Thursday, August 30, 2012

A POLITCAL POINT OF VIEW... August 30, 2012

I have no legal or envy  problem with Mitt Romney  being extremely wealthy and paying only 14 % income tax if that is the actual law and one can afford the accountants and lawyers to make it happen. I have a problem with him thinking that it is ethically  OK for the 2 % most wealthy Americans to have such a low tax rate  while most  average Americans have no such similar access and privilege. And that he wants to even  lower his own tax rate. I truly do not think he sees any  moral or ethical disparity in that at all. This is not the world of most Americans.
Governor Mitt Romney


Reflecting on two nights of  the Romney team  Presidential Convention and what has come before: I'll relate, the best I can discern, some political facts right now. I think it is safe to say that Romney has  gathered around him as his closest support , including especially Paul Ryan, those who are not just considering but are whole-heartedly devoted to making sure the most wealthy two percent of Americans are not asked to make any sacrifice. I think it is illusory  to imagine this team giving  up any of the so called Bush tax decreases but  to instead  push  their 'investment money',much of it in tax reduced overseas accounts, tax rates lower still. This is not primarily to be personally richer(one can only live so plush) but to be centralize political power to the neglect of the  infrastructure needs of the nation and  life quality/healthcare/education needs of  the typical  American  individual.  If we do not begin to invest in our land and  people we  will find ourselves even further behind the human progress curve in the world. This emphasis is what is so undervalued  as  part of the 'Ryan Budget Plan' which has already received approval by the House and by Mitt Romney.  None of these things are being mentioned in the convention speeches.
Representative Paul Ryan


I hear no indication that Romney nor his 2 % supporters have any intention of surrendering their personal possession of 50% of America's earned wealth, not their truly earned wealth from an ethical and moral perspective. They see no moral disparity in the way the 'law is' that allows for such an unprecedented stealing of America by the few. I'm not suggesting the other side would not have had the same moral failing if it had fallen their lot to be the country's 'legal' thief.  I suspect they would have  succumbed  to  the very same  unethical pressures from the extravagantly wealthy as this party has.

 As Americans we were inadvertently taught as youth to 'take all we can from the public pool as long as we  make it 'legal' and we give back a portion to our favorite charity.' And we were not warned of the moral trap this would one day cause. That day has arrived and is a fact. 98 % of us typical Americans have not had that moral temptation but the 2 percent have and many have not been equipped with the necessary ethical boundaries  to see it as a national moral dilemma which threatens us all. We deny this absolute definable historic financial reality to our own peril. It is a real and true situation which if not brought  clearer to American consciousness and addressed can be our true moral  national downfall.
A Rather Telling Image


 If  Romney's inner team wins (And it would clearly be their financial power, not the genuine appeal of the  real person  Mitt Romney and his very muddled message, that win.) this election it will prove that such financial power represents nearly total power in America, truly the power to take an election by financial force and deceit. We will have become a very different nation. And not the one that has blessed so many of us or that we, including those being influenced by much purposeful deceit from the Romney campaign, love and admire.


 I wish I could see something more positive than this at work in the Romney Campaign and I will gladly say so if I do in the coming days. I do not enjoy having to make myself more politically literate. It is not at all my basic interest but our country is at a very serious cross roads I think and a political consciousness of many more is greatly needed
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Saturday, August 11, 2012

DREAM: BODY AND SOUL...A Fuller Discovery Of Human Identity...February 21, 2010

A man had a flap of skin that when lifted showed a cross section of his four chambered heart. He also was holding an erect phallus. The man showed his heart to one woman and she was not interested. He showed it to another and she wept.
Human Heart, Metaphorically The Home of  One's Soul And Love

REFLECTION: This for sure is one of those dreams where one says, “ I have never had such a thought or image in my conscious mind. It seems to be totally out of range even of my imagination." This strikes me as a deeply collective and timeless symbol of  the potential 'union of body and soul' of 'heart and head' , 'mind and spirit' of the human being. This dream is likely much more about our Western cultural situation than it has anything to say about me personally. This is a central unity that humans need and hopefully are moving toward in our age. We have just moved from the Age of Pisces(the fishes) which has marked the 2000 years of Christianity to the Age of Aquarius ( the water bearers).  The biological, instinctual and spiritual  seem to be being brought  together via extended Human and Sacred consciousness. The flap of skin that opened to the heart indicates the wounds humanity  has received in finally  arriving at such a new state of  potential consciousness. This is analogous to the wounds of 'heel and head' in the early Genesis story to account for the negatives of human existence. It is analogous to the groin  wound that Jacob received as a result of his wrestling with the Lord and demanding  a blessing. And to the inflicted wound of Jesus' side that brought forth the unity of 'blood and water.'


