“The most beautiful people I’ve known are those who have known trials, have known struggles, have known loss, and have found their way out of the depths.”
—Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

Carl Jung, in speaking about Kundalini Yoga, discusses the idea of coming face to face with the Leviathan on the journey through the waters of Svadisthana, before emerging into the light of Manipura … if you make it that far. The idea being that almost immediately, you are set against the worst of yourself as you start your spiritual journey. He says:

“The ocean with the sea monster is above in the system of the cakras … the second center … svadisthana, must be the unconscious, symbolized by the sea, and in the sea is a huge leviathan which threatens one with annihilation … Therefore, the very first demand of a mystery cult always has been to go into water, into the baptismal fount. The way into any higher development leads through water, with the danger of being swallowed by the monster … Today, instead of the sea or leviathan we say analysis, which is equally dangerous. One goes under the water, makes the acquaintance of the leviathan there, and that is either the source of regeneration or destruction.”1

Growing up in church, I learned all about the persecutions of the early Christians, and was told that we would struggle for our faith. And yet, surrounding me everywhere were plastic smiles and the ever-present plea to god that he either guide them safely through or remove the trial altogether.


The spiritual journey isn’t fucking rainbows and butterflies. It isn’t a matter of “OMing” yourself to enlightenment. At it’s most secular, to be the best version of yourself, you have to sit with the worst parts of yourself, bring them to light, and come to terms with them. At it’s most ethereal, you have to do all of that, and then have the patience and faith that your deity will pull you up to the next level when you are ready.

In both cases, it takes fucking work. And it takes a metric fuck ton of courage. Anyone who’s done a serious amount of work in therapy can speak to the level of courage it takes to dig deep. Anyone who has dug in deep can speak to the level of work it takes to come out regenerated by the experience. Carl Jung brooked no bullshit in addressing the severity of the work. Facing the Leviathan has the potential to destroy you. And yet, it is a necessary experience on the journey within. There are no shortcuts. There are no fast passes. There is only the reality of the journey, the courage to go deep, and the work necessary to return from the depths an enlightened human.

Make the fucking journey. Do the fucking work.

Get moving.
Keep moving.

1Jung, C. G. (1996). The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga. Princeton N.J.: Princeton University Press. PP 13-17

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unsplash-logoMichael Dam