Happiness. Many think they can get it with another car, another house, another young lover. How wrong they are. You won’t, ever, be happy with material achievements. Your chance to live a happier life is following a spiritual path.
When we mention spirituality, some persons automatically think of religion. That’s wrong; the two words don’t mean exactly the same thing. You can have a spiritual life without following an established religion. Religion is a particular form of spirituality.
For almost two thousand years, the minds of the Western people have been dominated by Christianity. The faithful belonged to a flock under the guidance of a pastor. But the centuries have eroded the brilliance of Christian symbols. The Christian dogmas that dominated Western civilization for so many years don’t satisfy the Occidental man anymore. Since the Renaissance, with the growth of rationalism, the Christian church has been losing its command over modern man’s mind. To many, traditional religion is empty, and does not point to a real emotional connection to the divine. The symbols of Christianity are fading, and, as Jung said, “Once the gods have left the temples, they never return.”
With the spread of individualism, belonging to a flock is not popular anymore. In addition, the Christian symbols have been wearing down and have not been renovated. Jung worked extensively on this issue, trying to convince some theologian friends to face the problem. His masterful books”Aion” and “Answer to Job,” were badly received by the Vatican.
In this era of extreme individualism, the Era of Aquarius, the Christian myth with the concept of following the flock, does not appeal to many of us.
Human beings cannot limit their lives to the material/rational side; they need to pay attention to the spirit; to their souls. Jung said that he had not seen a person who was going through the second part of life solve his/her existential dilemmas without a connection to the divine. What is the alternative if Christianity does not satisfy you?
Edward Edinger, a Jungian analyst and fantastic writer, wrote: “human society cannot long survive unless its members are psychologically contained within a central living myth.”
But which myth? The myth of King Arthur may suit modern men/women. When the nobles of Arthur’s Court were sent to find the Grail, each had to choose his own path, one that had never been treaded before. It was considered shameful to follow an already opened trail.
How can we follow a spiritual journey without joining an established church? Buddhism claims not to be a religion, but a journey of spiritual growth. Likewise, Shamanism; you can be a shaman and belong, or not, to an institutionalized church.
Deep psychology, especially Jungian psychology, can also lead you into a fruitful spiritual journey. The superb book of Lionel Corbett, “Psyche and the Sacred,” shows us the right direction. He teaches how we can live a spiritually meaningful life – a symbolic life, as Jung used to say – without embracing any particular theology or religious tradition. Problems like suffering and evil, once given unacceptable answers by religion, can now be faced with the help of deep psychology, especially Jungian psychology. I consider Corbett’s book a must read to everyone searching for a fuller life.
If you want to find happiness, do not try to find it in the material world; follow your spiritual journey.
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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