When we are face to face or soul to soul with the numinous we cringe. If we don't cringe, at the very least, it's not the real thing. We hide from the real thing. We're afraid. We join churches or ashrams or professional societies. CG Jung wrote, "One can only say that somehow one has to reach the rim of the world or get to the end of one's tether in order to partake of the terror or grace of such an experience at all. Its nature is such that it is really understandable why the Church is actually a place of refuge or protection for those who cannot endure the fire of the divine presence" (Letter to Herr N., March 1958, Letter Vol. II, p. 424).
It has always been such a conundrum to me that old CG Jung went on to start, or at least be complicit with starting, a society of followers, completely sheltering such devotees (as we all can be) from direct experience of the mystic without the mediation of a collective enterprise. It all goes to say that coming face to face with the numinous challenges our sensibilities, so much so that we seek refuge here and there and everywhere.
Reaching the end of our tether means we've had it with the old. Old ways of thinking, relating, living and being no longer serve us. They make us miserable. We need to move on once we've reached the end of things. I had a dream in which an old colleague came to me as a haunted man. He had died and was a haunted soul. He hadn't, in his life on earth, let go of old ways that no longer held energy. He clung to them out of insecurity.
This dream spoke to me of my potential to be a haunted man. I was confronted with needing to let go and move on in a particular area of my life. To not do so would leave me haunted. Old energies linger as hauntings. They are no longer relevant, but we keep them around. I knew I was at the end of my tether and needed to move on, not shelter myself from this numinous communication from the world of dreams and dreaming.