This early morning authoritative voice spoke clear and simple A Nicodemus is sugar for you.@ This I take as emanating from the Collective Unconscious which to my best judgment is where what is referred to as the >voice of God= has always actually come from. This does not necessarily mean that the Unconscious is God but that this is the faculty or organ that God uses to speak directly to a person in God=s own time and God=s own way. This voice, unlike other times, does not surprise me for this story has been very important to me for well over 25 years. But this reinforces I must take this image of God as primary even when it is opposed to a multitude of other images that exist in scripture. To attempt to take all the images of God in scripture to heart leaves one with no practical image at all. To take them all, or even many of them, produces merely an intellectual concept of God that is not capable of fully living in the soul. These images belonged to the writers and to those addressed but that does not mean they are eternal or can adequately be our post-modern image of God. This is how God deteriorates to a >belief in God= instead of a Living God experienced. Some images of God can=t live legitimately in the human heart because some are destructive, contradictory, conflicting, meaningless images of God. These images can become empty as a way for a human to relate to God and to work with the more direct 'Voice of God' which such a dream as this brings. For the dream to call the Nicodemus story as 'sugar, honey or sweet' to me is that this story so perfectly fits the other dream and 'vision' experiences I have had regarding the Sacred and how the Human and Sacred are naturally related.
|Nicodemus Comes To Jesus 'By Night.'|
John 3:1-10 1Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. 2He came to Jesus by night and said to him, ‘Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.’ 3Jesus answered him, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above.’ 4Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can anyone be born after having grown old? Can one enter a second time into the mother’s womb and be born?’ 5Jesus answered, ‘Very truly, I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. 6What is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7Do not be astonished that I said to you, “You must be born from above.” 8The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.’ 9Nicodemus said to him, ‘How can these things be?’ 10Jesus answered him, ‘Are you a teacher of Israel, and yet you do not understand these things? New Revised Standard Version Bible
So what about the Nicodemus Story? It reminds me that God exists in a part of the human Self that the human ego knows nothing of, that is not approachable directly by reasoned knowledge and intellect. Nicodemus is presented as an intelligent, sincere and eager to learn person. His pursuit of God which is rightly >by night= for it is in the dark hidden part of ourselves that we actually search for God , not in the bright of day where all >seems= clear, normal and understandable. To seek by night also implies that we find God in that which comes via our dreams. This is where the most real and personal experience of God has historically, even in scripture, been rooted. So Nicodemus= confidence in the human >ego=- the ability to reason, to understand , the capacity to be logical and rational is shaken to the core. All of that must be abandoned as being the door by which God actually enters into human experience. Any >systematic theology= that does not include the reality of Unconscious forces and figures is doomed from the start. Rather, knowledge of God comes >from above= metaphorically, not literally. From >above= is from the realm the ego knows not of,to us is Unconscious. Jesus also calls it heaven and the 'rule of God.' This is the knowledge that is truly by >revelation= and not of one=s own making and doing. This is why it is so important that post-modern humans realize that no writing or literal word from the past is the final Word of God. No sooner has a revelation been received than it begins to become less than a Word of God when the receiver seeks to relate it. This is especially true when those who receive it by hearsay take on the task of writing it down and explaining it. Not that such efforts are without importance , insincere or totally lacking in meaning and truth but they are never total, complete or meant to become in any sense the Final or Complete or Total Word of God. Another key metaphor or image of God in Nicodemus is that God is truly as the Wind. God is Spirit. This is in perfect harmony, as any direct revelation is with itself, with everything stated above. This reminds us that the human ego is never the creator of God nor does it have any control of the action of the Spirit of God.
But, it is also very important to acknowledge, all the metaphors here elevate rather than diminish the importance of the conscious human ego. It is the only receptor of the Word of God. The ego is trusted to >come= and to >ask= to ‘seek’ and to >expect=. The ego is trusted to be alert to the 'voice of God' and to care for everything that is heard no matter how insignificant it first seems to be such as an early morning voice to me saying, >Nicodemus is sugar for you.@ For the ego to say of a dream barely remembered, A O ,it must not have been very important@ or a dream is “only a dream” is the ego not being spiritually responsible, not doing its essential part in the God- Human encounter. Post modern religious teaching needs to help the Human ego to rationally understand its most Holy place and it's capacity to do its spiritual task of being open to the Unconscious.
