The son of my friend was in the hospital, waiting a diagnostic that could be very serious. The whole family was worried, troubled, agitated, except for the grandmother. She was calm, in perfect peace. She said: “God knows what He does.” Happiness. She lived a happy life.
Faith leads to happiness. I wish I had such faith, but, unfortunately, we cannot buy faith in the supermarket.
Happiness in a world that devalues the spirit
The world, starting with the Renaissance, XV century, saw a strong development of science and rationalism. That is good, but not at the price of devaluing the spiritual life. However, that is what happened.
When Nietzsche said that God was dead, he was wrong. The gods have changed. The gods that rule the world in our age of exacerbated materialism are money, sex, status, power and youth. The established religions lost grounds and, as Jung said, when the gods leave the temples, they never return.
To many of us, traditional religion is empty, and we can feel no emotional connection to the divine through it. Some keep going to the churches they were raised into, out of nostalgia, or because they feel a need to keep the family happy, but the services don’t give them any sense of connection to the divine. We do not feel any bond to a Major Power that you may call God, Christ, Allah, Yahweh, or Supreme Energy.
This loss of connection is a tragedy that many face filling their time with work, entertainments or pleasures, avoiding any thought about the purpose of life. In a sense, many live waiting for death without thinking about it. The problem is that this strategy is not full-proof, and tragedies may be waiting for us in the next corner of life.
If you read the famous book by Saint-Exupery – The Little Prince – and learn about the real life of its author, you will feel this sense of hopelessness that pervades his life. Probably the great success of the book was due to its reflection of this problem humans beings face today – lack of a meaningful purpose for life. If you are interested in learnig more, I wrote a book – The Little Prince for Grown-ups – with a psychological and mythological reading of the great masterpiece of Saint-Exupery.
Human beings are wired to the divine
Human beings are wired to the divine. Inside our psyche, we have an archetype, the Self that tries to steer us into a spiritual journey. Life sends us messages, initially gentle signs, to put us in the correct path. If we don’t pay heed to these signs, they increase in intensity – depressions, accidents, diseases. Pay attention to life signs, they are sent by the Self.
According to Jung, the Self, the Image of God inside our psyche, tries to steer us into the path of individuation, the path of higher consciousness. Jung states that we come to the world to increase our level of consciousness.
The Sufis say that there is no God, but the experience of God. I agree only partially. There is God and the experience of God, embodied by the Image of God inside our psyche.
Many don’t even bother with spirituality until they begin to suffer. They may go to church out of social obligation or out of family habits. But when tragedy strikes, some run for their childhood churches, asking help from their clergyman. What they generally receive back is not satisfactory: exhortation to faith, sermons about the inscrutable mysteries of God, claims that suffering aids their spiritual development and so on. The real suffering is not met.
Up until the Middle Age, human beings considered themselves a sheep under the guidance of a pastor, the church. Human beings now entering the Era of Aquarius don’t accept this view anymore. We need different answers.
Each Era has its own way to speak with God. In the Era of Aquarius, with a growing sense of individualism, we have to develop our own way. In the Arthurian Myth, when the knights were sent in search of the grail, they were instructed to follow a path never treaded before. Each had to find his own, unique, way, and it was shameful to choose an already opened trail..
We, human beings of the XXI century, will have to develop our unique path to talk to God. This is not impossible. Meister Eckhart, the great mystic of the XIII century, said:: “God is closer to me than I am to myself.” Being God so close, it should not be difficult to talk to Him.
Jungian psychology has answers to human suffering that the traditional clergyman does not. Jung developed the method of Active Imagination that allow us to talk to the personalities inside our psyche.
Personalities inside our psyche
Joseph Campbell, the great mythologist and Jungian follower, once said: “”My definition of a demon is an angel that was not recognized by the ego. It is a power that you denied and repressed. So, like any repressed energy, it begins to grow and to become very dangerous.”
I’m convinced that those of us that are not lucky enough to have faith should develop a relation with the divine through regular conversations with the divine inside our psyche – Self – with the help of Active Imagination.
After all, do you prefer an angel at your side or a demon on your back?
I am Roberto Lima Netto, and I believe that our objective in life is to be happy and that Spirituality and Jungian psychology, my main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. I am a writer. Some of my books are “The Little Prince for Grown-ups“, “The Jungian Bible“, “The Amazon Shaman” and “In Search of Happiness“. I invite you to visit blog and leave your comment at: www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.
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