This morning as I enter these words on the keyboard of my laptop, there is a slight drizzle that is expected to turn into snow as the morning wears on. It is zero outside, that line that marks the freezing point. The skies are gray. It has become an almost colourless world here on the Canadian prairies, a world waiting for sunshine and the return of colour, the return of life.
This photo was taken three months ago in San José, Costa Rica at the hostel I was staying at while in the city. It seemed as though everywhere I looked, people had strung concertina wire around their homes. The wire was meant to keep out those who would steal and perhaps injure those within the confines of the sharp wire.
The wire made me think of how we build our own defenses against outside intruders. In truth, our personae are just that, defenses. We build our personae into personalities that hide the inside contents, the treasure that is our soul, our sense of worth. In a way, it is similar to the layer upon layer of protective wrapping that we use when we want to ship something fragile and priceless to another destination. The last thing we want to happen is to have an “other” steal our treasure and perhaps even destroy it.
While reading books such as the Da Vinci Code or The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (and others of the same genre) one watches as the layers are peeled back to reveal the ultimate treasure. The extremes to which one goes in order to protect that central truth is amazing. What we do in ordinary life is just as amazing when it comes to adding layer upon layer of protection. It doesn’t take too long before the inner treasure becomes almost mythic in nature. What takes on the lustre of truth are nothing more than protective symbols that can only point back to the centre, or in too many situations, point away from the centre if one doesn’t recognise the symbols.
As we try to regain a sense of who we really are, we must navigate through the carefully constructed layers of protection, decoding the symbols along the way, overcoming the traps set by our various complexes. This work is truly a hero’s journey.