Archive for the ‘answers’ tag
A flight delay is allowing me to post again here which is just as well s I find that I am ready for more. While waiting here at PuDong International Airport, I took out Mythologems, by James Hollis and found this quote on the last page, a quote that was highlighted on a previous visit to the book:
“The gods are present whenever we ask the right questions about our journeys. Knowing what questions matter is the first and nearly the most difficult task. Living the answers the gods bring to, in lieu of those we would prefer, ist the greater challenge.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 148)
Asking the right questions – Is it time to set aside the patterns and predictability of life in China and risk a conversation with the inner aspects of self: anima, shadow, saint, demon, child, sage and whatever other gods make their presence known? Do I risk what is, for what might be regardless of how that unknown might look/feel/be? Do I trust myself to keep the focus on self-discovery rather than caving in to meet the expectations of others, expectations that perhaps I invent and are not really there? Will I discover that I am worthy of this work?
I don’t know if these are the right questions or only questions that lead to yet more questions which lead to yet again more questions before it is time for the right questions. Right questions or not, I am am saying “Yes!” to each of these questions regardless of where the questions and answers take me. It is about trust in the unknown, in saying yes to the re-animating of my life.
It is not very often I bother to keep a blurry photo. A few days ago I was attempting to capture this little fellow with the camera. After a number of shots, I did get a few decent photos. Yet somehow, I didn’t delete this one like I usually do. I have a large number of hummingbird photos taken here in Costa Rica, different species in different locations and in different states of being. Yet this recent one defied the odds and remained in the photos folder.
And now as I wrestle with Jung’s essay regarding spirituality, I find that this image deserves to be here. Spirituality is a theme that is far from clear. If anything, it is numinous, just that faint presence that hints of something more than what is sensed out the side of one’s vision. It’s a theme that is so difficult that one is often reduced to comments such as “this is as clear as mud.”
One knows it is there, one has a fuzzy sense of what it might be like or where it might be located or how it might be reached. But in the end, it is still “fuzzy.” And that is a problem in today’s world of science and facts and things. We demand clarity, we demand proofs. If one is to truly believe then the answers should be easily located through an Internet search. Life is hard enough without having to try to muddle through something the best minds in the history of human kind have yet to answer to our simple satisfaction.
“Spiritually the Western world is in a precarious situation, and the danger is greater the more we blind ourselves to the merciless truth with illusion about our beauty of soul. Western man lives in a thick cloud of incense which he burns to himself so that his own countenance may be veiled from him in the smoke. But how do we strike men of another colour? What do China and India think of us? What feelings do we arouse in the black man? And what about all those whom we rob of their lands and exterminate with rum and venereal disease?” (Jung, The Spiritual Problem of Modern Man, Modern Man in Search of Soul, 1933)
From my limited experience after two years in China, one month in China and several years in remote areas living and working with Canada’s First Nations People, I would not be able to come close to answering Jung’s vital question. How can one answer what others think of us when we can’t fully grasp what we think of ourselves. And they have the same limitations of consciousness even if a different orientation. There is no magical, mystical super knowledge being held by these ancient cultures that is being withheld from us ready to transform us. That is the problem of growing awareness, the ability to see that the fuzziness and blur extends everywhere. For me, there is little doubt that if there is to be any clarity, I must begin and end with “self.”
This is a detail from an old Ukrainian Catholic church which is found in countryside in east-central Saskatchewan. The church was built during a Ukrainian immigration period in order to meet the needs of those who settled as homesteaders in the region. More modern churches in urban centres have drawn the children and grandchildren and great grandchildren. Fewer families live in the rural settings. Yet, the church still stands and for now, a few make it their spiritual home.
When I was a youth, I had believed that I would become a priest. I was a serious young person that seemed to have an old soul, a soul that hungered for spirituality, hungered for something more than the day-to-day life that a child experienced. By the time I was an adolescent, I had come to the conclusion that the church didn’t have enough answers for the questions that I had, and for the questions I sensed were waiting to be asked. And so, I gave up on the idea of becoming a priest. I knew that I would not be a good priest – I just didn’t believe enough – there were too many doubts.
It wasn’t long before my quest for answers, the quest for missing questions, lead me to search in libraries. There, I met Neitzsche and a number of others who had also gone in search of questions and answers outside of the church. And in listening to these others, I came to realise that the place I needed to go for my needed sense of spiritual connection was within my “self.” I couldn’t dump the responsibility on any clergy of any faith, nor on the tenets of any faith. The responsibility lay within.