During his second night of solitude, Carl complains to his soul that he has been searching for himself outside of himself for so long that he forgot he even had a soul. 

He tells his soul that he found her first in the dreams of men, and that she then came in his own dreams. Then he found her where he least expected, climbing out of a dark shaft. He asks her, “Where were you all this time?” while he had been accomplishing things in the world.

Carl's soul is in the difficult position of needing to express herself through him, and he struggles to find a way to communicate his soul in normal language.

As he accepts his soul, his inner demons, the ear-whisperers, attack, and Carl listens. They use his scholarly ambition and accomplishments against him, saying that he lies to himself and seeks to be a prophet. 

Carl's soul comes to him as a girl, a child. “Is God a child, a maiden?” he asks. He recognizes that she is eternal and that while he has been going about his life in the world, she has accompanied him, gracing him with insight, showing him how to make meaning, to see the whole in the parts. Carl tells us how she teaches him to see differently, turns his world upside-down; whatever he intends, she does the opposite. 

He is telling us that the way he learned to see the world and do what he did in the world was through his soul. He is grateful for her steadfast devotion, which supported him to believe in himself in every decisive moment of his life. Carl realizes that his soul is behind everything in his life and always has been, that all he has ever done or will ever do has been to find his soul, and even those dearest to him are but symbols of their own souls. 

Carl’s view of the world (or is it ours?) is blown apart as the spirit of the depths teaches him that dreams, commonly thought of as the dregs of thought, are actually the speech of the soul, and like the words of the person dearest to him, he should hold them close in his heart. They are the guiding words of his soul, and his actions and decisions are dependent upon them. Though we don't understand our dreams, they determine us. 

Carl now understands that he has been separated from his soul, that his scholarly thoughts and ideas about the soul were just thoughts and ideas, and actually his soul is a living and self-existing being about which he knows nothing and who speaks in the language of dreams. The spirit of the depths tells him that scholarly knowledge will not be enough to understand this language. We need the insight of the heart to understand the language of dreams. This insight is not found in books nor will it come from the mouths of teachers. It springs from you, he is told, like a seed growing out of the earth.

To learn this knowledge of the heart, the spirit of the depths tells Carl that he must live his life fully, live what he has not yet lived, stop being blind and deaf to the life within him that demands to be lived. He is told that the heart is both good and evil, and how he should live is decided by well-being – not the well-being of others, or the well-being of himself, but simply well-being, that which makes his soul well.

With this Carl begins to take in the truth that he is nothing more than the expression and symbol of his soul. That he is in fact the servant of this girl child. It is a bitter pill to swallow and he hates the very idea that he is subjugated to a child, that his soul is a child, and his God in his soul is a child. And he accepts it.

This acceptance riles the demons of the spirit of the time and they mock him. The spirit of the depths reminds Carl that he is not the first to be mocked this way. He is told to look to the teaching of Christ, not to be a Christian, but Christ himself, or else he will be of no use to the coming God. There is no way around the pain, the spirit of the depths tells him. No shortcuts. The only way through is to feel the pain as Christ did.

After Carl had gone through the external events, the external world, his heart really opened in his dreams. His heart opened and he was forced to go deeper. We are not going to go deeper unless something in us rises up to show us why, to show us the path. It is scary.

We cannot be discerning without a connection with the spirit of the depths, the Archetypes, the Animus. Part of this work is about growing a relationship with Him.

We may wonder sometimes why we do not have dreams like Carl’s, dreams of descending down a tunnel or a shaft. We do not have these kinds of dreams until we are ready, until we are intimate enough with Him. We cannot go through these places alone. It is impossible.

It is not enough to have an analyst as a guide. Any analyst who believes he or she can take someone on this kind of journey when the dreamer does not have a connection with the Animus is wrong. We need the support of the Archetypes to go into and through all of the tunnels, all of the traumas, all of the work.

Of course, Carl wandered and lost his soul, just as we all do. This is why he is unsure of his soul. It is separate from him, coming as the girl or as a child.

Mockery for Carl is not about being mocked; instead, it is about being criticized or, even more, scrutinized. The process of mockery is really about having our molecules changed, challenging what we think and what we believe. What we think is true is not.

When I first read The Red Book, I was confused, for I thought Carl was saying that he felt that God was mocking him. But I realize that this mocking is different. It is the “mocking” that God does in our dreams. Does He not trap us, trick us, hit us on the head sometimes, laugh at us, stab us, shoot us?

What God “mocks” when He is working this way in a dream is the part of us that is aligned with the spirit of the times. He mocks what we believe to be truth in order for us to learn what is true.

In this chapter, the soul is mocking Carl. The mockery is an attack on all of Carl’s other books, all of his lectures, all of his other teachings. How many teachers want us to believe in them instead of wanting us to believe in, believe inward?

It is so difficult to learn how to be a teacher because the Animus wants to make sure that we are not going to be THE teacher. The analyst is not a teacher. The analyst is simply a child being directed by the Divine on how to work the work of the dreams. If we think we know something, we will fail in working with others. It is only the Divine that can guide us through our inner work. We must learn to be open to that guide, the appropriate guide.