The man showing his wound to women is the idea that a man  longs to serve  the Soul, the eternal  feminine principle that can be discovered only  'within.'( This  is symbolized for modern man in the consciousness of the  presence of the psychological/spiritual 'anima' figure so common in men's dreams.  Jung conjectured that a human woman  likely has a corresponding male(s) inner image. I personally would not be surprised at that but also believe that human soul is likely more feminine by nature in us all?) The first woman did not yet share in the level of consciousness that the man experienced so rejected his gift. The second woman, most likely a reference to the anima, had already arrived there and so wept for joy when she saw that the  man had found what she had always guided him to discover.

The wounded and open heart and the erect phallus symbols taken together  beautifully and  more fully than most would have imagined  show  'body and soul' united. Christianity has the capacity to bring this image to consciousness but it has not yet in any general or consensus way. So much negativity, which seems may now about to be overcome, was placed on human sexuality in the most powerful arm of  the very early church. Augustine later, along with  the good  he brought, strongly  consigned human sexuality to the inferior and dark place it has has occupied throughout Western history, in both church and culture. This unconsciously was done by Christian teaching to assure that this very unity would not be achieved too early(and escape the necessary learning  curve of the past 2000 years. They did a good job.

I’ve silently wondered from childhood, especially with the onset of puberty and sexual orgasm, 'Surely Jesus experienced this intentionally and consciously as well.?" But like others I repressed that idea as somehow being blasphemous instead of the obvious unbiased  natural conclusion. He just could not possibly be that much 'like me' most of us concluded and our Bible teachers agreed. Rarely was such a question ever asked. But it is asked by many today.  And  I was barely conscious that if I could not identify with Jesus at the most profound and ecstatic of human experience then most identification I managed to make was only intellectual, lacking the full sensations of both mind and heart. This dream symbol is making it clear that my childhood musings were truthful, important and have now become a center of awareness essential for human spiritual/psychological development in our era. 

The movie Man Of  La Mancha, based on the 16th century legend of  unlikely Spanish hero  Don Quixoto,  presents a supreme emotional  moment of spiritual insight. It is another way of symbolizing what the  dream  is emphasizing. On his death bed, where he had forgotten the 'things of his deepest heart' and with the help of   'the feminine',  he remembers more fully who he really  is. He is far more than  just body and brain. He is 'body and soul' and he actually experiences them both as a unity.  He is suddenly aware of both his flesh and his spirit, his body and soul. When he expresses or 'shows' this central and true insight  to the woman she is also moved to her deepest levels of  'heart and soul.'  Both have 'found' that they are more than what today we call our rational ego consciousness- our 'me.' They experience it and the viewer can't imagine  anyone needing to tell or teach them of such a knowledge. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfHnzYEHAow . It is what has always been called, 'revelation' and something that  must 'come' of its own, perhaps after a very long and arduous spiritual journey.  The dream implies that  every human potentially can experience this.  This is the discovery of the 'Self' in Jungian terms or the owning of ones soul of which Jesus asks , 'Who  would be willing to exchange for anything else in the universe?' The emotional moment is expressed by both Don Quixote and His Lady  with welled up  tears of human joy. I think the dream expresses a similar new awareness of themselves  that men and women of today are far more prepared to arrive at consciously than ever before. This is an exciting discovery of a fuller understanding of who we humans really are and what our potential is for a more fully living and loving.  I do not wish to imply that such experience for any mortal can be total and complete in this life but it surely may potentially be a profound life  changing 'repentance' for individuals and the culture generally.

 











Yet how many Jesus admirers today are able to allow this centrally human reality and sensation to have  belonged to Jesus in a fully conscious, celebratory and spiritual way? I’m afraid very few but surely more than ever in the past. The symbolism of this dream would be rejected by most even now because of our uneasiness and negativity regarding our natural God -given sexual nature.  Many, even if deeply touched, would say regarding the movie scene , " Oh Well, it is only a movie.'  What is most important in our day is often referred to as 'an only' and thus is dismissed back to the unconscious from where it tried to reach our full conscious acceptance. 

