ideas on wholeness and holiness

Carl Jung sees that the search for becoming whole involves integrating parts of the collective including what he refers to as ‘brother animal’ – ‘who is actually holier than us since he cannot deviate from the divine will implanted in him.’

This is an interesting idea because Jung is suggesting that wholeness itself – which is God – is only found in God. Jung sees this as a compelling force against which we should offer no resistance: ‘I find that all my thoughts circle round God like planets round the sun, and are as irresistibly attracted to him.’

Jung sees that his ability to think has been given to him by God and so he pits ‘my thinking at his service’. This inevitably means that Jung conflicts with the traditional doctrine including that of evil as the privation of good, and God as all good or the highest good. Jung’s challenge to the Christians through his publication of ‘Answer to Job’ is how can one square the all-good God, a guardian of justice and morality to the one who is unjust. Jung quotes Isaiah 48 where God refines and tests and why? ‘For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it.’

Richard Rohr sees these contemporary days as apocalyptic. Certainly times of trial – most of which have been brought on the planet by humankind. Is there evil? Such questions make me feel uncomfortable and uncertain. Jung makes a strong case for recognition of evil – which he sees as not ‘nothing’ but ‘something with substance’ – a force in its own right. Of course, in this sense, then acknowledging and beginning to integrate the personal shadow and indeed aspects of the collective shadow is the only way to achieve some form of completeness.

I like Jung’s comment that ‘You lose nothing and you even gain something in contemplating such thoughts.’ We seek balance but as Jung says, ‘You only get it when either side carries equal weight. Christ is crucified between the one going up and the other going down, i.e., between opposites’. Redemption Jung added is to be found in the middle ground – the centre of your self – where ‘God suffers in his own Creation’. None of us can escape the opposites within us and God wants us to unite these. Jung writes these rather lovely words so familiar to those of us who read Merton and his work on ‘le point vierge’: ‘If turmoil and torment become too great, there is still the oneness of the self, the divine spark within its inviolable precincts, offering its extramundane peace’.