Sunday, January 02, 2005

Ebb and Flow

I'm still thinking about Akilesh's post Coming and Going. I'm reading a book for a women's discussion group, Enduring Grace by Carol Lee Flinders, which gives portraits of seven women mystics from the Middle Ages, all Catholics, most saints.

In the chapter on Mechthild of Magdeburg, Flinders writes:
The forgetting of self that must take place, the emptying of all personal
desire, cannot happen all at once. We only let go by degrees -- as little, in any one round of the upward spiral, as we are absolutely sure we have to! On the path to God, light gives way to darkness, and darkness to light, at intervals. A measure of integration takes place, and we enjoy a moment of peace and joy, but the longing sets in again, and we must again exert the terrible effort.



Larry said...

Thank you, Marjorie. You directed me back to Akilesh's post, Coming and Going. It is great, but I want to offer a more overtly Christian description of the phenomena. Actually Jungian:
He says the ego is a stage we have to move through, like the superego. In the course of spiritual evolution the self (notice how differently he defines 'self') comes to the fore. The self is the 'God-image', the Christ within, that of God in everyone. Jung called it individuation.

Jung was no Christian of course, but the Christians have appropriated much of his symbology to give a psychological sophistication to the process of salvation.

I don't mean to criticize Akilesh; I'm simply offering another way to think about those fundamental realities. Actually I do feel an urge to 'christianize" the thought forms of many of my Quaker friends; guess it's the preacher in me.

Many rich blessings to all.

Marjorie said...

Thanks for sharing that bit about Jung. Its interesting to look at 'death to self' vs. the realization of self that is individuation -- I imagine its all the same. The 'death to self' is an idea I can understand a bit better -- I even read somewhere that the crucifixion is the ultimate symbol of dying to self. To me, the self must die (the selfish desires that usually rule our lives and alienate us from each other and God must be put aside) so that we can become the person God intended -- that would be individuation.

Larry said...

Yes! I think the Jungian Christian might say that when invididuated the ego works under the direction of the self(which is Christ).