… a radar detector in a Smart Car.
“If you’d like to use our voice activated response system, please press ’1′ “
A few quotes from this excellent paper [Stein. Individuation: Inner Work. JOURNAL OF JUNGIAN THEORY AND PRACTICE (2005) vol. 7 (2) pp. 1-13. Available online here]
The principle of individuation defines the essence of the human. It is
absolutely fundamental to human beings to distinguish themselves from their
surroundings. This is the essential nature of individual consciousness: to be itself,
it must create distinctions and separateness. It is in accord with human nature,
therefore, to seek individuation. Individuation is not optional, not conditional, not
subject to vagaries of cultural differences. It is essential.
The opus of individuation, therefore, requires careful analysis on two fronts:
on the persona side, to differentiate the subject from the social collective all
around and to dissolve the identifications that have built up over time in one’s
personal history, and on the anima/animus side, to differentiate from the collec-
tive unconscious as the fantasies and archetypal images emerge and invite
grandiose identification with them as a compensation for what has been lost
through the analysis of the persona.
The Churches stand for traditional and collective convictions which in the case of many of their adherents are no longer based on their own inner experience but on unreflecting belief, which is notoriously apt to disappear as soon as one begins thinking about it. The content of belief then comes into collision with knowledge, and it often turns out that the irrationality of the former is no match for the ratiocinations of the latter. Belief is no adequate substitute for inner experience, and where this is absent even a strong faith which came miraculously as a gift of grace may depart equally miraculously. People call faith the true religious experience, but they do not stop to consider that actually it is a secondary phenomenon arising form the fact that something happened to us in the first place which instilled pistis into us — that is, trust and loyalty. This experience has a definite content that can be interpreted in terms of one or other of the denominational creeds. But the more this is so, the more the possibilities of these conflicts with knowledge mount up, which in themselves are quite pointless. That is to say, the standpoint of the creeds is archaic; they are full of impressive mythological symbolism which, if taken literally, comes into insufferable conflict with knowledge. But if, for instance, the statement that Christ rose form the dead is to be understood not literally but symbolically, then it is capable of various interpretations that do not conflict with knowledge and do not impair the meaning of the statement. The objection that understanding it symbolically puts an end to the Christian’s hope of immortality is invalid, because long before the coming of Christianity mankind believed in a life after death and therefore had no need of the Easter event as a guarantee of immortality. The danger that a mythology understood too literally, and as taught by the Church, will suddenly be repudiated lock, stock and barrel is today greater than ever. Is it not time that the Christian mythology, instead of being wiped out, was understood symbolically for once? [Jung, C.G., "The Undiscovered Self," CW vol. 10, par. 521.]
In depth psychology, the Self is the regulating center of the psyche as opposed to the ego which is the center of consciousness. The Self is also “the central archetype or archetype of wholeness.”  There are many themes and images that refer to the Self: wholeness, union of opposites, the world navel, the transformation of energy, &c. The Self is “the central source of life energy, the fountain of our being which is most simply described as God. Indeed, the richest sources for the phenomenological study of the Self are in the innumerable representations that man has made of the deity.” 
The question is: Is the Self equal to God, thereby placing God inside man’s psyche, or is there a God outside of man’s psyche of which the Self is a symbol or reflection? I shall look at how Jung and several Jungian analysts answer this question.
Jung’s answer is the former but with a qualification. “What one could almost call a systematic blindness is simply the effect of the prejudice that God is outside man. … It would be a regrettable mistake if anybody should take my observations as a kind of proof of the existence of God. They probe only the existence of an archetypal God-image, which to my mind is the most we can assert about God psychologically.”  In other words: “[T]he [S]elf cannot be distinguished from an archetypal God-image” 
Edward F. Edinger agrees but with a slightly different argument: “According to the psychological standpoint man cannot get outside his own psyche. All experience is therefore psychic experience. This means that it is impossible, experientially, to distinguish between God and the God-image in the psyche. My use of the term ‘God’ in this chapter, therefore, always refers to the God-image in the psyche, i.e., the Self.” 
Lionel Corbett is also inconclusive: “[N]uminous experience arises from an autonomous level of the psyche that is either the source of, or the medium for, the transmission of religious experience: empirically we cannot say which.” 
