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Jungian shadow, neurotics, live music, pints of beer, and God puppets

excerpted from IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas



              On most nights at the pub anything could happen, and usually did. On one of these evenings I hooked up with two middle-aged dudes who came into the bar every so often for a chat and a pint. Jim was a softened veteran of the hard life. I say softened because he had lived out his fight with the world and with others, had won some battles and lost some, and had come through it as a very genuine, mellow, streetwise ex-tough guy, who had, out of benevolence that night, brought his neurotic artist friend, Stanley, to the Ivanhoe to get him out of the lonely hiding spot he called home. Stanley was impressively uncomfortable; a man with no walls and no armour around him; a mouse who was therefore incapable of defending himself from the judgements and willpower of others. And, more importantly, he was unable to recognize that he was terrified because what he sought to defend ...was a lie. A truly pitiful creature, though immensely lucid, like all true neurotics, due to the absence of protection between him and all else.

                So Jim and Stanley and I ended up putting a few pints into our bellies at the Ivanhoe and then we walked a couple of blocks down the street to another bar to listen to some live music, and Jim and I got on quite well, digging deeper into each other’s life, as Stanley sat fidgeting about like a mouse who had escaped his cage and then realized he was soon to get stepped upon for such a disobedient act.

                Jim and I went on though, talking about what real men would talk about if there were real men to talk about real life, and I suppose I had shared some of the pieces of my own turmoil and distress with him, because after a while he turned to me with the wizened look of a true street sage- one who had gone the distance and knew that the only answer is to tough it out- and he looked at me and offered a piece of news about life which I could not apprehend from my perspective at that time, and which didn’t really change anything for me, but in retrospect I can now sort of see what he was pointing at. What he said was simply: “It gets easier.” That was it, and he turned to sip his beer, and I knew that he believed it because he had been through the ringer and had come out, perhaps not in the same shape as when he had first entered, but he came out nonetheless, and he spoke to me as one who had already climbed over the wall I was now desperately clinging onto.

                In the next couple of years I was to meet a number of younger folks who were going through what I had been going through at that time, and this little piece of advice might have also suited our conversations well, had I ever chosen to plagiarize it, which I didn’t.

                But anyway, that bit of blue-collar pedagoguery finished, we toasted off a few more pints and then went outside to say our goodbyes. It was then, as I was walking away from my new chums, that I finally got an appreciation of how open Stanley really was to the cosmic precipitations.

                I must relate here a note that this night came during the time in my life which I would call ‘the emergence of the shadow’. I don’t know what the Jungian analysts would say of this, but to me it appeared that over the course of a few months certain characters and occurrences were showing up in my outward life, signifying submerged pieces of my inner being which I had been slowly, arduously, raising to the surface.

                Thus, as I was walking down the block away from the two of them, I heard Stanley yell out to me “Hey, what’s that behind you?” And I turned to look but didn’t see anything, and thought perhaps that he was off in his own little crumbling kingdom again, and I kept walking. Then he yelled again, “It’s your shadow.” And as I kept moving I looked back and, sure enough, I was just passing under a streetlight and my shadow was behind me. But then in a millisecond I had crossed under the light and it was gone. That’s when Stanley yelled out again, “Now it’s in front of you.” Which it now was. And so my shadow had gone from behind me to in front of me, from the unconscious into the conscious, and Stanley had heralded the movement which I had been examining but had not known for certain if its absolute translation had occurred from the dark into the light, so to speak. And so another message, pertinent to the stage of my internal course came flying at me out of the ether, this time from the puppetted mouth of one who was so transparent and willess that God apparently could make him speak whatever he wanted, and did.

                Say what you will, but the messages come from anywhere, at anytime, you only have to know who’s sending them to you. The wheel keeps spinning and the patterns keep changing, but the weaver stays at his loom and never asks why you must walk with dirty feet upon his carpets.

                Imponderable, disastrous, ridiculous, and grand, this life, full of fable and foolery, purpose and plan. The substratum moves and goes nowhere. The outside gnaws away at the inside which created it. The inside feeds upon the outside until it’s done. Whatever was there, becomes here. Those who were they, become we. And the wingless phoenixes look to the sky and assume without flight they’re not free.



excerpted from:


author Jack Haas, west coast British Columbia wilderness, ocean forest island



IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey

by Jack Haas


















spirit and flesh, mystical books, visionary art, fine art photography

Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas




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