Worry, Be Happy
Yep! Ask the average person what they want out of life - and they'll
tell you that they'd just like to find a little happiness. At least,
I know that's been my personal, private, little fantasy. A little
happiness… quite a concept, isn't it? A little happiness…
Heck! If you're an American, then you know that the very Constitution
of our Cancerian Sun nation promises to mother and nurture her citizens
with "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
finding and then living in a continual state of happiness is an
illusory (albeit wonderful) fantasy. As a result of attempting to
live out this fantasy, we often end up spending large portions of
our lives in the attempt of reducing our pain and inducing our pleasure.
archetypal psychologist, James Hillman, author of the bestselling
book, The Soul Code, aptly reminds us that the very last
thing our soul seems to be intent on is happiness. Our soul is looking
for a sense of wholeness and meaning.
Do you Think This Is? A Holiday Inn?
Yep! The all too obvious "reality gap" - between hope and
experience - remains a hounding, howling opponent to our peaceful
fantasies of "a little happiness." The archetypal father
sign of Capricorn (in oppositional tension to the nurturing sign of
Cancer) serves as a stark reminder of: "Whoever told you that
life is fair?"… "You've got to pull yourself up by
your bootstraps, buddy!"… and "What do you think this
is? A Holiday Inn?"
author, James Hollis, in Swamplands of the Soul:
old saying has it that religion is for those who are afraid of going
to hell; spirituality is for those who have already been there…
The thought, motive, and practice of Jungian psychology is that
there is no sunlit meadow, no restful bower of easy sleep.
There are swamplands of the soul where nature, our nature, intends
that we live a good part of the journey, and from whence many of
the most meaningful moments of our lives will derive.
It is in the swamplands where soul is fashioned and forged, where
we encounter, not only, the gravitas of life - but its purpose,
its dignity, and its deepest meaning."
The Core of Life and Meaning
Fortunately, finding "meaning" through our experiences in
the "swamplands" does not - by any means - imply that we
will or should remain in those swamplands or be left helplessly at
the bottom of an abyss of pain.
the first function of mythology: not merely a reconciliation of
consciousness with the preconditions of its own existence, but reconciliation
with gratitude, with love, with recognition of the sweetness. Through
the bitterness and pain, the primary experience at the core of life
is a sweet, wonderful thing.” Joseph Campbell, Pathways To
Bliss, page 4
too, was Carl G. Jung's fervent belief... that at the core of life
one could find purpose and meaning - and that finding purpose and
meaning made all things bearable.
all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order... we
are caught and entangled in aimless experience... It is a moment
of collapse... Only when all crutches and props are broken, and
no cover from the rear offers even the slightest hope of security,
does it become possible for us to experience an archetype that up
till then had lain hidden... this is the archetype of meaning..."
The Archetypes and The Collective Unconscious; Carl G.
Jung CW 9 Part 1, p. 32
Task of Wholeness
The ancient Christian philosopher Irenaeus once wrote: "the
glory of God is a life fully lived." Irenaeus had been inspired
by the familiar New Testament passage from the Gospel of Matthew
where Jesus of Nazareth had stated: "You must therefore be
perfect just as your heavenly father is perfect."
English translations of this passage - making use of the word "perfect"
- are more than a wee bit misleading. The
original Greek word used was teleios, meaning "brought
to completion." Therefore, the better translation is: "You
must therefore be complete just as your heavenly father is complete."
Thus, as Irenaeus wrote, "the glory of God is a life fully
In actuality - Jesus, Irenaeus, and then much later CG Jung were
all echoing the much older (as early as 1400 BC) admonition "Gnothi
se auton" ("know thyself") inscribed on the Oracle
of Delphi temple in ancient Greece. "Know thyself." The
task involved in "knowing thyself," being "complete,"
or "wholeness" is that of more consciously (and fully)
living out all the potentials - the good, the bad, and the ugly
- contained in who you are as an individual.
Psychology and Archetypal Astrology
Astrology is an ancient tool that, in concert with Jungian depth psychology,
can support each of us in purposes of self-discovery, soul growth,
and being "brought to completion."
that when challenged by an especially perplexing case in therapy,
the esteemed Swiss psychiatrist CG Jung would arrange to have the
patient's birth chart cast in order to gain more insight into the
unique "map of the soul" provides each one of us with a
symbolic map of our unique inborn potentials and then aids us in clarifying
how these potentials will seek to systemically unfold over the course
of our lifetime.
see in retrospect that my parents were a little like Jungian therapists,
without the training:
someone said to Carl Jung, 'Carl, something wonderful has happened,'
he’d say, “That’s too bad, but if we stick together
may we can get you through this. If the person said, 'Something terrible
has happened,' Jung would reply, 'Ah, let’s open a bottle of
wine. Something good will come of this.'
was also the basic message from my mother…
mother gave me a very simple message. Like Carl Jung, when something
disappointing would happen, she would say, 'It was meant to be. God
is redirecting you, something good will come of this.'
may not seem profound, but when you think about it, you realized that
nothing can ever go wrong in your life."
Bernie Siegel, A Guide to Life, Love and Health