John Dourely , however, taking up Corbett’s argument, does come to a conclusion. In a nutshell, his argument is the following: a) If the psyche is the source of the religious experience then there is no need for a God outside the psyche. b) If the psyche is the medium of the religious experience then the question is, given a God outside the psyche, why would this God resort to “such an ambivalent medium as the unconscious to make his presence and project known to humanity.” [p. 46] If God creates the unconscious as a mediator, Occam’s razor would surely do away with this superfluous entity in favor of the conclusion that the unconscious is the source. “The option for the unconscious as the source of the numinous would lead to the sparse yet organic conception of a wholly intrapsychic transcendence, one that would affirm that the unconscious infinitely transcends ego consciousness but that nothing transcends the total psyche.” [p. 46]
Ann Ulanov  urges caution with these lines of arguments but does so presupposing a God that transcends the psyche. “The fear that meets a psychological approach to theological symbols is that we thereby reduce them to psychological factors. God the Father really comes down to our oedipal complex, writ large. … We talk of ego relating to Self instead of soul to God. God, who transcends creatures and all creation, shrinks to a factor in the human consciousness. The Self may transcend the ego, but does it transcend the psyche?” [p. 63] The upshot of Ulanov’s argument seems to be a hesitation in equating the Self with God because the Self may not transcend the psyche but God certainly does. Furthermore, Edinger’s approach, says Ulanov, of removing the religious traditions from the symbols and looking at them psychologically without the need for doctrines and the religious community leads to a “lonely journey and one in danger of intellectualizing.” [p. 63] Ulanov’s answer also seems to be inconclusive in that she suggests we “look into our own God complex and discern its roots in personal biography, in collective containers, and in core archetypal imagery. Then, and only then, do we come face to face with the big questions, such as: Does this power to create and find images for the center of reality exist within us, or outside us, or both?” [p. 64] However, Ulanov seems to answer this question as she describes the Self’s role as imago Dei and collector of all parts of the psyche, the ego included, into dialogue. In this role, images of the Self “carry into consciousness the Deus absconditus, the God hidden in the unconscious.” [p. 66] God is, therefore, within us. But she also says, “God reaches us through the psyche, that it, too, is part of the flesh in which the Holy incarnates, manifests.” [p. 66] The implication here is that God is also outside us and incarnates within our psyche — were God totally within, there would be no need to incarnate in our psyche as he is already there.
Personally, and at the present moment, what makes sense to me is the approach of Jung/Edinger/Dourley in that I am not positing a God outside the psyche.
I am not, however, addressing myself to the happy possessors of faith, but to those many people for whom the light has gone out, the mystery has faded, and God is dead. For most of them there is no going back, and one does not know either whether going back is always the better way, To gain an understanding of religious matters, probably all that is left us today is the psychological approach. That is why I take these thought-forms that have become historically fixed, try to melt them down again and pour them into moulds of immediate experience. It is certainly a difficult undertaking to discover connecting links between dogma and immediate experience of psychological archetypes, but a study of the natural symbols of the unconscious gives us the necessary raw material. 
Perhaps I have not yet come to the point of asking the “big questions” Ulanov proposes and at that point I may well find that God is outside the psyche as well as within. But, for now, I am exactly as Jung describes: I am not a “happy possessor of faith” and, to me, the God of my youth is dead. The journey I have embarked upon — albeit of no choice of my own — is, indeed, a lonely one as Ulanov suggests, and there is great danger in intellectualizing. The key, I think, is to retain the “experience of psychological archetypes” as the counterbalance to the intellectualizing and to maintain a grounding with another person who can understand the journey as the counterbalance to the danger of becoming identified with the archetypal energies.
 Edinger, E.F., Ego and Archetype, p. 3.
 Edinger, E.F., Ego and Archetype, p. 4.
 Jung, Psychology and Religion, CW 11, par. 100, 102.
 Jung, A Psychological Approach to the Trinity, CW 11, par. 238.
 Edinger, E.F., The Creation of Consciousness, p. 91.
 Corbett, Lionel, The religious function of the psyche, p. 8.
 Dourley, John, “Jung and the Recall of the Gods,” Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, vol. 8 no. 1 (2006) pp. 43-53.
 Ulanov, Ann, “Theology after Jung,” Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, vol. 8 no. 1 (2006) pp. 61-68.
 Jung, Psychology and Religion, CW 11, par. 148.
Psychopomp: Psy”cho*pomp\, n. [Gr. ?; psychh` the soul + ? to send: cf. F. psychopompe.] (Myth.) A leader or guide of souls . –J. Fiske. [Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary, © 1996, 1998 MICRA, Inc.]