The dream is asserting that the coming together, the uniting of 'body and soul' , 'head and heart', 'sexuality and spirituality'  is the present evolutionary leap that is essential for the spiritual and evolutionary 'salvation' of the species. This kind of   discovered Consciousness is the place where the strengthened bridge between God and Human, so needed in today’s world, is structured. This need has long been expressed in sacred text, novel, movie, song and even soap opera(common avenues that can reveal  contents of the Collective Unconscious.) But rarely is it brought forth in a religious setting, even though there is much Biblical scripture to support it. This symbol is also an indication of the unity of  the  Greek three aspects of love- Agape(unconditional value and support), Phileo(joyous friendship) and Eros ( visceral bodily desire.) Another cultural breakthrough that greatly encouraged Carl Jung is  the 'Assumption of the fleshly Mary to heaven' by the Catholic Church dogma of 1957. This, against all rational thinking or obvious  scripture support  is an indication of this union of Flesh and Spirit, Sexuality and Spirituality into the Godhead itself. And the recent stories- eg Jesus Christ Superstar , The Last Temptation and The Da Vinci Code- so popularized about Jesus loving a real woman intimately demonstrates the growing conscious need and acceptance of this image of a truly 'body and soul' Jesus. I'm reminded of an old Oak Ridge Boys song that says, " I would have liked him better if he were a little more like me."

Friday, August 10, 2012

NO PERSON WITH ANY DEFECT MAY COME NEAR...Destructive Views Of God..August 2008

Below is an email exchange I had with a long time friend from the same religious background as myself. I had shared with this person that an ALS(Lou Gehrig's Disease) hospital patient had told me she had doubts about God accepting her fully because of her illness and the imperfections of body that the disease caused. She was led to this belief by an Old Testament statement that attributes God as declaring that anyone who has any physical blemish was not worthy to be a full worshiper in the Temple. Here are the words she was rationally applying to herself and her relationship with the Sacred as she understood it. Leviticus 21: 16-24 …..16 The Lord said to Moses, 17 “Say to Aaron: ‘For the generations to come none of your descendants who has a defect may come near to offer the food of his God. 18 No man who has any defect may come near: no man who is blind or lame, disfigured or deformed; 19 no man with a crippled foot or hand, 20 or who is a hunchback or a dwarf, or who has any eye defect, or who has festering or running sores or damaged testicles. 21 No descendant of Aaron the priest who has any defect is to come near to present the food offerings to the Lord. He has a defect; he must not come near to offer the food of his God. 22 He may eat the most holy food of his God, as well as the holy food; 23 yet because of his defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar, and so desecrate my sanctuary. I am the Lord, who makes them holy. ’”
24 So Moses told this to Aaron and his sons and to all the Israelites. NIV

Deformity Was  Reason For God, as perceived, To Reject Worshiper

Dear Friend.   I know what you mean about how our 'background' regarding how to think of God has negatively affected our perspective. This is the dark side of any fundamentalist (written, legalistic and arbitrary) religious teaching. And the mainline churches are often just as much at fault in assuming such dark and irresponsible images of God. Much religious teaching has tended to place in us a view of God being primarily an 'outside Holy judge',  or 'sugar daddy in the sky', pretty much like a big and all powerful  person, who continuously is making decisions about who is going to have what happen to them for good or bad.  This very easily becomes a  'bully' image of God with everyone trying to stay on his good side. Many  families tragically copy that model usually with some male in the role of the   'Bully god.'
God , As Perceived, Rejected  Crippled Persons from Full worship

I know its not easy to 'not' think of God that way, as a super powerful person who is in charge,  but it is no longer my image of God. And I'm confident it is the general picture I get of Jesus in the gospels that has led me away from such a destructive image of God. I have in good conscience necessarily rejected that older notion as how to think about God. It does not fit with and support the image of being a responsible and loving human being who believes that all persons are equally valued and who have the same need and inalienable right to live and grow in their own true God given nature. What I consider higher images of God in the Bible, such as Jesus being a model of the nature of God, I find to be in harmony with these ideals of what it means to be a responsible and loving human being. To cling to a view of God as the 'great arbitrary decider in the sky' who has dictated  in a book his perfect and exact law for all time  leads to many inconsistencies in real life and lack of authenticity, which in turn lead to a view of God that becomes more and more irrelevant to the person seeking to responsibly live from both heart and head.


My own human experience, along with reading the Bible with honest discrimination, tells me different from what I was first taught and I see the harm that comes from such an arbitrary and distant  God image.  Our background, not that there was not also much good in it,  taught us to 'look down' on various groups or types of human beings instead of  accepting and looking for how we are connected mutually with them all and all sharing what is Biblically called the 'image of God.' Our background views of God have generated much  anger at such an arbitrary God, whom we should be angry at if God were that way, and much prejudice toward   very large parts of the human race whom we see as the 'other'. The 'other' may be  people on the other side of the world  or 'harmless ones' we have put into our own prisons for non-violent crime because we can. Or any other kinds of 'others' we generate for ourselves from our unexamined 'images of God' , of what we've come to believe God must actually be like and how God's nature and ours are  interrelated in actual experience.


