The previous post on Eve looked at the dramatic repercussions of her taking the apple that was offered by the serpent/Lilith. As we know, she was expelled, with Adam, out of the Garden of Eden. Lilith was the first woman to be exiled, and Eve the second. I posited in the previous post that going against the status quo and disobeying ‘rules’ is often necessary for our psychological health and that the story of Lilith and Eve has relevance in today’s world in that we too need on occasion to break the rules or go against the common wisdom of the day.
Why the need to move from unconsciousness and bliss to consciousness? Is there in fact a need and it is necessary to move from unconsciousness to consciousness? Why not stay in bliss when all is so pleasant and peaceful? What does unconsciousness mean? What does consciousness mean? Do they have any value? To answer this question in this blog is not possible so I will be concentrating on Eve’s courageous stance in taking the apple and what this means in today’s life, using the apple as symbol.
Did Eve have an innate urge to move from unconsciousness such as there was in the Garden of Eden?
Imagine if they stayed there for all time. Peace, bliss, harmony. No friction, no energy. It was too tranquil, too quiescent, too stable, too domesticated. No incentive to grow, no incentive to move beyond established boundaries.
G.d, like a ‘good’ parent had to let them go in order to grow emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, mentally as humans. We as parents or adults also have to let our children go and grow and flee the nest with the hope that Providence will be on their side as they maneuver their way in the wider world of relationship, education, career and all the responsibilities attendant on that.
As adults, we know from our own past experiences that life is never always smooth. There are many rough roads along the way. No-one escapes the hurly burly of life, unless they live in total denial.
We know that there are times when we feel destructive and hateful even towards our loved ones. Or we feel sad and helpless at yet another failed relationship, even amongst our own families. We reach out for yet another double-strength whisky or chocolate muffin to quell those uneasy feelings that we are out of synch somehow in our lives. Or drive dangerously or spend recklessly or feel desperate about the world in which we live where corruption, war-mongering, honour murders, abuse of women or children seems to be the order of the day.
The Latin for apple is ‘malum’ which means evil. The image of Eve eating the apple has left us all, many millennia later, with an image of woman being primarily one of sinfulness. So there is a link with apple – food – sin. The trace of this sin remains today, blamed as it was (and still unconsciously is) with the ‘Fall’ of Adam and Eve, caused by Eve. Is it possible that this imprint is in some way related to our unconscious over-eating or as a form of inter alia self destructive behaviour, a sort of unconscious self-punishment for being a woman; or as a way of expatiating our ‘guilt’ put upon us by our forefathers? When we find ourselves in a dark and destructive mood with an urge to do damage in some way, or we feel particularly ambivalent about ourselves, seeminglinly stuck in the staus quo, this is precisely the moment when we need to uncover the source of those dark urges and find a way not to use food as unconscious comfort, and to ask ourselves what the unconsconscious eating really means, Do we use food (or drink, or drugs, or socially condoned medication) as a way of ‘stuffing down’ as deeply as possible, those uncomfortable feelings and emotions that we don’t want to confront? Food is too often used as avoidance of undesirable thoughts and feelings. It is a time to get to grips with the complex and be prepared to do the inner work required to differentiate and discriminate and look deeply into our own inner souls to discover and uncover the impulse to over eating. This example of food as unconscious extrapolates into other areas of our lives where we act automatically, out of habit, blindly, with no conscious thought preceding the action. It is from that point of discovery of unconscious action that one can be more conscious and make wiser choices. It is from that point of un-covering that the destructive urge does not have be turned inwards; that one does not have to unconsciously punish one’s self. The struggle is about finding an appropriate choice or response in dealing with the matter at hand, invariably to do with relationship in one way or the other. This is the hard work required of us as contemporary women.
Too often we choose to remain unconscious so as not to disturb the easy pattern of our lives. We live by proxy much of the time, taking what we hear on the radio or TV or newspapers to be the truth. We wonder why our partner is disappointing to us once the honeymoon is over. We wonder why we are dissatisfied and we have deep feelings of unrest. Could we have set ourselves up in an unconscious way for these disappointments? What expectations did we have, only to have them shattered? Perhaps we were foolish and naive in having expectations in the first place. Or arrogant. What role did we play in robbing ourselves of choice?
It is imperative that we be aware of certain behaviours that serve only to distract us from our inner pain and wounding. It is essential to break from those learned patterns of behaviour that we may have witnessed in our own families when conditioning was at its peak. We do not have to go along with the script laid down for us by our culture, politics and history that has largely been patriarchal in kind.
We need to be conscious as much as possible, and be aware of the responsibility that this entails.