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Sunday, September 28, 2008

God -- Credo I

Shall I dare say it? We know God easily so long as we do not force ourselves to define Him." Joseph Joubert

Dear friends, I feel an old lady’s need to get something off my chest. I think the English word God has a harsh sound and is off-putting. It comes from the Germanic Gott. Dieu (French), which comes from Latin deo, is better, and Elohim, which is as close to the Jewish nameless deity, is an improvement on Jahweh, but the Hebrew tetragrammaton has profound implications which must be honored. Allah removed from terrorist associations has the most beautiful sound . . . My Grandpa King always referred to him as “the dear Lord,” which will make sense further on. I choose the word Spirit for now as it is beyond gender and capable of suffusing the totality of existence. I guess I am a panentheist, rather than just a pantheist!

Jung wisely spoke of the imago Dei, or the image we have of God, and as a person convinced of the uniqueness of every individual, I certainly have come to the conclusion that each one of us has a unique perception through the unique variation we give to our common source of LIFE, LIGHT, LOVE (note the ‘els’!) Jung called the Self and I refer to as our Divine Guest. The atheist rejects the god of the level beneath him but if his conscious brain is merely the product of chance, of what value is his opinion!

If you are reading this, chances are that as a child you were told some description of God and that he is to be loved. Like Jung, some of us might have been puzzled by how to love on order something grown-ups defined and so may have struggled with accepting other people’s definitions. The problem is that the Divine Guest dwells securely in the unconscious and the ego can only think about it, and unless we go through our own individual process “The only Way,” listening to other people’s descriptions comes across as confusing, to say the least. You might include this post, but I really am only describing the process that Jung and most of us are confronting: it is a paradox! It seems very hard to love someone on order, especially when God is an unknown. Which perhaps explains the archetypal necessity for an avatar as a credible intermediary or witness or Teacher.

As some of you know from reading my books, I searched from the age of 4 till I was 21 and decided that there was no answer! and suffered deep despair, which led me to the double whammy of encountering the astrologer and the next day my Teacher. Hermes, the astrologer, checked my arrogant definition of astrology as ‘superstitious twaddle for nincompoops’ by remarking first off, “You have been seeking God all of your life”! and proceeding to blow my mind with accuracy. I went from thinking there was no answer to knowing that there IS an answer! Here’s the kicker: I will be 85 this November and still cannot tell you what the answer is! But thanks to Jung’s definition of the ego as center of consciousness, I have learned that you have to use the right organ to approach the mystery and it is not the mind! Words won’t work. They can only point the way. Some music comes close. I think I’m safe in saying that each of us has had a flash – here and there – of in-tuition, the gift of Hagia Sophia, that gives a moment of a delicious Aha! A glimpse of the unus mundus (Sophia’s wink of synchronicity). Enough said.

From my teacher M I learned that it is never what we say but who we are that counts. So he taught by example.

I came across a quote from a wee book written by my grandfather Basil King. He was the Episcopal rector of Christ Church in Cambridge and very interested in the paranormal. He wrote 28 books, but the most telling one for me was one called The Abolishing of Death, and the most lasting one was The Conquest of Fear. Actually a novel of his called The Wild Olive, published anonymously, was the best seller in the US in 1927. (He felt embarrassed to write a love story which might shock his parishioners after he had to leave the church because of a then incurable thyroid disease.) The quote comes from a small book called In Abraham's Bosom. The words are spoken from "the other side" to the main character, a crusty agnostic, as he lies unconscious.

I found the book by chance and opened it to this but I am taking the liberty of changing his word God to Spirit. I think Grandpa is giving me permission!
Go back to what we said as to sight being not the action of a temporary optic nerve. We see Spirit by what we understand of It by Its attributes; and we measure Its attributes by their beauty and goodness and practicality. Wherever there has been a blessing to enjoy, you’ve seen Spirit. Whenever love has cheered you or kindness helped you, you’ve seen Spirit. In sunrise and sunset and moonlight and starlight, and trees and fields and harvest and flowers and ice and snow and air, and health and beauty and generosity and friendship, and all that gives to existence, you’ve seen Spirit. It hasn’t been invisible. There is not one world in which It is not. There is not a life with Spirit and another life away from It. There is only one world and Spirit fills it; there is only one life, to which Spirit is All-in-All.

More blessed are they who learn to live in Spirit as in the One Vast Certainty – which created everyone, and supplies everyone and upholds everyone and loves everyone; and does it all with unlimited intelligence and might.

This, from a Jungian perspective, could be the ‘ego’s creed’! I guess even today, August 16, 2007, with all its terrible news! I do live with that One Vast Certainty and share this from my heart. And when I think about it, I take comfort from the fact that the solar system is still running on time! May these thoughts be a comfort in these most troubling times!


Saturday, September 27, 2008

IonaDove Blog

Many people read and love the wisdom from Alice O. Howell. Because the nature of her credos seem perfect for a blog--they are short and thought-provoking--I decided to create a blog on her behalf. It is my anticipation that over time, my mother will manage this herself. But I am getting it started and hope that you find this an easy way to read and comment on her credos.

Jennifer Howell
Alice's daughter