Zen & the Arts - Field Notes

W.H. Auden – From “For the Time Being

If the muscle can feel repugnance, there is still a false move to be made;
If the mind can imagine tomorrow there is still a defeat to remember;
As long as the self can say “I,” it is impossible not to rebel;
As long as there is an accidental virtue, there is a necessary vice:
And the garden cannot exist, the miracle cannot occur.
For the garden is the only place there is but you will not find it
Until you have looked for it everywhere and found nowhere that is not a desert;
The miracle is the only thing that happens, but to you it will not be apparent,
Until all events have been studied and nothing happens that you cannot explain;
And life is the destiny you are bound to refuse until you have consented to die.

Therefore, see without looking, hear without listening, breathe without asking:
The Inevitable is what will seem to happen to you purely by chance;
The Real is what will strike you as really absurd;
Unless you are certain you are dreaming, it is certainly a dream of your own;
Unless you exclaim—“There must be some mistake”—you must be mistaken.

Carl Jung, from Mysterium Coniunctionis

“The self, in its efforts at self-realization, reaches out beyond the ego-personality on all sides; because of its all-encompassing nature it is brighter and darker than the ego, and accordingly confronts it with problems which it would like to avoid.

Either one’s moral courage fails, or one’s insight, or both, until in the end fate decides.

The ego never lacks moral and rational counterarguments, which one cannot and should not set aside so long as it is possible to hold on to them.

For you only feel yourself on the right road when the conflicts of duty seem to have resolved themselves, and you have become the victim of a decision made over your head or in defiance of the heart.

From this we can see the numinous power of the self, which can hardly be experienced in any other way.

For this reason the experience of the self is always a defeat for the ego.”

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