At intervals the great Teachers descend in our midst as though they have come from on high, as though there were a region above and beyond our known universe. Not the physical heaven as imagined but rather a region of the super-conscious, for, if there is a sub-conscious then we must be able to envisage a super-conscious.
Here on this planet the Masters, the Enlightened Ones, speak to us of the Transcendent. Carl Jung once remarked to my analyst, Dr Franz Elkisch: ‘Each one of us is capable of being a transistor, each of us can tune in to the ‘other’ or ‘more’ dimension of reality, through meditation or prayer – the label doesn’t matter – through a heightened awareness of reality.’
Joseph Campbell wrote: ‘We have only to know and trust and the ageless guardians will appear.’
Elizabeth Kübler-Ross wrote: ‘Spiritual masters always hear us and guide us from the moment of birth throughout our lives to the threshold of death. There are many teachers.’
Carl Jung wrote: ‘In each of us there is another we do not know. He speaks to us in dreams and tells us how differently he sees us from the way we see ourselves. In the last analysis most of our difficulties come from losing contact with our instincts, with the age-old unforgotten wisdom stored up in us.’
When asked for his blessing, Padre Pio would say: ‘May the angel of the Lord be with you and open doors for you!’
‘Death is indeed a fearful piece of brutality. There is no sense in pretending otherwise,’ Carl Jung wrote on the death of Emma, his beloved wife of 52 years. But, he added, ‘from another point of view death appears as a joyful event … in which the soul attains its missing half. It is a wedding.’ To this day it is the custom in many parts of the world to hold a picnic on the graves of departed ones on All Souls’ Day. Such communal rituals express the feeling that death is really a festive occasion. When we die our deeds – how we have lived our lives – will follow along with us, and so it is important that, at the end, we do not stand with empty hands! Such a reflection reminds us of the importance of each one of us living our lives to the full, fulfilling our individual destinies.
Jesus’s command to his followers is not as simple as it sounds. We have first to learn how to love ourselves before we can love anyone else. That does not mean being self-obsessed, but learning to come to terms with our own contradictions, hidden aggressions, lusts, vanities – with what Jung termed our shadow side. Only then can we love our neighbour as ourself, without any projections or expectations, but simply to be alongside them when needed.
We once seemed to have lost a sense of community and neighbourliness, especially in towns and cities; but the lockdown of 2020 during the pandemic has begun to revive awareness of our neighbours, as people reach out to each other in ways that have not been seen for many decades.
Carl Gustav Jung, in a famous television interview, responded to the question, ‘Do you believe in God?’ with ‘I don’t believe: I know.’ As Jung wrote elsewhere, ‘Suddenly I understood that God was, for me at least, one of the most certain and immediate of experiences.’ Belief in a God is not dependent upon going to church, temple or synagogue, and observing all the rules and regulations, which can be but just a matter of form. It rests upon an inner conviction of a relationship with that which is beyond our intellectual understanding but which, deep down in the very centre of our being, we recognise as the Absolute in our lives.