Jung … describe[s] the dynamic of humanity and divinity as functions of each other in some detail. Basically this dynamic takes on the form of a never-to-be-completed psychic cycle. In the first moment the soul regresses to an immersion in and identity with the energies of the divine. In the second moment the soul then mediates these energies to consciousness. When the cycle is taken in its totality, Jung is found to be saying that the moment of the soul’s identity with God is the necessary prelude to the birthing of the divine in human consciousness. His Answer to Job describes the same process in terms of a baptism, the baptism of consciousness into and from the pleroma, the creative and formless source of all form and consciousness. In every analysis reliant on dreams this process is at work as the dreams take the soul into the depths of the psyche and then speak directly to consciousness through the soul from her immersion in these depths. This process makes of the analyst both the observer and the catalyst in the baptism of the individual into the life of the individual’s evolving myth as that individual’s greatest contribution to the emerging societal myth. [Dourley, John, “Jung and the Recall of the Gods,” Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice (2006) vol. 8 (1) pp. 43-53. Emphasis added]
Dourley’s description of the dream resonates with me like nothing I’ve read by Jung. There are moments when Jung waxes poetic as when he describes the dream as “a little hidden door in the innermost and secret recesses of the soul, opening into that cosmic night which was psyche long before there was any ego-consciousness, and which will remain psyche no matter how far our ego-consciousness extends.” [Jung, CW 10, par. 304.] But most of what I’ve read by Jung concerning dreams has been more clinical: “impartial, spontaneous products of the unconscious psyche,” [Jung, CW 10, par. 317.] “autonomous psychic complexes which form themselves out of their own material,” [Jung, CW 8, par. 580.] “a highly objective, natural product of the psyche,” [Jung, CW 7, par. 210.] “a psychological adjustment, a compensation absolutely necessary for properly balanced action.” [Jung, CW 8, par. 469.] While these characterizations offer invaluable insight into the mechanisms, causes, and purposes of dreams, Dourley’s one-line commentary provides a palpable connection for me. It undoubtedly has to do with my current life-path coordinates which place me in the domain and under the strong, seemingly autonomous influence of reevaluating my connection with Christianity.
For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. [Galatians 3:27]
The symbolism of the soul being immersed in the psyche which has the Self (the imago Dei, of which the Christ is a symbol) at the center is a very powerful, personal statement of the role of the dream. It evokes Paul’s words of being “baptized into Christ” with the dream initiating the baptism. In the Greek, “put on” has the meaning of donning clothes but with the idea of “sinking into” the garment. Could there be a better descriptor for our soul, under the influence and following the urging of the dream, falling down into the depths of the psyche to be immersed, clothed, as it were, in the psyche as the Self is? As we are immersed, “baptized into Christ” each night, we “put on Christ” both inwardly, as our soul is enveloped in the unconscious, and outwardly, as we integrate the dream contents – the direct communication of the dream with our consciousness through our soul – into our waking, outer life. The dream, then, is the psychopomp, the conduit between us – the “outer world” us – and the numinous. It brings the soul face to face with the Self, our imago Dei, the Christ, and it then brings to consciousness the words, ideas, concepts, from the Self, from the Christ. In both extremes – deep in the unconscious and in consciousness – the dream allows us to be in the presence of the numinous.
Several reports of “ken sightings” have been received. Most claim he has been visiting local coffee shops with Elvis, so they are suspect, at best. After a month and a half of not posting to his blog, it is feared that foul play may be involved. However, after much searching, a reader of his blog was contacted and provided this anonymous statement:
Yeah, he’s done this before. He goes for weeks, sometimes months, without a post.
Authorities are not acting at this point due to his eratic behavior in the past.
Religion and Reality: True Religion Is Not Belief in Any “God”-Idea but the Direct Experiential Realization of Reality Itself, by The Avataric Great Sage, Adi Da Samraj. The Dawn Horse Press, 2006.
A common notion about “God” or the Divine is that of another – a “Somebody Else” in the room even when I am alone. Adi Da’s viewpoint is “no matter how many people are in the room, there is still only One Person there!” [p.26] This “Somebody Else” is usually seen as a Great Parent analogous to the infant/parent relationship. In this sense, “religion tends to be a solution for a rather infantile problem: the need to be protected, sustained, and made to feel that everything is all right and that everything is going to be all right …” [p.27] Conventional religion, then, is the domain of the immature, childish, adolescent and not of “real human maturity.” All the ideas of God seeing all you do, wanting you to do certain things and not do other things, rewarding, punishing, &c. come from this infantile conception of God as Parent. But a religion of dependence runs into problems as we become adults and the hard facts of life make us feel much less protected. This makes us question and doubt the existence of this “Parental Deity.”
