I was reminded today of the story Carl Jung used to tell of the dream he once had of a path he was clearing in the woods. With some kind of tool in hand, he was arduously working to clear a path when he took pause long enough to look up.
There, in front of him, the clearing revealed a cabin in the woods.
Curious, he laid down his tools and went closer to investigate.
Discovering the door to be open, he cautiously stepped in. In the corner of the cabin was someone praying, or maybe meditating, or perhaps dreaming by candlelight. As he drew closer he recognized the stranger. The stranger was none other than himself.
For all our differences, each of us is about the human business of clearing a path for ourselves. Our journey is to find our deepest self or highest self.
When we enter the world, for example, we do so, as it were, inside the cabin of completeness. In perfect union with ourselves…our Source, there is no search. Why would there be? We are at home already.
But then, something happens to us. It’s as if we wake up outside the cabin, lost as it were in the dense woods. It’s dark, foreboding, lonely even.
In the history of Christianity, theologians have tried to explain this strange and universal problem by saying that what happens to us is something they described as “original sin.”
It’s described in other ways in other religions. But, the delimma is universal.
The Buddha described it as dukkha or our “suffering.”
I suppose you and I learn to describe it by the stories of faith our own traditions tell us.
In the end, however, what matters most is not really the explanation but the experience. Is the path you are following taking you home?
The journey itself is, as so beautifully described in Jung’s dream, your journey to the cabin in the woods…you spiritual home. Your path, whatever path you choose, is really the same path everyone is clearing. We are searching for ourselves…our Source.
Know this much. The point of the Christ event is this: Christ cleared the path for you…for me…for anyone. It’s a path straight home to the Father himself. No need to keep clearing…struggling…swinging a machete called effort in order to see…in order to know. There’s no need to ever feel lost, lonely, or left to yourself to find your own way home. The path has been cleared.
It could only ever be the ego in you that wants your life to be one long and never completed journey…one that always keeps you feeling close to the cabin but not close enough to feel at home…to rest in the security of Source herself.
So, the next time you feel your life is one big struggle to clear a path back home…and that feeling may come to you today or it may be what you’re feeling right now…the next time you feel that, no matter how hard you try, you are never quite good enough, or perfect enough, or pure enough, or even deserving enough of God’s ineffable love, then remember the dream of Carl Jung.
Know that the path to the cabin in the woods has been cleared already and that Jesus said, “I am the door” (John 10:9).
No, my friend, you’re not an outsider looking in. The family would not be complete without you. The party will not begin until you’re in.
Know this, too: you’re not the stranger in the corner praying…or dreaming…or just hoping to get lucky enough one day to find his way back home…to the cabin in the woods.
Look again, my friend. The stranger in the corner is the Source you’ve been seeking. And you, my friend, are not in search of the cabin in the woods. You are the cabin.
Know this and the search ends… and, the party begins.