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Care of the Soul: Happy Accidents

In telling the story of the Bollingen Stone, the large boulder he installed as a monument at his estate on the shore of Lake Zurich in Bollingen, Switzerland, Carl Jung taught a few subtle lessons. The psychologist came upon the stone during the construction of his “tower,” a habitable, two-story structure on the property. Jung had wanted the tower to be raw and primitive in design, to inspire him to extend his sense of time and be more open to experiences in the world around him. One day, he says, workmen mistakenly delivered a very large stone to the construction site. It was of the completely wrong proportions for building the tower. But instead of sending it back to the quarry, Jung instructed them to leave it.This is the lesson that interests me most in the Bollingen story: Jung doesn’t miss a beat knowing that “accidents” can be both revealing and useful. Some people say that there are no accidents, that everything has a purpose. But Jung’s story suggests that he believed something different: that some things are indeed accidents, and we have to always be ready to respond to them openly and creati …

Thomas Moore has been a monk, a musician, a professor, and, for the past 30 years, a psychotherapist practicing archetypal therapy with a spiritual perspective. His latest book is A Religion of One’s Own: A Guide to Creating a Personal Spirituality in a Secular World.

About the Author

Thomas Moore is the New York Times best-selling author of Care of the Soul, as well as many other books on deepening soul and cultivating a mature spiritual life, three of which have received the Books for a Better Life Award. At turns he has been a monk, a musician, a university professor, a psychotherapist, and an S&H columnist. 

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