It fascinates me when I have been mulling over a concept or inner knowledge, and I read someone’s work where they are able to put it in clear, concise words. I go, “Yeah, that just exactly what I’ve been trying to understand and explain to myself!” It’s like the knowledge had to travel up my body, into my soul and out my mind and mouth.
Reading C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, Robert Baron, and Dallas Willard have that effect on me. They unlock truths that are swimming around in my inner being. Sometimes I have an epiphany where God reveals a truth to me, and that is pretty neat. The process of uncovering those truths as they relate to me helps me discover myself and who I am. An individual who is part of a bigger picture or collective beings.
The words “collective unconscious of mankind” came to my mind, so I looked it up. Wikipedia listed it as “a term coined by Carl Jung, refers to structures of the unconscious mind which are shared among beings of the same species… it is in the highest degree influenced by inherited presuppositions, quite apart from the unavoidable influences exerted upon it by the environment. The collective unconscious comprises in itself the psychic life of our ancestors right back to the earliest beginnings.”
In my simple Texas vocabulary, does that mean we have the story of mankind stamped on our spirits? And it has been passed down to us from generation to generation? I think there might be something to it. I do know we have an inner awareness if everything is well with us. Get something out of kilter, as a cowboy would say, and we know it. We know when something is missing in our lives, when something is wrong with our bodies, and when we are “driven” down a certain path (metaphorically). It’s as though we have a blueprint that tells us how we are supposed to be built, and we aren’t fully content until we are following those instructions.
So much of life is based on the mystic, that which we can’t see. But we are a scientific generation. We must see, measure and explain everything for it to be real. It hasn’t always been this way. Centuries ago, it would have been hard to explain advanced matters to a people who had no way of knowing the mysteries the future would hold: airplanes, electronics, concepts of the universe. So God, through the prophets, explained things in symbolic terms, using everyday examples, parables, that were usually linked to the agricultural life they lived.
Being the product of modernity and the scientific age, many of us want to give literal meaning to symbolic parables. We decide the earth is six thousand years old, there is no eternal death, the end times must be literal. We gag at a gnat, and swallow something impossibly big. (Matthew 23:24) This has the potential of hurting or driving away many people, especially those who are educated and think outside the box. I mentioned that inner awareness, that truth that lights up the mind. We have the truth inside us, and even if all facts don’t line up perfectly at any one point in our collective journey, we know we are in process, and more will be revealed as we absorb those which we have before us right now. But that might mean examining that which we can’t see, but already instinctively know about.