Archive for the ‘Jesus’ tag
As I drove towards Canmore on Sunday for my Grassi Lakes hike, I stopped at Dead Man’s Flats in honour of the many other times I had stopped there while taking my children to visit family on Canada’s west coast. It became a tradition of sorts. I stopped because I saw the moon in the morning sky above one of the mountains and thought that this would be an excellent opportunity to capture that photo. Of course, once I was out of the car I began to wander and be present with where I was. I followed my ears as they lead me to Pigeon Creek. Once at the creek I was surprised by beautiful wild flowers. The time out had worked wonders for me and I was ready to head back to the car and complete the drive to Canmore. But, before I reached the car on my way back to the village, I saw this coyote who was calmly making his way into the edge of the hamlet. And in that moment, a bit more of my spirit was healed.
“Almost everyone who undertakes a true spiritual path will discover that a profound personal healing is a necessary part of his or her spiritual process. When this need is acknowledged, spiritual practice can be directed to bring such healing to body, heart, and mind. This is not a new notion. Since ancient times, spiritual practice has been described as a process of healing. The Buddha and Jesus were both known as healers of the body, as well as great physicians of the spirit.” (Kornfield, A Path With Heart, p. 40)
Eight Koi fish swimming in a pond in Hong Mei Gong Yuan caught my eye on a recent trip to that park. In my travels through many parts of China, I have found these golden colored fish swimming in ponds and canals and aquariums. I don’t think there is a park in China that doesn’t set up a pond for the Koi fish. The Koi is a symbol of good luck, of prosperity and of happiness. In this small school of Koi which caught me eye, the number of fish, eight, also has a symbolic meaning in Chinese terms, a symbol of luck. I guess that you could say that I stumbled upon “Double Good Luck” with this image.
The fish has a wealth of symbolism in psychology as well as in all cultures. In my culture, the fish symbolizes the peace of Jesus. In Jungian psychology, the fish is representative of the archetype of the “Self,” an archetype of wholeness that is often synonymous with “God.” The fish is a denizen of the water, symbol of the unconscious and as such is often symbolic of the unconscious movements in one’s dreams which point to libido, and to personal growth, a fertility of consciousness.
The number eight is also significant as it symbolizes “infinity” or that which is without end or beginning including all that is – present, past and future – all that yet isn’t. Eight is about balance, about the recycling of time and the process of continual rebirth. The cycling evokes a rising into consciousness and a descent into the unconscious only to again rise into consciousness. In a way, one could take the symbols of fish and the number eight to represent the process of individuation – personal growth through a journey embracing both the dark and the light, consciousness and the unconscious.
As I was visiting the park with my wife, she noticed my interest and looked at the scene and decided it was time for a rare photo of myself, thinking.
In the background you can see the full extent of the prairie village in which I live when “home” in Canada. In the foreground, the solitary figure and shadow of Michael, my brother-in-law, is seen heading back to this little village. The scene looks east into the morning sun which accounts for the darker aspects. Something to think about here. I am seeing shadows while looking towards the sun, sun shadows.
Opposites – Michael has me thinking about opposites, and in particular, consciousness and the unconscious. Michael has his moments when he is lucid to a certain degree. For the most part, he appears to be relatively conscious. It is only when one tries to engage him in conversation or activity when one discovers that consciousness is fading. Seeing his struggles, I get a better appreciation of my own relative “wholeness.”
“Without the experience of the opposites there is no experience of wholeness . . .” (Jung, CW 12, par 24)
Of course, I must admit that “I” experience the opposites as well. For the most part, my experience of the unconscious is through dreams. At other times, I bump into the unconscious through play and active imagination. And of course, I become aware of the presence of the unconscious “after the fact” when there is fallout from my speech and/or my actions while “under the influence” of the unconscious via archetypal presence.
When considering the opposites of darkness and light, I am immediately inclined to see darkness as “evil” and light as “good.” I fear the unknown, especially that unknown which foments conflict within me and conflict between myself and others. Since the unknown is hidden in darkness, I project that darkness outside of myself rather than admit that it simply more of my “self” which has yet to be made aware to my “ego” self. So where does this “belief” of darkness and light representing good and evil come from for me? Jung has an answer that seems to make sense,
“Christianity has made the antinomy of good and evil into a world problem . . .” (Jung, CW 12, par 25)
The threats of hell, of punishments – these were gifts given to me while being trained as a Catholic youth in catechism classes, ideas validated by parents and grandparents and teachers in the Catholic schools I attended. The light is good, and the light is God and Jesus. The dark is bad, and the dark is Satan. A was taught to beware of Satan who would do anything, to sin, in order to turn me into a bad person. And, if I did sin it was enough to “repent” during confession and God would take me back and give me another chance to earn a place in eternal light, in heaven.