|Flesh And Spirit In Need Of Uniting|
That Jesus says one 'must be born of water' in the spiritually maturing process fits with the timeless archetype of the 'water' being a symbol of the depths of the Unconscious, what Jung speaks of as the Collective Unconscious. Another element in the story that makes it 'sugar for me' is that not only does it show the great importance and wonder of the human ego but just as much so the human >flesh=. Nicodemus is defined by Jesus as one needing to be aware of being born of both the 'Flesh and the Spirit@. It is not a given that a human is any more aware of the genuine value of flesh than of the Spirit. Both values have to be resurrected from the unconscious. In fact this may be an excellent way to define the powerful symbolic meaning of Christian resurrection. Flesh and Spirit are pushing to be united in the Human to bring a higher level of wholeness and healing to both Human and the Sacred. 'Flesh' refers to the body but to something else also. The flesh can also be perceived as the ego without the ego acknowledging the reality of the Spirit. This would be the ego without humility which can be described as living by 'Flesh or Sight alone, without acknowledging Spirit.' This was known in ancient times to lead to destructive pride and hubris. The Human must be true to, must use all the skills of his/her ego, must recognize in life both the Spirit and the Flesh. So the ego can and must eventually be in full connection with, united with the human body, human reason and with the Spirit. When this situation occurs it becomes true that, 'one is born from above,' 'born again', 'born of water and spirit' and 'born of flesh and spirit.' Conscious and Unconscious aspects of oneself have become united. This is an appropriate and greatly needed way to describe 'salvation' and the 'kingdom of God' for post-modern persons.
The Christian Church of early centuries made strong attempts to present itself as a 'One God' religion over and against the surrounding pagan religions. This was a great achievement resulting in the dogma of the Trinity. But this was not fully successful for all time. By seeking to be Monotheistic it in fact cut off from God everything it found in nature that appears negative or immoral. This gave Western Civilization our present day 'Split world' and the negative in our day has become a characature we call and joke about, the 'devil'; or else we 'project' the negative onto 'evil other people as The Enemy.' Such projections so easily make the Evil some 'black sheep' family member, a once loved lover or spouse, another ethnic/religious group sexual orientation or people of other nationalities. This 'Split' makes our present world an exceedingly dangerous place. It is essential that more people find a path to withdraw such projections. Obviously religion either helps to do this spiritual/psychological work or wrongly used becomes the strongest supporter of the Split and of the destructive projection process. The sayings and actions presented of Jesus offer another image, one that is far more a Monism of reality than orthodox Christianity, and other monotheistic religions, have given us. The above look at Jesus' words about 'Flesh and Spirit' can be seen as a way of healing 'the great split', of finding the value of both sides of the opposites, in this case Flesh and Spirit, rather than clinging to one and disparaging the other.
This all implies that every human physical sensation is to be received as a gift of and fully approved of as Holy by God. Since sexual awareness and attraction is likely the most positively profound of all human fleshly experience it must not be put off as bad or unimportant, repressed or given an unholy place in human life. The church has a long history of placing a negative view on the ecstasy of Human sexuality. Only in recent decades it has said, >well sexuality has its important place, just don=t confuse it with being spiritual or where one should expect to find God.' This brings us back to the importance of the eternal Eros structure of Sacred/Human love. Humans should be encouraged to develop as a spiritual endeavor the sexual impulse and the joy of Eros that can be indeed a doorway to a direct presence of the Sacred. I take it that the voice heard this morning is affirming that Eros needs to return to the place it deserves in a human life more fully lived in the Spirit.This would mean the uniting of sexuality and spirituality, which have been so badly split apart in both our secular and religious culture.
This reflection is my ego=s initial attempt to receive this dream voice as a Word of God and to use my human capacity to reflect, to create and to nurture that which has chosen to 'come from above.' My little yet very important ego offers back to the source 'from above' this imperfect attempt to work with that which was given to it. This is similar to the concept that the wine and bread of Christian communion symbolize that which humans have received ,grain and grapes, and transformed, via the Human ego=s patient and learned effort, into gifts worthy of returning to God- bread and wine. Much is expected of the ego. It is to be the recognizer and a kind of sorter- outer of the things that are >earthly= and the things that are >heavenly= , the things of the 'Flesh' and of the 'Spirit' and place great appropriate value on each, allowing for a possible union that can be expressed as, 'Being Born From Above.'
It just struck me that the 'Word of God' is now more often to a post-modern person what it has been to many throughout human time. I recall an ancient person was able to say , “How sweet are your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth.@ Psalms 119:103. But how little my ego would have been encouraged to eagerly respond if I had only read that ancient text compared to directly hearing the whisper directly to me this early morning, A Nicodemus is sugar for you@. Jim