Life passes rapidly and, when you open your eyes, you are in the third period of life. Now you are sixty or more; your middle-age goals have been achieved or adapted to what is possible. Time to start the most difficult phase of your life. Your decisions will determine if your life will be a sad or a happy one for now on.
For this phase of life, the objectives of the previous phases are useless. You have to rethink your life. Many try to live the life of their children, hopping the children could achieve the successes they could not get. This is nor a satisfying solution, and it doesn’t help the children either. It burdens them with goals that may not be their own.
To find a solution to this stage of life, you have to think about the objective of life, not only your life, but of the lives of human beings in general. Why God threw us on earth? Metaphorically speaking, why God expelled us from the Garden of Eden?
I’m convinced that we came to earth to learn lessons that allow our souls to grow, to get closer to God. Meister Johannes Eckhart, O.P. (c. 1260 – c. 1327) a German theologian, philosopher and mystic, said: “Know that, by nature, every creature seeks to become like God. Nature’s intent is neither food nor drinking, nor clothing, nor comfort or anything else in which God is left out. Whether you like it or not, whether you know it or not, secretly nature seeks, hunts, tries to discover the path on which God may be found.”
Buddhism and of many Oriental religions preach we have millions of lives on earth to work on our life lessons and improve our souls. The material body changes, but the soul is immortal. This is also the view of Christianity, but for the reincarnation in a material body.
Jung, one of the great minds of the XX century, proposes that the objective of human life is the increase of conscience – know ourselves. He claims that the gains of each human being are saved in the collective unconscious for use of all. This way, humanity will go improving, and we may have a more just society in the future. “Know Thyself”, that is the inscription at the entrance of the Temple of Apollo in Delphos, Greece.
In my view, these statements do not conflict with one another. They are different roads to the same objective. To climb to the top of a mountain, we can use more than one path.
My personal view concerning life’s objective is that we should strive for happiness, which also does not conflict with the previous advices, because the road to happiness passes through the nurturing of the spiritual life. And do not forget that, to live a spiritual life you don’t need to join an established church or religion as explained in some previous posts.
If you want to be happy, to work on your soul and to gain conscience, spare some daily time for meditation and spiritual work. Jung asserted that, inside our psyches, we carry many daemons, one of them being the Self, an archetype that strives to put us in the correct path of life. Jung called it the path of individuation. So, one alternative to develop a spiritual life is to talk to these daemons that live inside our psyche using Active Imagination, a method that Jung developed.
If you want to learn more about Active Imagination, there is a couple of posts in this blog, but I suggest, for a comprehensive approach, the excellent book by Robert Johnson, Inner Work.
Roberto Lima Netto believes that our objective in life is to be happy, and that Spirituality and Jungian psychology, his main areas of interest, can help us in this search for happiness. He is the author of several books, including “The Little Prince for Grown-ups” and “The Jungian Bible” . His blog is www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.
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