Pilate. His most famous question has made him quite notorious. “What is truth?” has almost become a cliché. But, I think, it still resonates because it implies that we haven’t got a clue…which can make us very anxious.
We want to know. We want the security of knowing. It was once suggested to me that fundamentalists have poor self-esteem, the result of not trusting themselves. They want someone else to tell them what truth is, the answers to life’s deep questions. And they want black and white answers with no ambiguity. They want to be off the hook. They don’t want to be responsible for the consequences of thinking for themselves. They are, then, likely to never find their own truth. It takes courage to search, seek out, and step into one’s own truth. We set upon a hero’s journey, and it is risky, carrying the fear of, “What if I am wrong?”, “What if I make a mistake?” The bigger mistake might be refusing to jump into the fray with other truth-seekers, the result of which might just be a very boring life!
Scott Peck sums up the courageous soul: “Only a relative and fortunate few continue until the moment of death exploring the mystery of reality, ever enlarging and refining and redefining their understanding of the world and what is true.”
Carl Jung speaks to the need for truth to become our own through inner experience. He says, “But the most beautiful truth…is of no use at all unless it has become the innermost experience and possession of the individual. Every unequivocal, so-called ‘clear’ answer always remains stuck in the head and seldom penetrates the heart. The needful thing is not to know the truth but to experience it. Not to have an intellectual conception of things, but to find our way to the inner, and perhaps wordless, irrational experience…”
And from Clarissa Pinkola Estes: “Those who would develop consciousness pursue all that stands behind the readily observable: the unseen chirping, the murky window, the lamenting door, the lip of light beneath a sill. They pursue these mysteries until the substance of the matter is laid open to them.” It is a life-long journey of seeking what is before us, but has not yet become fully our own experience and reality.
Attention to symbol, the Jungian path, brings together what is before us, what we already know, with what we do not yet know. Symbolic knowing is archetypal. It is beyond time and place. It connects the eternal with human experience. According to Caroline Myss, “the symbolic mind is a fountain of strength and truth.”
Thanks to Marilyn Ashbaugh, a poet whose work has appeared in international anthologies and journals of Japanese short-form poetry. She is a member of the Apple Farm writing group. She writes: I recently attended a Florida poetry festival and am delighted to report that American poetry is alive and well. There was so much truth shared in the prose poems read that I sat in awe. We all did. We were awe struck by truth. So below is my riff.
The Only Things We Had
flip flops and polka dots
bikinis and baby oil
sprinklers and kiddy pools
purees and steelies
shooters and thumpers
rednecks and greasers
hard boiled and over easy
duck tails and teeter totters
smoke rings and cokes in bottles
five fingers and detention
banana seats and butterflies
borrowed bikes and joyrides
Kool aid lips and sucker punches
hopscotch and holes in our socks
twinkies and tang and
T R U T H
all jujubeded and slo poked
Thank you to writer BARBRA GOERING, retired lawyer and member of Apple Farm board of directors
Since at least 1189, and to this day in Anglo-American courts of law, a witness formally promises, by oath or affirmation, to tell “the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.” Nevertheless, courts, and society at large, have often not been content to rely on such promises.
The concern with truth-telling, the anxiety over lying witnesses, goes back much further than 1189, of course. Slaves in the Roman Empire were routinely tortured as witnesses; we have all seen dramatic reenactments of trial by combat and trial by ordeal; and on the Continent, as late as the eighteenth century, judges followed an elaborate process of judicial torture in an effort to guarantee that truth would be told. As with later instances of torture by police, or in times of war, those efforts to achieve truth and real justice were a failure overall.
Our time is not unique in being awash in lies, then. Disinformation is nothing new, as the historic efforts to assure truth telling attest. We may feel exceptionally buried in untruth and fake news, but we’ve been grappling with this problem “since the memory of man runneth not to the contrary.”
I’ve been thinking of the struggle to see truth on many levels of life. The topic is a hard one, vast and difficult to pin down.
I do have one observation: the more I seek my own inner truth, the more I am able to discriminate, mark and recognize truth in others. The work to seek our own reality has no end, really. But on the way it can open us to what is real and true around us. I may never definitively find my true North; but I am convinced that the effort I am making on my inner journey, taking me closer to my true self, will enable me to perceive truth in the world around me. If each of us makes the sincere effort to achieve our own truth, we can contribute to clarity in our common weal.
...it is in part by our response to the great stories of the world that we too can begin to find, each of us this individual story expressing the symbolic meaning behind the facts of our fate and behind the motives that determine the day-to-day choices of our lives. -Helen Luke, The Inner Story