I come not to bury blocks, but to praise them. I am talking about the speed bumps we encounter on the roads of life. Sometimes they look like solid brick walls, or mountains set in our way. Sometimes we feel we have come to a door that won’t open however hard we pound, or however many keys we try.
I once had exactly that sense, of coming to a door in my life that would not open. I believed that everything I most wanted lay behind that door. But I simply could not get through. Frustrated, exhausted by trying, I slumped into an easy chair one afternoon and suddenly had a spontaneous vision of my situation. I saw myself beating until my knuckles were bloody on a great oak door banded with iron. Yep, that’s how it was.
A little movie clip began to unfold in my consciousness. It was the kind of dream movie where you are not only the observer but can step right into the action. Slipping into the situation of my second self I felt a kind of prickling at the back of my neck. I turned – now fully inside the vision – to see an elegant but Trickster-ish figure beckoning to me from some distance to my right. He was standing in the middle of an archway. Behind him was a scene of great beauty, with a lovely house on a hill above orchards heavy with fruit and flowering trees in full blossom. I knew, in that instant, that everything I was seeking lay through this archway.
As I moved towards it, and then through it, I turned to try to understand the whole story. I noticed two things. While with one hand, the Gatekeeper was beckoning me towards the archway of opportunity, with the other hand he had been holding the door that refused me firmly shut. Behind that door, was something like a jail cell, a place of confinement. I had been wasting my energies in a vain attempt to put myself into the wrong place.
I carried guidance from this vision, with its dramatic and objective perspective, into my life immediately. I abandoned work on a certain project and ended a certain professional relationship. I soon found myself, in a creative sense, in that wonderful place of the flowering trees.
I learned from this experience something I believe to be relevant to all of us at certain times of challenge in life. When you feel hopelessly blocked, check whether the block is actually a signal to choose a better way forward. Behind that seemingly insuperable block may be a beneficent power – which I call the Gatekeeper – who is opposing your progress on the path your everyday mind has chosen in order to get you to turn around and find a better way.
This is only one of the ways in which our blocks may be our friends. We may be on the right path, but that path may include challenges that are necessary tests, requiring us to develop the courage and the skills to go forward. As Dion Fortune once put it, the block may be “thrust-block”, like that used by sprinters at the start of a race. At every major threshold in our life journeys, we are likely to encounter some form of the Dweller at the Threshold, a power that challenges us to brave up and rise to a new level. Faced with such a challenge, and the inner resistance that comes with it, we have a choice. We can break down or break through. I am in favor of breaking through. Practice will teach us when that requires moving forward, despite the block, and when we need to shift direction and go around the block,