Friday, 8 October 2021

I Was Not - Revisited

           The problem with trying, usually unsuccessfully, to explain matters of the spirit is that all I have is 'words'. I must echo those of C.G.Jung here,

          "My speech is imperfect.  Not because I want to shine with words, but out of the impossibility of finding those words, I speak in images. With nothing else can I express the words from the depths." 

          Nevertheless, with that thought in mind and my reluctant move away from speaking in imagery, I will attempt to develop further the ideas that have arisen from my previous post, "I Was Not" and comments made on that post.

          I cannot relate my experience to Buddhist experience because, frankly, I do not have the experience or knowledge of Buddhist --- and in particular, Zen Buddhist --- thought and teaching. I must add that neither do I feel any urge to study eastern religions. That is too much like ..... following 'others'. Again, I turn to C.G.Jung ["The Red Book"],

..........It is no teaching and no instruction that I give you. On what basis should I presume to teach you? I give you news of the way of this man, but not of your own way. My path is not your path, therefore I cannot teach you. The way is within us, but not in Gods, nor in teachings, nor in laws. Within us is the way, the truth, and the life.......... and,

..........Woe betide those who live by way of examples! Life is not with them. If you live according to an example, you thus live the life of that example, but who should live your own life if not yourself? So live yourselves..........

          In attempting to describe the state in which I found myself, I described the state as being one of ..... emptiness. This word tends to describe the outcome of a process of emptying, or voiding. Yet the emptiness that I felt was more a sense of ..... being concentrated within some void, having sloughed off my externals. In other words I was emptied of everything relating to my ..... external ego and its illusions. Perhaps another way of describing this state would be like ..... being the yoke of an egg, bathed or irradiated in a bright light, having been ..... released perhaps, from my surrounding albumen and shell. 

          What is important here, or so I think, is not the external, visible experience. What is vital is the inner movement, the invisible forces at work. I don't see it as an example or aspect of 'spiritual growth' [shudder!]. Rather, I see the experience as one typical of an ordinary person, in which some 'things' are coming together, a natural process of becoming is being carried out. The experience was somewhat awesome, I admit, but it would be a mistake to focus on the pointing finger whilst ignoring that to which the finger points --- toward a spiritual process of marrying --- perhaps? That goal or target, has a wonderful sense about it of being totally, uncaringly lost.

          I was more than a little surprised at my reaction at the time, "Oh my God! Oh my, dear God!", particularly as I can make no claim to be a Christian, or even to being religious come to that. Yet I take heart from a comment made by the lovely Professor Jacob Needleman who once wrote:-

          "To think about God is to the human soul what breathing is to the human body.  I say to think about God, not necessarily to believe in God - that may or may not come later.  I say: to think about God."

          Finally, I will close with an excerpt from a post from 24th. August, 2013 --- "What Am I?"

          "..........I become aware of my awareness, yet am nevertheless subject to random thoughts and a slight feeling of frustration.  Now and then I feel  physical discomfort.  In some way all those sensings are connected to my state of awareness, a massless, formless awareness.  There comes a moment when it seems as if all I need to do is to stop concentrating or focusing on anything.  In an odd way that leaves me in a kind of limbo where I am 'concentrated' almost by default on a nothingness.  I give up 'trying', at least for a series of momentary-nesses.  The links with the material world are still there in potential, but much weakened.  It isn't until the stillness moves that I realise how deeply I have travelled.........."


  1. Hi Tom ,
    Thanks for the revisit and I particularly liked the Aug 2013 post. That was a wonderful post. That reference to nothingness reminded me very much of the similarities to Meister Eckhart. Those ideas of nothingness were cemented at the Kyoto school.
    Jung seems to me to be a bit beholden in all of his thinking as a psychiatrist, to superimpose those ideas on to theology/ philosophy.
    That’s just my view - others no doubt find him inspirational as
    Jungian psychology continues on today. On the other hand The Kyoto school embraced the idea of nothingness and took an interest in Eckhart. It’s negative Christian theology from my perspective is more straightforward. They had an understanding the theology in the first instance of what they were arguing against unlike Jung who wants to squeeze it in.
    Best wishes

    1. The appeal for me of C.G.Jung's thought is that it speaks directly to my own inner experience. In the final analysis, it is that on which I must rely. I am also drawn to his interest in the Alexandrian gnostics, for reasons which I cannot be certain. Both C.G.Jung and the Meister rank very highly in my estimation - for what that is worth. The latter's works are a treasure trove that never ceases to intrigue me.

      Thank you for your comment.