Now? Well, I have come to see that the bad and dark stuff that I fear in the outer world is also within me. I have also realised that the good and the light stuff is also within me. And in realising this, I have come to some balance, a place of less fear of the darkness, and of less fear of the light.
Only unconscious and wholly uncritical people can imagine it possible to abide in a permanent state of moral goodness. But because most people are devoid of self-criticism, permanent self-deceptions is the rule. (Jung, CW 10, par 843; cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book Two, p. 27
Today’s photo is one of the species of lizards that I have photographed so far in Costa Rica. This one reminds me of a miniature dragon with a hint of dinosaur ancestors. One almost gets the feeling of a life form that has no sense of having a conscience. In a way, it provides a glimpse of what it might be like to have Borderline Personality Disorder, a state where there is no sense of right or wrong, just doing what one wants/needs to do with no thought of others, no sense of compassion or responsibility. Yes, cold-blooded like this reptile. For those who might be interested, this is a Common Basilisk. Another name for this lizard is the Jesus Christ Lizard because of its ability to run across the surface of water. This is a rather common lizard in Playa Jacó.
I have to admit that I do hear a voice in my head that lets me know its opinion, especially if it is opposite to what my ego is thinking/planning/doing. My conscience is often a pain in the ass making me feel guilty even though I haven’t done anything wrong. Talk about doing things wrong, where is my conscience then? It would be better if my conscience was actually looking out for me and thus save me being embarrassed or providing me with a heads up so that I wouldn’t get into trouble with others and with community. It has taken some time, but I finally get it that my conscience isn’t a voice from outside like some good Christian angel who works hard at trying to lead me to a life that would finally lead me to heaven.
What I needed to learn that conscience in Jungian terms is a personal psychic function base on ethics or “ethos.” Conscience isn’t about what society, what community has to say about morality. Springing from within, conscience is in the service of self. The voice of conscience lets us know “this way do not go.” To go against this inner voice is to lose more than could ever be gained, lose in a personal sense. So what if in following one’s conscience, one’s inner truth, one’s inner voice, one loses a job, a mate, a friend, or even life? Is the price of keeping all and perhaps becoming richer than needed, more powerful than others, is the price of one’s soul recompense enough? I found it interesting that one hears the same message in the bible, a quotation of the words of Jesus (King James Bible, Mark 8-36, 37)
For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Perhaps, listening to the inner voice, choosing to act, be, do according to that voice in spite of the pressures of the world around us is akin to the lizard above where we walk on water, walk on the foundation of the inner truths which are linked to a larger universal truth, something outside the control and definition of human.
On a walk during a recent stay in Mérida we passed one of many old churches. Above the front entrance to this church was a stained glass window proclaiming Jesus. The city is filled with churches from simple “Christian” churches to a number built in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Spaniards. Though I am not particularly religious in a church sense, there is quite a pull to some of the images and the space and architecture of these old churches. That said, it is in the detail that I find resonances.
Jesus, in a Jungian sense is an archetype that points to the “Self” within the “self”. Okay, maybe that doesn’t make sense to most people, but I hope that I can explain it enough so that you can understand how it resonates within me. In a number of locations in the bible one comes across the words with proclaim about finding “Christ” within. Christ represents the godhead, the Imago Dei, that lies within each person. Sometimes religion ascribes the soul as that aspect though in Jungian terms, that would be somewhat inaccurate. I say somewhat as all aspects, all archetypes all become just aspects of the whole, the holy, that oneness of conscious and unconscious both personal and collective.
Jesus is a representation of the collective unconscious that points to the potential for all to achieve a state of being the best one can be. As one travels a journey of individuation, one becomes more and more conscious, more aware of the nature of self in relation to other and in relation the collective and in relation to what I can only say is the sum of all that is and all that isn’t, that which religions call god.