musings on Self-realization in the light of psychoanalysis … by Jennifer Lilla PhD
“God is a psychic fact of immediate experience.“
In Carl Jung’s view, God is first and foremost a subjective experience; and religious images (archetypes) are products of the psyche, spontaneously produced within dreams and imagination. With this insight, Carl Jung’s path offers a shift in perspective. God is no longer seen solely in terms of an objective, transcendent otherness toward whom I must have faith. From the depth perspective, a new horizon opens in which I realize God as a subjective, immanent truth. This truth is realized through dreams, imagination, and visions. This shift is an immanent turn– a shift in perspective, from transcendence to immanence.
Post- Jungian thinkers have postulated that we are entering a new chapter in Western religious history (Edinger, 1984; Corbett, 1966). Religion is no longer solely based on faith, but on a subjective experience of God. God is no longer seen as solely transcendent to life, but also immanent to life. With this transition more and more people are coming to understand that the psyche is a medium of religious experience, and thus we are no longer dependent on authority to define our relationship to God.
Carl Jung spoke of “the secret immanence of the divine spirit of life in all things.” When Carl Jung addresses the divine spirit, he is not only speaking of the divine within the world around us, but also the divine spirit as immanent to the human psyche, discovered within the depths of our being. This is a central theme in Carl Jung’s writings: the path towards the Self is the same path as the path toward God. This is the paradox of divinity.
Discovering the nature of the Divine is a journey into the sacred realms of the psyche. Carl Jung’s writings reveal the soul’s path, as a path toward Self-realization. This path is far from straight and narrow. It is more of an imaginal journey that winds its way through the hills and valleys of our inner worlds, spiraling around the truth so that we may begin to understand and articulate the nature of both self and other.