The third world is the realm of creative imagination. The fire in our head is also that realm, as well as an inner call to connect with it. I promise you, the fire is a very real mytho-poetic faculty inherent in every mind. Many do not feel its warmth; others are as attracted to it as a moth to flame. Drawing too close can be risky, even dangerous.
With my 70th birthday coming up this year I’d been giving some thought to how I wanted to celebrate. Top on my list was to be with my family, but might there also be something a little unusual and special? I was still considering possibilities this winter when I received an e-mail catalogue from the New York Center for Jungian Studies about their annual spring conferences in Ireland.
Before fully awakening this morning I dozed off and on in dreams about a new post. But I can’t remember a word of it now. Plus, my mind is still absorbed in the book I was reading on Kindle (The Bet, by Vivienne Tuffnell) as I walked. What I really want to do is keep reading.
The inward path has a different set of rules and it takes time and experience to learn them. Because this way is far less well-understood in the West, and because it requires detaching from the spirit of the times, it inevitably entails confusion, conflict, self-doubt, pain and suffering. What will happen if we leave the safe familiar way? Will we be punished? Will anyone still love us?
Why not use logic, reason, intelligence and will power to renew ourselves and the world? The answer should painfully obvious to anyone who has peered through the veil of cultural conditioning. For thousands of years cultures throughout the world have insisted that we, with our heroic egos, brilliant philosophies, and correct religions, know how to create the best of all possible worlds.
Once I saw life as a well-marked road with a clear destination. Or an upward trek to a distant mountain peak. One day I’d arrive at that light-filled place and be finished. Or it was a spiral whose circles would get smaller as they rose higher until only a small, still point was left. I told myself I’d keep digging until a dazzling light illuminated everything I needed to know. I’d write a book that would answer all my questions and say everything I needed to say.
In my youth, many of my family’s elders still held strict religious views which forbade work, movies, dancing, or playing cards on Sundays, and they disapproved of people who did these things. Sundays were for church, home, family, praying, Bible study and resting. Although my parents loosened up a bit in their religious views, they, too, were good, responsible, well-meaning, church-going people. Right beliefs, good deeds, and behavior beyond reproach were what counted.