It is also in this chapter that Carl first references multiple lifetimes, which he speaks of as “all-without-end,” which is eternity. What he means by this is that we have our life as our essence. Our soul, our essence, continues, which continues life to life.

And yet, if we are obedient to our work as shown through the dreams, the Divine can make things happen in the world in this lifetime. But this cannot come from our desires. The Divine does not give us what we want, not because He does not want to, but because we have no idea what we really want.

The Divine will give us what our souls want. The only way we consider anything is through ourselves, the part of us that lives in the spirit of the times, without our souls. But through our souls, the consciousness of our souls, what we really want is Him.

For me, my faith is not conditioned upon things occurring or not occurring in the world. We cannot be led if we have our own agendas. If we really want to be helped, then we need our relationship with Him. This is what the soul wants.

Carl illustrates his point by saying that what he intended to plant, which was his own agenda, the Archetypes took away from him. This is very clear in dreams—both in our dreams and in Carl’s. The dreams take us deep into hell; then we have a dream in which He lifts us up again. Then we are plunged back down.

Carl speaks of not making others, which he calls dearest, more important than this journey the dreams lead us on. Dearests means the beloved people in our lives—spouses, friends, children, etc. Many of us project our own souls onto our children. Is it a noble thing to make our children the stars of our lives? To make them everything? To the Divine, our souls come first, before even our children. Otherwise, we are robbing Peter to pay Paul and then we become God for our children when we need to be the child soul with God.

This is how having children and doing everything for them can actually rob us of our ability to be the child. We may think that a dream in which we are loving and caring for the child is a wonderful dream, but it is really a terrible dream. When we love the child, then we are not ourselves the beloved child. Loving a child in a dream is better than harming the child, of course, but it is still not being the child.

My friends, do you guess to what solitude we ascend?

I must learn that the dregs of my thought, my dreams, are the speech of my soul.  I must carry them in my heart, and go back and forth over them in my mind, like the words of the person dearest to me. Dreams are the guiding words of the soul. Why should I henceforth not love my dreams and not make their riddling images into objects of my daily consideration? You think that the dream is foolish and ungainly. What is beautiful? What is ungainly? What is clever? What is foolish? The spirit of this time is your measure, but the spirit of the depths surpasses it at both ends. Only the spirit of this time knows the difference between large and small. But this difference is invalid, like the spirit which recognizes  it. (p. 233)

We cannot guess where our dreams will take us. Instead, we let the dreams work us. In Archetypal Dreamwork, we call this the homework. When we work our work in this way, going into the feelings and experiences we have worked in a session with our analyst, it can open us to deeper work and then we can bring it to our lives at some point. But first, it must be an inner process.

Measure has no meaning. In other words, the spirit of the times judges things. For example, we may say, “I had a bad dream.” How do we know what a bad dream is? How do we know what is right for us? The spirit of the depths asks us to accept the dream, but we do not. The spirit of the depths asks us to base our actions and decisions on our dreams.

This is tricky, for if a dream told us to work late one day, would we? Maybe. If a dream told us to quit a job, leave a marriage, take $100,000 from savings and do a particular thing with it, would we? Of course, our dreams do not tell us to do these kinds of things. Not because they cannot, but because they will not. We would not do it.

There are many people in this work who say, “Why doesn’t the Archetype tell me what to do?” The Archetypes do not because we will not do it. The dream will tell us the thing we do not want to do. If we do not care about the object of our desire, then it does not matter. If we do not care where we go, as long as we are with Him, then we will go. But it is difficult to be in that place.

Carl intentionally says, “the spirit of the depths taught me” because this is a teaching. It is something we learn through the dreams.

Dreams pave the way for life, and they determine you without you understanding their language. One would like to learn this language, but who can teach and learn it? Scholarliness alone is not enough; there is a knowledge of the heart that gives deeper insight. The knowledge of the heart is in no book and is not to be found in the mouth of any teacher, but grows out of you like the green seed from the dark earth. Scholarliness belongs to the spirit of this time, but this spirit in no way grasps the dream, since the soul is everywhere that scholarly knowledge is not.

But how can I attain this knowledge of the heart? You can attain this knowledge only by living your life to the full. You live your life fully if you also live what you have never yet lived, but have left for others to live or to think. (p. 233)

Living life to the full is living the life as shown through the dreams. We may say, “But I AM living my life to the fullest.” The dreams show us the things that we are doing that are not right for us. Instead, we must do the thing we never did. Does that mean become a Democrat if you are a Republican, or vice versa? Of course not. It means following the challenge of the dream.

We all want to flee from the self, the real self, so as not to have to live what remains unlived, what has not been thought and remains for us to think and feel. This is so true. We would rather stay the way we are because we believe we are all right.

