We first encounter failure in learning to walk—we fall down, the root definition of failure. Coming up short is a lifelong experience that stretches from mishaps and lapses to shock waves that shake our lives. Failure can make us doubt our worth, shatter certainties, and fill us with shame. Failure punctures ego’s false sense of sovereignty. When we are out of alignment with inner or outer life, a gap opens, and we fall victim to ambition, misjudgment, or impulsivity. Failure is a call to self-confrontation, humility, and resilience. We can recognize the limits of our conscious attitude and our dependence on the unconscious. Failure can imbue us with a higher sense of purpose that is in service to a greater good, including our own.
Here’s The Dream We Analyze:
“A woman (like my wife, but more mysterious and mischievous) and I were given a mission. The Sun was setting, and we were told that if we traveled toward the sunset, or rather—since we were to leave in the morning—with the rising Sun to our backs, we would reach Norway. We came to a narrow, concealed canyon with train tracks, and the woman caused a cave-in that forced the train to stop. It was carrying some sort of ore. We met the crew without raising their suspicions, and they took us through the canyon’s closed, concealed entrance into their country. One of the crew pointed out in the distance a harbor full of the end product of the ore: beautifully and skillfully crafted boats. You had to be a citizen of their country to own one, but people from around the world came to rent them. He then took us into a wood-paneled room (like from a club in Edwardian England) and showed us a rapier and broadsword, also made from the ore. As he demonstrated how to use and care for them, I felt intimidated or unsure about being able to use them myself.”
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