Sometimes we read an apparently harmless line, and we can hear the hammer hitting the nail inside us. ‘Whack!’. Then, silence. The small drop hits the lake and slowly, relentlessly, the wave it produces reaches all the corners of our being. A shiver. Our world has changed.

A hard truth we always knew, possibly. I believe these ‘moments of light’ only occur with ideas we already had in us. Like unearthing an ancient piece of jewellery or a script that had been buried for centuries. Always there, in our garden, waiting for us to dig a little deeper. Dozens of onion layers pealed to get here, to this ‘truth’ that was already here, waiting for us, calling us. The little piece of ‘truth’ we need right now. Like opening the window of an advent calendar and finding the small present that was waiting for us on this exact day and no other.

Maybe it’s not the first time we read something like this, but it’s the first time we listen. The first time we are ready to hear it, understand it, interiorise it. The first time it means something for us, beyond a logical abstraction. Sorry, it seems almost rude not to share what my advent calendar offered today:

On the still calm waters of surrender, the reflections of clarity appear

Bryant McGill

Surrender. There is some irony in the idea that we have to lose ourselves in order to find ourselves. But the discrepancy is only apparent. We let go of the ego in order to find the Self. It is a sort of symbolic death. Letting go of the reputation we have built, of the things we own (or by which we are owned; since we cannot leave them behind, they hold us prisoners). Letting go of the collection of conditions we call our life. The death of the hero.

That the highest summit of life can be expressed through the symbolism of death is a well-known fact, for any growing beyond oneself means death.

Carl G. Jung, Symbols of Transformation

No, as it turns out, we are not the chosen One. And yet, we are. But only if we let go…

And slowly the ego understands that the victory he always craved is only possible if he dies. That, as Galadriel would put it, the quest will claim his life. Either victory or survival, not both. The tragedy of the hero, who realises he can never win… his only possible victory is death. Like Moses, arriving at the edge of the promised land, but not being allowed to enter. They all walk in but him. Two incompatible realities. The ego can never enter the promised land as he is. You did well, Moses, rest in peace now. Let go.

I wonder if he walked around for 40 years partly on purpose, knowing what lied at the end of the road for him and trying to delay it for a while. Stretching the purpose of his existence. Knowing that, once his task was accomplished, the purpose would dissolve and with it his life. The man who was able to split the sea that separated two worlds. The man who brought God’s people from night to light, from hell to heaven, from slavery into freedom, and by doing so he freed himself. But he could not enter. In the end, the final sacrifice, death.

Apparently, when Moses died, his remains were disputed by the archangel Michael and the devil, further suggesting that Moses died in between worlds. He was an instrument. We cannot reach the end of the rainbow. The ego cannot enter the promised land. He can only go this far.

As Moses is now washed away by the eternal sea, one wonders what to expect now. Our ego thought it was King. In truth, it was here to serve. Its rule is nothing but an infantile illusion. Didn’t we always know…? We just have to let go a little, to let in some uncertainty and chaos. It is not as terrible as it sounds, and it tastes so much more real. That is, not like metal.

…Apuleius calls it “a kind of voluntary death.” […] Only when all props and crutches are broken, and no cover from the rear offers even the slightest hope of security, does it become possible for us to experience an archetype that up till then had lain hidden behind the meaningful nonsense played out by the anima. This is the archetype of meaning [the Self].

Carl G. Jung, Archetypes and the collective unconscious