The Biblical texts, to the extent they are taken as manuscripts directly dictated from God and which show the full and real nature of God which we are justified in accepting  without any discriminating thought, will produce exactly these negative views of God  described above. Instead we have the responsible choice of  seeing  the Bible as, though  a fascinating and extremely important  spiritual resource of our culture, still very much humanly produced displaying limited human views of the fullness of God.    ( Look at what my lady with ALS is doing to herself with this Leviticus passage. If she does it to herself imagine what harm she can potentially do to others as well if they listen to her perspective of God. This passage presents God saying of anyone with a physical imperfection... “But because he has a defect, he must not go near the curtain or approach the altar. He is not to desecrate My sanctuaries, for I am Yahweh who sets them apart.”verse 23. )  Without these precautions we will see ourselves, others and God in these very destructive relationships.

 This is where many persons in the world are now I think with respect to their religiosity. Other major world religions have also used their writings in the same non-discriminating way  we have ours. This is the meaning of fundamentalism. So we stand poised to suspect, ignore, resent, hate and destroy each other for having different takes on God. People like you,  me and  many others are becoming aware of this danger but it is still hard to  break out of our religious self centeredness regarding the big picture which life presents to us.  It is important that we see all written descriptions of God as human visions of god which humans have had as the race developed- not as final and complete views of the ultimate Sacred. Such statements as the Leviticus one must be seen in that light. Scripture which  claim violence, abuse and favoritism by God as God's actual will for humanity simply need to be seen, for numerous reasons, for the danger they are.

There are  some wonderful  life enriching themes in the OT. including the great spiritual need for humans to not accept as normal being 'under the bondage and dominance' of others such as being 'slaves of Egypt.' That God calls us to 'exodus' such bondage and  create  communities where  all are 'free' to be who and what God has made all humans to be in our great diversity. And where we truly do seek to put aside our  self-proclaimed  and incomplete 'images of God'. Another help is the O.T. theme  that humans come to find ourselves in various ways in 'exile'  and 'on a journey' back to who and where we have come. This is where many of us are now...in a kind of exile with a vision of what life on earth is suppose to be.....one where there truly is  ' the justice and  acceptance of  a God who loves embraces us all' . This is an image of a God who wants all to benefit from the bounties of this productive earth. Not a world where a few dominate and squander, where the many barely are able to live. Where some have top notch medical care while many other families  are without any.  These kinds of discriminatory and harsh realities are not God's will as I , and I think many others, now image God from a positive Biblical perspective. And having charity  organizations is not a sufficient answer to fulfill this vision. The political and religious systems  of domination and unfairness must be changed for the realization of this vision of  'God's will being done'.

A God Image That Is  Opposite And Contradicts That of Leviticus 21
Then come the NT gospels with a vision of a human who embodies  what God is really like.  To Jesus all of the 'purity' laws(including the Leviticus statement above) so common of the O.T. god  Yahweh must be transcended in the name of love and human dignity. Jesus would have never quoted   O.T. purity passages that so many quote today as ways to marginalize and discredit the value, needs  and loves of fellow humans. We can see in the gospels a portrait of the character qualities of what all humans are destined to become. They are to also come into the fullness of who they have always been, similar as a mature Oak tree is present in an acorn,  which according  the gospel portrait, is to be like Jesus( In the sense of finding a similar courage and compassion in life that motivated him. And thus to be of the same heart as  a  God of compassion, acceptance and  justice. Surely not the  Yahweh God pictured in Leviticus 21:16-24) 

This is how Christianity has positively  imaged God for us. And it is such a Biblical image of God when lived out that will make our communities and world better and far closer to Jesus' prayer of it, 'being on Earth as it is in Heaven.' Other world religions have in their religious texts similar images of God which can potentially support each others views of the ultimate God. We can all learn something from each other. And maybe the  so called 'non religious' might just have some notions about God that religious folks should listen to as well. Surely, no one has a monopoly on the question of what is the necessary nature of God that is developing in human hearts around the world..


I'm rambling but these are the general ways that the Bible can still be such an eye opener to the reality that is at the heart of the mystery of God -- the destiny of humanity, the goal to which we have always been pointed.  We are far, as the human race, from that goal but there is much more consciousness and awareness of it now, and some of our common pitfalls, than ever before.  It remains to be seen whether there is enough awareness and  determined will in the hearts of enough humans who have the luxury of even considering such things-most in the world do not- to turn the tide ..... or  else to fall back into focusing on how others are 'different', to be feared , ignored and maybe hated; and mostly to outdated images of God that lead us back  to what many see as the 'good old days' rather than to the future that we have been created to enter. 

