Tuesday, January 22, 2013


One of the things that I've come to learn through my inner journey over the past 6 years is that feeling emotions is not only a good thing, it is a healthy and authentic way to live.  For years, I was told by people that I was "too emotional", that I should "choose to not feel....insert emotion...", that I should "pray about it", etc.  Sadly, the church for me was/is one of the most emotionally stifling places.  If we feel, we may doubt, and doubt is bad...or if we feel we may not be happy happy joy and that is unbecoming a Christian...so the thinking goes.  I came across this old post from a blog I've really started to love.  Elizabeth Ester talks about her experience of feeling emotions. 


Thanks for the courage to share this story Elizabeth!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Jung, Religion, Unconscious

This is an excerpt of a paper I'm writing for my first year at the Guild.  This is about the role of Jungian thought to my spiritual journey.  

What I’m wrestling through is this: is there an Other/God/Sacred Mystery that we come into contact with at the depths of our being, or do we continue to dive deeper into the self….and are those things one in the same? Is the quest for deeper Self (Self in the Jungian sense of that which encompasses our being, and the driving archetype of wholeness) and the quest to experience God the same? I’m coming to believe that as I make more of the unconscious (shadow) conscious and integrated into my life, my self-awareness will continue to increase, I will become a more authentic and loving human being able to serve the world from my depth, and I very well may come in to contact with the Sacred Mystery/God (or stated differently, my God consciousness will also increase).  I also am beginning to feel a sense of deeper connection to the anima mundi, the soul of the world.  I’ve started to view events and cultural conditions through a depth perspective, which does not see us/them and easy answers, but complexity, connection, and shadow.  I also am starting to see that this is a lifetime journey that is never complete.  It is a choice to experience the emotional depth and fullness of life, as opposed to seeing life through only the eyes of ego awareness.  If we make the choice for depth, as I have (I don’t think I really had a choice) we realize that the unconscious is always expanding, and always in need of reflection, illumination, awareness, and integration.  And so the journey continues. 
We have not really discussed the role of archetypes that much to this point, but it seems to me that this inner journey that I am called into is trans-cultural, trans-historical, and is aided and described in metaphor, symbol, myth, and story by both religious traditions and the work of depth psychology (as well as in other disciplines).  Of course the mystical and religious traditions pre-date depth psychology, but the work of Jung and others has given me another lens, another set of metaphors and images with which I can try and make sense of the reality of the inner journey towards God/wholeness, a journey that I believe has existed since humanity evolved into conscious awareness.  I very much appreciate the struggle Jung details in Memories, Dreams, Reflections, where the image of God he grew up with and that was/is still dominant in Western culture just did not make sense of his experience and those of his patients.  He was bold enough to “individuate” from the religion of his father, and in a sense felt sympathy for the struggles his father had as a Protestant minister who had no place to explore his doubts.  Jung, as well as other places outside the church, has been a place for me to explore my doubts about the God image I grew up with.