The mystics tell us that our journey of spiritual growth passes through hell before we can reach heaven. Psychotherapists mention that the process of deep analysis is painful, because you have to accept your shadow. Journey through hell is a metaphor for this pain.
You probably know the division of human life into two parts. In the first half of life, our task is to strengthen our ego, creating a space for us in human society. It is our time to get a profession, make money, secure your financial independence, constitute a family, all external objectives. In the second part, you should take care of your soul, a journey to heaven passing through hell.
An old Indian costume preached that, when we arrive at our sixtieth year, we should abandon all material pursuits and take care of our soul with ascetic living and meditation, probably moving to live in an ashram.
In our materialist Western societies, the midlife crises, strong as it may be, does not change the life of many. They continue to pursue earthly objectives: making more money even if they don’t need it anymore, trying to climb the professional ladder, looking for external recognition and buying more and more material goods that they probably do not need.
I always though that the division of life in two halves was a chronological division; we would get to the second part with middle age. Richard Rohr, a Franciscan friar, teaches us in another way; he posits that we divide our life in two parts but that this is not a chronological affair. Some elders can still be living in the first period; they have not grown into adulthood. They are youngsters of sixty or more years, even if their bodies show the aging.
Did you notice that we meet two kinds of old people in life? Ones keep complaining from life – the boring elders – and others give us pleasure to talk to them. Unfortunately, in our Western societies, the majority of our people belongs to the first group. The second group, the sage, is seldom met.
Richard Rohr, a truly Wise Man, characterizes these two types well and gives us guidance to upgrade our life, to grow. He has written several books, and produced some videos that I admire. But his last work – Falling Upwards – is truly fantastic and surpasses all. It is a revelation.
I have many people I admire, but only a few I chose as gurus. They are Jesus, the major one, Carl Jung and Paramahansa Yogananda. After reading Falling Upwards, I’m adding Richard Rohr to my list of truly wise men, in a par with the Dalai Lama. His book is a must, a five star one.
Roberto Lima Netto believes that our objective in life is to be happy, and that Jungian psychology and Spirituality, 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” that can be found in Amazon. His blog is www.HappinessAcademyOnline.org.
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