Thanks for listening to these thoughts. I hope there is some consistency and authenticity in my statement. I will continue for sure  trying  to make more practical sense and application from such thoughts about the nature of God. All this has been stirred in me from my ALS patient's question about an archaic Bible passage which was being  extremely destructive to her well being.  Take care. Jim

On Wed, 20 Aug 2008 04:14:06 +0000 writes:
Jim,
As a 'Southern Baptist  along with my COC background'.. I could feel the pain of the lady you e-mailed me about. How mixed-up we have been to take the Bible so literally. In Leviticus 21: 16-24 was God discriminating against sick or handicapped people? I do believe that  he was referring to Priests that they had a certain life-standard/example to set before the people. However, we All have the New Testament, the Good News.....Jesus...It is just so hard for us Southern Baptist or other religious denominations to accept the plain fact that Jesus loves us all.........no matter what & that God created each &every one of us for his purpose, whatever that may be.........we may not find out until we get to heaven. In the meanwhile my heart goes out to her......because, I once felt this way. "I'm not trying to earn my way to Heaven or even justify my life...good or illness........trying  to look at everyone as Jesus would & especially love the handicapped, elderly, sick, disabled or just sinners. She sounds like a dear lady who needs to back off the rules as she was taught & let the light of Jesus shine through.
Bless you


Thursday, August 9, 2012

DREAM: EROS AND WHOLNESS RELATED...April 15, 2012

DREAM: This was a striking dream that came only once. This time I was somewhat aware I was dreaming. The 'spiritual woman', of many of my dreams, was sitting at an orderly business desk with a pleasant expression on her face. I was extremely interested in seeing her. There was a square wall picture hanging behind her and to her left. As I continued paying attention to her the picture moved from the wall to being suspended in air right next to her. There was a voice saying, " Do you see this is an adult tree in a square frame?"
The Mona Lisa

REFLECTION:
Every dream appearance of the 'spiritual woman' is extremely encouraging to me. It seems to encourage the prediction that the dream I have carried all my life, even before I was fully conscious of it, may become an outer reality. That dream is to be living in a mutual fully developed partnership with a real woman whom I adore. Such a relationship has, I have come to understand in recent decades, always been imaged and fantasized by me as one where love as the Greek Agape( unconditional loyalty and valuing), Phileo(joyous friendship) and Eros(visceral bodily attraction) are united. This seems to be the inner promise and need that my life has been circling closer and closer to from the time I was a young teen, nearly as far back as my mother's death at age 9. A song that captures the felt value of such  love is Charlie Chaplin's 'A Seranade To Love.'  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=872dBEw9-mY

The 'Mona Lisa' by  Leonardo da Vinci  about 1505 is acclaimed, "the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world." The name Mona is believed to be a contraction of  Madonna , often referring to Mary, mother of Jesus,  meaning 'my lady.' This surely is a strong cultural presentation from our Collective Unconscious of what Carl Jung described as the inherent unconscious image of woman or 'anima.'  It has focused  for the West's consciousness  for five centuries the 'mystery of woman'  and the fundamental and natural  'feminine principle.'  Likely every relationship a person has with the female from mother to lover to wife to  dream images  of a witch is greatly influenced and shaped by our deeply embedded unconscious 'image of woman.' This kind of terminology and  psychological concept  is the best I have for describing the possible dynamics and origins of the nearly life-long dream which  I now can see has been a kind of ultimate guide and goal of my particular inner life.

I entered marriage fully expecting to find there the fulfillment of this dream and  Beverly and I  were both at times and in different ways disturbingly shocked and disappointed. That does not distract one iota from the immeasurable value and supportive loving nature of Bev's and my marriage. But we both came to know there was something more to be discovered. Eventually we no longer denied that reality as we had done for decades. The rest of the first forty years of our lives were lived with a continuous hope that our marriage relationship would evolve into such a love dream realized, but it never was able to transport us further in that direction. This was a much more important learning experience than either of us could have known at the time.

The spiritual awakening and 'confrontation with the unconscious' beginning for me at age 41 amplified my life-long dream and gave it a much stronger spiritual foundation. My hope has been kept alive by images and symbolic message from the unconscious, primarily by dreams,  regularly since then. I've had to face in the most recent decade that time is running out for this to happen in my outer life. My health issues have literally made my physical death or disability an increased likelihood. Also my age has come to a point where it might reasonably be expected that the Erotic aspect of the dream has reached a point of no longer being a relevant possibility. I should make clear that Eros experienced is not identical with libido physical function.*

So here this dream lures me again into the ever declining possibility of such a love still being an outer reality for me. It seems similar, in this regard, to the ancient story of Abraham and Sarah being promised a child when their child bearing years were long past. I again began to yearn for this union with a a beloved life partner as I was reminded in this dream. Then the dream, by moving the picture to float next to the woman, forces the 'Old Tree in a Square Frame' on my attention. It is a reminder to me that such an outer love relationship is not the ultimate goal of my human life, but 'Wholeness' is.
Do You See This  Is An Adult Tree In A Square Frame?