Here we come to a phrase that is often repeated in the book and makes me a little uneasy: “The only-by-Me Revealed and Given Way of Adidam.” This strikes me as a bit cult-ish in that the words of Adi Da are implied to be the final authority and no one can say anything else of value on the subject. Jesus made no such claim. Even if you interpret some of his words as saying that there is no salvation without knowledge of the person of Jesus, he never said that he was the final word and, indeed, Paul, in particular, goes far beyond the statements made by Jesus in defining Christianity. It seems to me that Adi Da was leaving no room for a Pauline equivalent in Adidam. Also, the ideas expressed here are common to many traditions in other religions, so I don’t understand Adi Da’s claim to uniqueness.
But that said, Adi Da makes an excellent statement about the nature of God: “Rather, That One is the Acausal Divine Self-Condition (and Source-Condition) of all phenomenal conditions – including all opposites, even all contradictions. Thus, you cannot account for That One in childish terms.” In this statement, we see the foreshadowing of some very Jungian ideas about holding the tension of the opposites and the subsequent creation of consciousness (which, of course, gets him back on my good side). He then summarizes his ideas of God and they will sound very familiar to many: God is Reality itself; God transcends our personal existence; our personal existence arises in God; the world is a modification of God – a “play” upon him; to realize God, you must enter an ego-less state. But here he takes a slightly different, perhaps semantically only, path by saying the route to realizing God is not by going inward but by transcending your seemingly separate self. I’m unclear as to what Adi Da means by “inward,” perhaps he means looking into your ego or your separateness. But “transcending” is a going beyond and, at least in Jungian parlance, implies the union of the conscious and unconscious analogous to the transcendent mathematical functions which is a union of real and imaginary numbers. So, the transcending requires an “inward” or, perhaps, “downward” looking in order to go beyond and above.
In any case, we here hit another odd phrase: “and It is Realized … by transcending your own separative … activity, and (thereby, ultimately, by Means of My Avataric Divine Spiritual Grace) …” Perhaps this should be understood in light of the fact that if we are all one and one with God then God’s grace is Adi Da’s grace. But then, by the same argument, isn’t it also Jesus’ and Buddha’s grace?
All “public religious chitchat” about the existence of God is meaningless because the God which is being discussed is the God of dependence, the God-idea formed from the infant/protector mindset and that God does not exist. The struggle to prove that God’s existence is a false struggle. “It is an expression of the common disease, the problem-consciousness of threatened egoity.” [p.32] Although much of conventional religion should be thrown away because it is “just a form of man-made consolation for rather childish egos,” [p.33] you should not throw it away in its entirety because “there is much more to true religion than what is contained in these childish propositions.” [p33]
Entering into a realization of God as the Great Divine Reality, That Truth requires maturity and does not entail appealing to the power of the “Other.” It requires awakening “to the Realization of That Which is in the Inherently egoless Self-Position.” [p.34] It requires the realization “that no matter what is arising, no matter how many others are present, there Is Only One Being.” [p.34]
Part I of series
Religion and Reality: True Religion Is Not Belief in Any “God”-Idea but the Direct Experiential Realization of Reality Itself, by The Avataric Great Sage, Adi Da Samraj. The Dawn Horse Press, 2006.
This was my initial introduction to Adi Da. A member of the Kansas City Friends of Jung recommended this book and a couple others to the President of the organization who then mentioned it to me. I was intrigued by the title.
First, I must mention a couple points about the style of writing which make it rather tough going. Adi Da uses capitalization profusely and seemly at random. This is more of a curiosity than an impediment to reading, unlike his use of parentheses to include additional, related words and ideas. It’s a bit like reading the Amplified Bible (from my memory of that translation many years ago.) At times, I found myself skipping the entire parenthesis even though some were many lines long.
The book has 7 short sections — the entire book is only 81 pages including an Introduction and a Glossary.
Moving Beyond Childish and Adolescent Approaches to Life and Truth
Childhood is marked by dependence and “the presumption of dependence is eminently realistic and useful.” [p.17] But when adults remain in a dependent state, they conceive of the idea of “God-Apart.” Basically, exoteric religion is adults wanting no responsibility and craving dependence. “The sense of dependence initiates the growing sense of separate and separated self … At the conventional level of the life-functions themselves, there is a need for such functional practical differentiation — but the implications in the place of consciousness are the cause of an unnatural adventure of suffering and seeking-in-dilemma.” [p.17] The Jungian in me has a difficult time with this, although I may be using incompatible definitions for similar terms. Differentiation of the self, or development of the ego, is an absolutely necessary act both in terms of external life and our psychic health. This departure from Oneness and then journey back to Oneness is our inevitable path in life and while it has the side effects of struggle and suffering, we would not be human if we did not undergo it.
