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Our buried life

But often, in the world’s most crowded streets,
But often, in the din of strife,
There rises an unspeakable desire
After the knowledge of our buried life:
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;
A longing to inquire
Into the mystery of this heart which beats
So wild, so deep in us—to know
Whence our lives come and where they go.

~ Matthew Arnold

I have always loved this section of Arnold's long, old poem. The phrase, “There rises an unspeakable desire / after the knowledge of our buried life” resonates so deeply in me.

There are times I want to uncover the buried life of my boyhood when I dreamed of baseball and girls and someday hitting a home run with both; the buried life of the years with my grandparents who were ballasts that kept my young ballooning life from flying away into nothingness or into destruction; the buried life of my struggling search for God, to go beyond the burdensome rules of the church that were so confining and joyless and impossible, and to find a faith that was mine—real and tender and celebrative—a faith that guided my questioning soul and touched my longing spirit and taught me how to love.

There are buried wounds, as well. Deep hurts in all of us that often send us into dark places within ourselves, scary and forbidding and difficult to face.

These are the “shadows” that Jung often spoke of and wrote about, the parts of ourselves that we often fail to embrace and get to know and learn from, “the mystery…so wild, so deep in us” that, if we accept and own it, ultimately it helps us find our way telling us who we are, where we came from, and where we are to go.

© 2011 Timothy Mooody

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