If parts of our self that are condemned as ‘wrong’ are then either repressed or hidden away or projected into others then it’s hard to be authentic. Instead the inner work is about taking possession of all the different parts of one self and this involves a creative act to bring a sense of unity – this is the sort of person that I am. This bringing into unity involves who we are with others and in our relationship with God, and the changes that can happen when we are in relationship. The changes that can move the ‘miserable sinner’ in a sado-masochistic relationship with the false god, into becoming a person in relationship with the loving God, involve moments of understanding and acceptance. The changes also involve a reconfiguring of how we see God.
The false god full of envy and jealousy and wrath interferes with acts of understanding and self-acceptance and so prevents creativity and personal growth and this is so different from the true God – the infinite, the absolute and ultimate truth that all reality is. The true God promotes them. To let go of the false god is – as Neville Symington sees it – an act of faith, an act of trust. He emphasises how helpful it is to use words such as ‘infinite’, ‘the truth’, or ‘the absolute’ which are part of a new dawning of consciousness and a realization of what reality is, and how it is, and that each of us are part of it. In the bible he sees an interplay the whole time between the false god and the true God as there is both individually and collectively always a tendency to go back to what is basically a powerful figure that dictates and overrides the creative inner power of conscience. The interplay is between an anthropomorphic idea of God with human characteristics and a much purer one. We have a number of the prophets telling us not to make statues or false images as God cannot be imagined in that way. In other words, this is the infinite – because God is not finite and the only way to describe him in that sense is what God is not. When Moses came down from the mountain he was furious because once again the people wanted an image – this time a golden calf, but that God could not be imagined in that way.
It isn’t so much that God was then angry, but rather that the people suffered because they had acted against their inner principles and therefore suffered from it. Symington writes how all religions contain this wonderful ‘pearl of great price’ and also superstitions and anthropomorphic elements here and there that have built up around the central wisdom
‘But they are not really essential – the important thing is to recognize what the reality is that is being spoken about. To speak of God being offended [and the associated miserable sinner syndrome] is an image, like the golden calf, from which we need to purify ourselves.’