I am very susceptible to such a love relationship being a higher value to the meaning of my life than the Wholeness of personal development is. The spiritual goal of life, I have come to endorse, is to reach toward 'wholeness' which may be defined as the seeming irreconcilable 'opposites' common to ones religion and culture being transcended and united within the mind and heart of the person. This I think is in line with  the 'perfection' that Jesus is pictured saying is the goal of life. He says, 'Be ye perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect.' This is the 'prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus' that is in Paul's theology. Every genuine religious faith and spiritual discipline has its own way of describing this goal of human life. To the Christian alchemists of medieval times it was the the production of the  'philosopher's Stone.' The dream voice is showing how vulnerable I am to so valuing an outer love relationship that I forget that it is the 'process of spiritual development' that is the true prize and goal of my life. This still means also that the 'quest for love' is the central purpose of human life. But it is in following that quest, not its necessary achievement, that the process of individuation moves one closer to the state of wholeness. Neither love nor wholeness can ever be totally attained by a mortal, simply because no human consciousness can ever fully integrate the  contents of the Collective Unconscious or the Sacred source of all that is or can be. I can't help reflect here not only on the meaning of life imaged in the Jesus story but also well presented in the song from the Don Quixote story in the movie Man From Le Mancha. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RfHnzYEHAow

As I write this and try to hear the message of the dream I can see that it is easy for me to 'say' that I more highly value the Wholeness of Life above a mortal spiritual  love relationship. But I'm not convinced that is the truth of my actual experience. It was the goal of an intimate partnership with a beloved woman that initially inspired my deepest  inner life. I came to find, to my grateful surprise, that this was coming from my spiritual center, not just my basic animal sex-drive nature. Such an experience for me I am confident would be an experience of the reuniting of the opposites including 'Flesh and Spirit', 'Agape and Eros', 'Body and Soul', 'Male and Female' to name a few. I think the dream is strongly reminding me that the potential of such an earthly love relationship is a product of the spiritual/psychological process of individuation rather than the other way around.

The voice says, as if to change my focus from the Spiritual Woman to the picture, " Jim, do you see this symbol? This is an 'old mature tree' and it is framed as a square." It is asking me to think and try to comprehend what these together mean. These individually are both two of the most common and rich symbols of Wholeness. The old tree may be the most readily available symbol in nature of wholeness. It is truly universal. The tree reaches up to heaven and into the deepest soil of the earth. It blesses the outer world while taking its nutrients and direction from the unseen world. It feeds the Flesh and inspires the Spirit of humans and it has done this throughout human history. It is a symbol of 'Wholeness' par excellence. It is the 'tree of life' in all manner of religions.  Jung demonstrated the Square to be a rich and timeless product of the human psyche that has suggested wholeness and completion in the most ancient of human art, religion and writing. So the dream is giving me some strong assurance that I am on the graced path of such spiritual development. And that if one of these two realities had to be chosen over the other it should be what the 'Tree In A Square' means over what the image of the mortal woman means. It is the former that makes the latter possible not the other way around. Even though it is my experience that the image of a love partnership led me to an awareness that it is Wholeness or Individuation that is the supreme goal of the human life.

I recall the first time I ever received communion in the reformed tradition as compared to the tradition of my religious heritage. The officiant after the words of consecration and thanks broke a large piece of bread from a loaf. And he began to masticate the bread chewing on it strongly and intentionally. This captured my attention. I was used to taking a tiny piece of cracker and practically sucking on it to dissolve in my mouth. The way the pastor 'ate the body' added to the ritual a strong sense of the fleshly and earthy  humanness compared to the highly spiritual tiptoeing way I had always seen the bread received. This is a single example of my becoming more conscious,without being able to articulate it, that the Eucharist can be an experience of uniting the opposites of 'Flesh and Spirit' of 'Earth and Heaven' of 'Body and Soul' of 'Human and Sacred.'

I offer the above example for also somewhere I began to realize that the love of two human life partners is one that is also meant to bring together and keep together these same kind of opposite pairs, especially 'Heaven and Earth', Agape and Eros' and 'Male and Female.' As I was further immersed into these kinds of realities about life and love I was at the same time , without knowing it , on a path of individuation. The dream does present them both together. It minimizes neither. One was a natural and given part of my deepest longing, hope and consciousness , intimate human love; and the other, of which I was totally unconscious and needed to learn about-Individuation moving toward wholeness. The dream powerfully and simply acknowledges the great value and proper balance of both and seems to offer the hope and possibility of both becoming a reality.