There is a split between the inner world and the outer world. Well-being, which is where we want to stay where we are, and the search for well-being in the world, is pathology. Well-being decides us, which is the spirit of the times. It is not the true well-being of our souls.

It is a bit ironic that when we do want to find the well-beingness of the soul, we are often told that we are narcissistic, spending too much time on our own selves.

Well-being between us and others is a social issue – it is not a desire. This shows that true desire is innately about only one thing – our own souls.

Does this not go against all the teachings we have learned about being in service to others in the world, about doing what God wants in terms of service? If we want to do service for the sake of service, then we are probably in well-being, not in our souls.

The soul says, “First, I want it to be about me.” This is not narcissism if it comes from the soul, if the desire is not the object. It is not about wanting this or wanting that, but about wanting Him, wanting the Divine. First we get Him; then we can serve. There are many who serve before they have Him.

The spirit of the time of course allowed me to believe in my reason. He let me see myself in the image of a leader with ripe thoughts. But the spirit of the depths teaches me that I am a servant, in fact the servant of a child. This dictum was repugnant to me and I hated it. (p. 234)

To die to self, to give up the ego, to be the child, we must first serve the child. This takes not just humility, but extreme humility. This is different from being humble, for humbleness is a form of arrogance.

This is difficult, for many people who teach and who are healers have great, ripe thoughts that others can pick and eat. But this is not the right way for a leader or teacher to be. The way to tell whether a teacher or healer is living this way rather than being in relationship with Him is to look at that person’s dreams. Most of the teachers and healers I have worked with have had to face into the fact that they have not been of their souls.

Of course, this was repugnant to Carl. Who wants to hear that their leadership and their ripe thoughts are all flawed?

The spirit of the depths ultimately teaches us that God should not tell us what to do – we should know when we are not right. Many of us wait until someone around us tells us we are off instead of knowing it from the inside. We should mock ourselves instead of having God or a teacher mock us.

If you have still not learned this from the old holy books, then go there, drink the blood and eat the flesh of him who was mocked and tormented for the sake of our sins, so that you will totally become his nature, deny his being-apart-from-you; you should be himself, not Christians but Christ, otherwise you will be of no use to the coming God. (p. 234)

Here, Carl is talking about Jesus, not Christians or Christianity. For those of us in the Western culture, we are Judeo-Christian, even if we have become Buddhists. Carl tells us not to be Christians, but Christ. What does this mean?

We are not really going to understand what Carl means here until we face into our traumas. Jesus was the most human when he was on the cross, turning against God, saying, “Why have you forsaken me?”

Every human who carries hurts and wounds, which is all of us, stands in that moment and asks this question: “God, why have you abandoned me?” It is in that moment that we lose our souls. Turning that trauma into love, into feeling love in that very moment, is what Christ did when he said, soon after, “Forgive them, they know not what they do.” We do not have this moment in our lives, but the dreams will give us this gift.

Jesus could not ask for forgiveness for those who killed and tortured him if he did not realize that God had nothing to do with his predicament. He blamed God but then understood that all evil that comes to humans comes from humans. In some mystical way, God cannot intervene. We make the choices.

This is such a difficult process. If it were otherwise, then God would be a tyrant. The soul must come forth. It is not about compliance. Many tyrants in the world are tyrants around spirituality or religion – priests or ministers or “holy” men or women.

So, when Carl says not to be Christian, but to be Christ, he means to step into our traumas in a new way, to learn what Jesus learned on the cross.

Is there any among you who believes he can be spared the way? Can he swindle his way past the pain of Christ? I say: “Such a one deceives himself to his own detriment. He beds down on thorns and fire. No one can be spared the way of Christ, since this way leads to what is to come. You should all become Christs.”(p. 234)

The pain of Christ is simply the pain of our traumas; it is the way back to compassion.

This is controversial for we confuse this with Christianity. Christianity’s way of compassion is really just ego, arrogance, pathology. The Church took over the mystery, and then said, “We have a mystery and we want to share it with you.” Chartres is a great example of this. People go to Chartres to find the mystery – in the labyrinth, in the windows, in all the splendor of the church, when the whole time, the Girl lives underneath Chartres. When Christa and I visited Chartres, we went down into the crypt of the church. There, in a darkened room that the guide simply walked by without a second look, was an image of Mary. This is the Girl, locked up in a dungeon in the darkness.

Every step closer to my soul excites the scornful laughter of my devils, those cowardly ear-whisperers and poison-mixers. It was easy for them to laugh, since I had to do strange things. (p. 234)

As we go deeper in our work, into our own journeys to our souls, it is true that the pathology gets stronger. The ear-whisperers have nothing to do with our true desires, with our souls. Our feelings always trump the ear-whisperers.

What are the ear-whisperers? Thoughts. In our society, we definitely believe more in thoughts than in feelings. We have more ideas about our thoughts than we do our feelings. This is part of the problem. But when we develop feelings, we no longer need to be confused, for whisperings are not feelings.

Carl is still giving us an understanding of the complexity of the soul. We have yet to begin the descent.

 


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