Painting by Leonardo da Vinci

“Jung said that to be in a situation where there is no way out or to be in a conflict where there is no solution is the classical beginning of the process of individuation. It is meant to be a situation without solution; the unconscious wants the hopeless conflict in order to put ego consciousness up against the wall, so that the man has to realize that whatever he does is wrong, whichever way he decides will be wrong. This is meant to knock out the superiority of the ego, which always acts from the illusion that it has the responsibility of decision. . . If he is ethical enough to suffer to the core of his personality, then generally, because of the insolubility of the conscious situation, the Self manifests. In religious language you could say that the situation without issue is meant to force the man to rely on an act of God.”

― Marie-Louise von Franz


“The human soul has a mythic propensity and cosmological instinct for making something out of nothing. We are being asked to participate creatively in the changes sweeping through the world. In the great drama of life, the awakened human soul becomes the extra quantity and uniquely living quality needed to help tip the balance of the world away from destruction and toward ongoing creation. The counterbalance to collective forms of terror and destruction is found in individuals awakening to the underlying wholeness of the self and the secret connection of each to the soul of the world.”

— Michael Meade, “Awakening the Soul”

The drama we see playing out on the world political stage right now shows us who we are as individuals. If the majority of us were enlightened, our social organization would look very different. Those few people who are living in an evolved state haven’t yet been able to pull the rest of us to higher consciousness. As the world approaches that “situation without issue “ that von Franz mentions, will we be collectively wishing for an act of God?

My life trajectory has benefited from copious acts of God, although at the time I thought they were disasters. It’s as if the gods are watching and wringing their hands over your stupid moves until they are forced to teach you a lesson. Looking back, I can only say thank you.

I hasten to add that not all the lessons are hard ones. Sometimes they just put something mesmerizingly beautiful in your path and you’ll be changed by it forever. I met my wife that way, by the grace of the gods and it brought a transformative blessing into my life that I never expected.

It happened sometimes that an alchemy I didn’t understand or expect gave me a shock and sent waves of influence coursing through the rest of my life. It’s a mystery how that happens because we’re not in touch with our deeper layers of self called “archetypal” by the Jungians. We’re not aware of being connected to anything that could be called the soul of the world. We’re just focused on the details of every day. The last thing we think about is the world soul.

When you’ve lived a long time and you can survey your own history of twists and turns of a lifetime, you’ll start to suspect the participation of a superior consciousness acting outside of your awareness. You may think you are in control because there are intelligences you don’t suspect with their own influences on your life. You don’t see them, but serendipity and synchronicity are real.

Why are we alive? Why now? Could it be that we are needed to advance the destiny of the soul of the world? That sounds grandiose precisely because we think in very small terms, but if we’re going to be a help not a hindrance in this theater of the heart, we’ll need to affirm our deep connection to all that is. Our angels are waiting.

I occasionally write fiction and also about creativity, loving, language learning and travel. I’m a longtime painter and reader.

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