The transition from childhood to maturity is adolescence and “perhaps the majority of ‘civilized’ human beings are occupied with the concerns of this transition most of their lives.” [p.18] This stage is marked by a sense of dilemma imposed by the presumption of separateness inevitably inherited from childhood. The dilemma is between the mutually exclusive impulses towards independence and dependence. Adolescence is the origin of the “conscious mind” but this is a “strategic version of mind” and has as its foundation life-as-dilemma. As such, “[a]dolesence is an eternally failed condition, an irrevocable double-bind.” [p.19] “Traditional Spirituality” is an attempted balance between these adolescent extremes. The separate self (and it’s desire for success, fulfillment, and immortality) then sees everything — including the idea of God — as a potential opposite and problem. Sin then enters the picture as the separate self looks to “conditionally manifested things” as the hope for peace.
“Real and true human maturity” results in an undermining of the separateness of self and a return “to the Condition of Truth” in which there is no separate “self” and nothing outside “God.” For a mature person, “all that is manifest, and all that is unmanifest — all universes, conditions, beings, states, and things, all that is ‘within’ and all that is ‘without,’ all that is visible and all that is invisible, all that is ‘here’ and all that is ‘there,’ all dimensions of space-time and All that is Prior to space-time” [p.22] are included in “God” or in “Absolute Reality.”
“This mature phase of life requires, as its ongoing foundation, the most fundamental understanding of the egoic self … [and is] characterized not by the usual religious and Spiritual ‘solutions,’ but by no-seeking, no-dilemma …” [p.23] This is very Jungian and very Zen-ian.
I’ve been motivated to look at The Lord’s Prayer in some depth. We never (or rarely) recited this prayer in the church I grew up in and, for the most part, these were just verses that I memorized at one point. There was not a lot of significance attached to them. But, as I approach Christianity anew, after several decades of separation from it, and under the influence of Jungian Depth Psychology, something is drawing me to rethink this model prayer which Jesus has given us.
I want to start with the first two words: “Our Father.”
This signifies a change in the human psyche and how we approach and relate to God. The Old Testament was the story of our infant years where God was a (seemingly) capricious, loving/hating being out there somewhere, up there in the sky somewhere. Starting with Jesus, we now relate to God as child and, sometimes, like a teenager. We have a more conscious relationship with him and he treats us less arbitrarily (at least it seems like that to us).
Consider an infant who is crying because she is hungry and her father is offering a bottle but she really wants her mother’s breast. The infant is confused and hurt that she’s not getting what she wants and her father must seem so cruel. At other times, the father puts her in her mother’s arms and she gets exactly what she wants. There is no rhyme nor reason to this. Why does her father not always give her to her mother when she cries out of hunger? Why does he sometimes (seemingly) punish her by only offering that wretched bottle? The issue is that she has no other way of relating because she does not have enough consciousness.
Now, skip ahead to a 4 or 14 year old. Now, the child can address his father as “Father” and ask for exactly what he wants. The child is capable of understanding, in some cases, why the father gives what he does. With the child’s increased consciousness, the father’s actions seem less arbitrary. And this is where Jesus was taking us. He was showing that we have an increased consciousness and, therefore, can relate to God in a different way.
What this two-word phrase also identifies is our relation to God in an essential way. That is, by calling God “Father” we are acknowledging that we are of the same essence. My daughter has my genes and is made up of the same things that I am. We have matching DNA. Our basic reality or essence is the same. In the Old Testament, or as an infant, we do not recognize this. We cannot grasp the idea that this great, powerful being who gives us what he wants to give and not what we want to receive is of the same stuff as we are. But with increased consciousness comes increased awareness of what we are and what he is. We can recognize the imago Dei, the “in our likeness” that is within us from God. “Our Father” is not only said out of respect or out of love. It is also said out of identification — we are of the same essence as God. We share the same DNA.
A local church has a quote from Hafiz on their sign: “Little by little you will turn into God.” We do turn into our fathers. How many times have I done something or said something or caught a glimpse of myself and thought, “My God! My father does that! I’m turning into my father.” And this is the case with God, our Father. But it’s also the reality that we already are our father. Our DNA tells us that from the moment of conception. What appears to be a “turning into” is really nothing more than a “realizing that we already are.”