I know myself well enough to realize that should I find myself in loving relationship with a beloved woman I could easily feel, think and say, " I no longer have interest or need for personal development toward Wholeness, Completion or Individuation for I have what I most want and need in this love relationship." This is my weakness and blind side that the dream is warning about. I hope that my  accepting, acknowledging and agreeing  with this dream's message,  as fully as I'm consciously able, is sufficient to cause me to not make that mistake no matter the future. I need to remember and keep clear that a mutual love relationship is a gift of God and can only be fully lived, appreciated and valued by one whose goal remains to, "Seek first the Kingdom of God." Jim H.

*http://jhibbett.blogspot.com/2011/08/reformation-of-love-date-unknown-note.html

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

THIS WOLRD IS THE ONLY HOME WE KNOW...December 2010..note to Edward Fudge.

Edward. You are very succinct in stating clearly the basic orthodox Christian interpretation of  Biblical themes including this one. All these  images of scripture are meaningful to me and I take them much more symbolically than literal. Sometimes I'm sure I am taking them differently than the author meant them consciously.  Let me explain.  I think I , and others can also, am often hearing what is coming through the authors from the Collective Unconscious. Something is being said at a deeper level than the speaker is aware of. That is the nature of the process that has always been called revelation(something new and more is 'revealed' to the human.)  One says more than she realizes at the time. All of us have such moments and we wonder , 'where did that come from?' of some unexpected  but  important statement from our own mouth. I'm confident  this goes on with all humans, especially in our statements of faith and religion. There were times in human history, which lacked the critical thinking our culture puts everything through, when the level of human objectivity did not so easily prevent the Unconscious from presenting itself in symbols through the writing  and art of  inspired authors, including the Biblical authors. The unconscious symbols also are more likely to come through when individuals and cultures are going through horrific suffering  or unwelcome changes, which is the case of  Bible materials  and now also in our own era.   Such woundedness make us less guarded from the contents of the Unconscious.  Because this is the language of the Collective Unconscious, and not of  'only' the individual speaking,  is why  most every non literal  image or symbol found in scripture can also be found in other totally different times and cultures. The symbols of Christianity, its most central and lesser ones, fall into this category. I hear many of those symbols surfacing in these statements you quote from Paul. The last paragraph is not the way we actually speak or write  in everyday conversation but it is the words of litany, ritual  or symbol.
I think the literal sounding description of 'heaven' as being a 'there' greatly misrepresents even what many scripture authors meant by the concept. It is making the things of the Spirit become matters of physical geography to people.  How many Christians still think of heaven not only as a literal 'place' but even in an 'upward' direction from the earth? This is imposing literal thinking on ancient symbolic material. Surely it is rather clear that Jesus' teaching on the Kingdom of Heaven is not about a place 'there' where there 'are no tears.'  But a quality of life that is possible to experience and we are urged to receive such  now  in our earthly life. Think about it, if the state of mind from which real tears were forever and always removed would we still be human? Are not what 'tears' represent essential if we are to also experience its opposite, ' joy unspeakable and full of glory.'  Many today will admit that such a 'perfect'  heaven is not what their ideal human experience would be if they were choosing.

Psychologically so much of the Biblical language is referring to the process of  possible human development that is  referred to as 'salvation' and similar symbols. The Christ, the Savior represents the psychological Self which is the source and  goal of natural  human spiritual development. This process , called by Jung Individuation, can be more likely what the symbolic 'salvation'  language is referring to. This implies that  to seek salvation in a far-off heaven beyond our human life may take our eye off the actual goal  right now  that is implanted in our hearts by God. A goal  we are to continually  seek now, not later. And it is clear in John's gospel such salvation and eternal life are what we can expect to be  realities and happenings in our mortal human life in this world that is now very much our only home. The emphasis is not on after life although there is no reason for one from these symbols to deny some kind of  continued conscious existence. It is just not usually what the symbols and thus the language of much of the Bible, in my understanding,  is referring to. I certainly used to think in such a way and see now that I was cheating myself of a much fuller point of view.

I think I am also well acquainted with illness, declining physical capacity and  the darkness of death as you and others are. But I still get from Biblical and other expressions that rise from the unconscious, including modern dreams, that our focus as humans for the full meaning of life is to stay closely in touch with our true and only environment, 'this world.' It is possible for humans as they move through the process to become more and more at home 'in this world' for they are more and more experiencing the coming together of the 'other  Sacred world' into and a  part of our natural  human  lives. So I take that even the discouragements  you describe here should not necessarily, and I say shouldn't, make us  turn to  the desire or need to 'get some place else' where  we can finally have the fullest experience of God that is humanly possible. It is still in the here and now; wounds, loss, weakness and all, that our most profound experience of the Sacred is capable of happening  with each of us.

