Archive for the ‘holiness’ tag
This is a portion of a larger photo that I took earlier today at the Tianning Temple in ChangZhou. I had gone to the temple with a friend visiting from Canada. These incense sticks were used by my friend in a prayer ritual before being placed in one of the iron cauldrons to hold the incense sticks that have done their votive duties. I don’t know very much about Buddhism and my friend new even less. Taking quick observation lessons as others around us went through rituals with their bundles of incense, I helped my friend as she struggled with the ritual. In the end, the experience was good for my friend as she left feeling as though she had done something holy. And, that sense of holiness had nothing to do with the ritual, but with the attitude and intention of offering a prayer to whatever it is that takes on the projections of our individual prayers.
My earliest awareness of incense comes from the experiences of a Catholic confirmation when I was seven years old. With the ceremony, I felt that I had connected with something bigger than my sense of self, something that was good and pure. And as with all such experiences, the little things that dance in attendance around the event, the cathedral, the incense, the muted colours and filtered light all became associated with holiness, with wholeness. So, while my friend said her prayer, my own spirit felt an expansion and left me feeling as if I had prayed as well.
It has been a good day.
This is a photo taken as night was approaching while I was on a hike up to a vantage point where I had hoped to see lava flowing from Arenal Volcano. Once out of the van, it became evident that the journey up the base of the volcanic foothill would be done mostly in the dark. I had a guide so the thought of the journey wasn’t as fear inducing as it would have been had I attempted this alone. Before going far, this suspended bridge had to be crossed. I knew that this was the boundary line. If fear was to win out, I would have to turn back here. Crossing the bridge meant that I was committed for the entire journey.
I have finished with Daryl Sharp’s third book in the Jung Uncorked series. There is a fourth book now published but I have yet to obtain a copy for reading and reflection. Since I have an inclination, I want to continue the idea of individuation and spirituality through the work of another Canadian Jungian analyst, John Dourley. John Dourley is a priest who is also a professor at a university in Ottawa, my birth place in Canada. I have a number of his books at my home and feel some connection with him as a person though we have never met. If all goes as planned, I will get to meet John this spring.
“Jung’s theoretical understanding of religion makes of the analytic process a religious event. It recalls the Gods to their psychic origin and encourages unmediated conversation with them within the containment of the psyche. The analytic process thus understood is currently to be valued for a number of reasons. The internalization of divinity curtails enmity between religious communities bonded by external Gods. More than this, Jung’s total myth contends that divinity can become conscious only in humanity. The education and redemption of God in history is an ongoing project. Currently it takes the form of an emerging myth of an extended compassion whose embrace supplants still reigning myths of lesser compass. The analytic process, though confined, in the first instance, to individuals, is a significant contributor to the now emerging societal myth.” (Dourley, Jung and the Recall of the Gods, Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2006, p. 43)
Individuals, individuation, consciousness, internalization of divinity … going down a lesser travelled path leading through darkness. This is what I have accepted as my future and my present. I could say that I have no choice, but that wouldn’t be true. Like the moment on the bridge, I do have the option of saying “No!” to this journey. To continue this journey, I will increasingly find myself increasingly alone in terms of people around me. Yet, it will not be as lonely as all of that, for along the way, I will discover my “self” and become more and more of a whole person. Wholeness. For me, that is now becoming holiness, a state of terrible grace.
This photo was taken in early May as I returned home from a visit to North Dakota. It was supposed to end up in the SoFoBoMo book, but it was saved for this second book. As I am now finished twenty entries with each entry matched with a photo, I am well into the second half of the book. Perhaps it will be finished within the SoFoBoMo time frame as well, that is by June 4th.
The tenth stage of the hero’s journey is called apotheosis. Below is my conceptual understanding of this stage of the inner journey.
Binding the pieces
The tenth stage of the hero’s journey is referred to as apotheosis, which is a state of holiness, of godliness. In Jungian thought, this occurs when there is a sense of wholeness within, when the opposites are united. The term “Self” is described as
“… an archetype of wholeness and the regulating centre of the psyche; a transpersonal power that transcends the ego.” (Sharp, C.G. Jung Lexicon, p. 119, 1991.)
This is different from the “self,” which is best described as the conscious aspect of the psyche, or the ego. In meeting with the mother archetype and the father archetype, and in the meetings gaining a deeper awareness of self, one achieves as sense of wholeness. One recaptures those aspects which had been split off, banished into the shadows of the unconscious. Now, in the light, one begins to piece together the fragments and rebuild the core of one’s self. The resultant wholeness is holiness.
As Daryl Sharp goes on to explain,
Experiences of the (S)elf posses a numinosity characteristic of religious revelations. Hence Jung believed there was no essential difference between the (S)elf as an experiential, psychological reality and the traditional concept of a supreme deity. (Sharp, C.G. Jung Lexicon, p. 120, 1991.)
Imagine how it must feel to banish the dragons which have made one feel insignificant, as worthless. Imagine winning the power held by those dragons. In the journey through the darkness of the soul, one faces many dragons or demons. As they are exposed to the light, they cease being powerful, they become conscious aspects of self. And, in the process, one connects beyond the personal shadow and senses being a part of the whole. Therein lays the relation with what is best known as God, a God who is found within.
And this is an idea that has been at the centre of Christianity for two millennia: “The kingdom of God is within you.” (John 17:21), and “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you.” (Corinthians 3:16)