Encounter With The Self
Have you ever been so down and out that you finally give in and let go? That seems to be the whole purpose of failure: to show your ego that you (and it) are not in control of your life. Only then can you succeed at accepting your higher Self as the author and architect of your being.
The story of Job is the only book of the Bible (Old Testament) that is entirely a conversation. All the characters, who show up, are aspects of Job himself. Their ‘advice’ is no more than reminders of the past, religious conventions, perhaps, that Job recalls during his questioning of his own faith in a supreme being. Even his wife’s words, “Curse God and die,” aren’t to be taken literally, although when you’re in that state of mind, anything is possible.
I used to wonder how a man, such as Job, could call out his maker and expect an answer. But if this is just an example of Jungian psychology before the process was even named, this conversation with God was always going to be ‘interesting’.
After God reminds Job that he wasn’t there at the beginning of creation and therefore has no right to question what’s going on, does Job finally admit to being changed:
I had heard of thee by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees thee; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes.Job 42:5-6 RSV
Reading this ‘conversion’ when I was younger, I didn’t find it satisfying. “Damn right,” I thought, “Job has the guts to ask God, ‘Why?’ and he should be given the answer that it was all just a test to see if Job was for turning. God didn’t do that. Something’s not right about this.”
Yes, my inflated ego was invested in Job’s question. Now, more than 25 years after my own ‘conversation with God’ do I understand Job’s repentance. To be brought low, one can be humble again, and accepting of whatever ‘fate’ decrees. “Not my will, but Thine be done.”
The Job drama is personally applicable to all. It speaks immediately to the almost universal question, “Why must this happen to me?” We all have an underlying resentment against fate and reality which is a residue of inflation. Such resentment takes many forms: “If only I had had a better childhood;” “If only I were married;” “If only I were not married;” “If only I had a better husband or wife,” etc., etc. All of these “if onlys” are the means by which one excuses himself from relating productively to reality as it is. They are symptoms of inflation which will not grant the existence of a greater reality than one’s personal desires. Job asked why his misery should happen to him. The answer that emerges from the Book of Job is so that he may see God.Ego and Archetype (page 96)
Here ends today’s lesson.