I would hear the emphasis by Jesus and Paul on love as being  the key in  where we look for whatever the 'greatest' reality or experience for humans lies. It is staying open, curious and expecting love to still become more real and present and conscious in our lives where we should look  for both our own mortal future and that of our whole race. Paul said it so clearly, that  it is not visions of afterlife, hope or faith or 'somewhere else' that should excite us and keep us full of hope and belief  but  it is 'love only that is the greatest of all things' and nothing else, certainly not some other place even taken metaphorically. For it is only in the world that we humans can come to experience love to its fullest  most conscious extent. It is our earthiness and not just our sacred aspect that makes the fullness of love possible. It is not just a heavenly reality but is necessarily for us  an earthly one. We are way too quick to give up on our search for love and the mystery of how it can become fully developed and conscious  in a human life and in our whole human culture. This all requires 'this world and its physicality' to be its fullest realization. For it has to do with the unity of  'heaven and earth', of ' flesh and spirit', of  'agape(unconditional loyalty), phileo(enjoyed friendship) and Eros(visceral bodily attraction).' We stray from our rightful place as humans  when we surrender to one or the other of the opposites. Just as we seek to not abide only in the earth and the flesh, neither should we rush only toward  heaven and the spirit. Love can only happen and become fully conscious when the opposites are united and balanced, neither overshadowing the other.

The experience of human  love for another I have to conclude can be something 'in this world' that having experienced a human would have to confess, "There can be nothing anywhere anytime that can be more Sacred and God filled than this...love.  Any attempt to seek something better or more than such love can only result in something that is less."  Such love would cause one to have no desire to find anything sweeter, anything more ecstatic or anything more godly or heavenly than they know they have already found still in this world.  This is what I believe is humanly  possible and it is what I think most of the symbolic salvation language including the meaning of  'The Christ' and the life of Jesus are actually all about at the psychological/spiritual level. 

Friends And Lovers

So the greatest goal in life becomes not to get somewhere else called heaven that is not possibly available here and now. But it is to take with us the highest conscious experience of 'love' that  it lies within us to have as the gift of God. It stays all important for as long as we are mortal human to be 'looking for' and hopefully 'finding and seeing' love in this world which is our very special  home. That means that the continued spiritual/psychological development process  whose goal is the fullest consciousness  of love is the only fully worthy goal of a human life. And I think this goal alone can prevent a human from mistakenly shifting to a goal of a 'there',  another world and place,  that is not our real home at all. 

 If your closing meditation sentence of symbols were taken to be a description of the  Individuation process that takes place in this world  and in our embodied spirits by uniting our mortal selves with what was once to us the 'other world of the Sacred',  then  it uplifts my spirit and  encourages me to continue to not  ever consider that anything is more important  for a goal of life than the conscious happening of human/Sacred love.   All of the symbols in that statement including  Christ, Eternal Son, Reconciliation, God and Father are part of  the symbolic language of the Collective Unconscious and they all refer to realities that wait to be discovered  within ourselves  and are  aspects of the process that leads to a close approximation of consciously  realized  'Infinite  Love' 

Blessings, Jim

On Sun, 12 Dec 2010 06:51:38 -0500 "Edward Fudge" <edward@edwardfudge.com> writes:



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THIS WORLD IS NOT MY HOME



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The larger truth, as we all know in our most serious moments, is that this world is preparatory to another, for which God is doing all that we will allow to get us ready. "Our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Phil 3:20). "Those who buy something [should behave] as if it were not theirs to keep; those who use the things of the world, as if not engrossed in them. For this world in its present form is passing away" (1 Cor 7:30--31). Bernard of Cluny was right--"Brief life is here our portion, the tearless life is there."
Immortality is Christ's accomplishment and the Christian's hope. Mortality is what I am encountering more and more frequently in daily experience. The notion that we don't have time to be sick, or that infirmity only comes to other people, quickly vanishes when illness actually strikes. The truth is that from the day we leave the womb, we are dying people living in broken bodies in a fallen world. Sickness is not the wonder -- wellness is the grace. Saying so is not yielding to morbidity but simply telling the truth.
We live, die, and, after the resurrection, meet our Maker. To the believer, that is a sweet promise, not a threat or a warning. The "good news" of the gospel is (as the contemporary communion meditation in the Book of Common Prayer reminds us), that God "in [his] infinite love made us for [himself], and when we had fallen into sin and become subject to evil and death, [he] in his mercy, sent Jesus Christ, [his] only and eternal Son, to share our human nature, to live and die as one of us, to reconcile us to [himself], the God and Father of us all." He will never leave us or forsake us now and nothing can separate us from his love. Hallelujah!

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