Context:

The religious person enjoys a great advantage when it comes to answering the crucial question that hangs over our time like a threat: he has a clear idea of the way his subjective existence is grounded in his relation to “God.” I put the word “God” in quotes in order to indicate that we are dealing with an anthropomorphic idea whose dynamism and symbolism are filtered through the medium of the unconscious psyche. Anyone who wants to can at least draw near to the source of such experiences, no matter whether he believes in God or not. Without this approach it is only in rare cases that we witness those miraculous conversions of which Paul’s Damascus experience is the prototype. That religious experiences exist no longer needs proof. But it will always remain doubtful whether what metaphysics and theology call God and the gods is the real ground of these experiences. The question is idle, actually, and answers itself by reason of the subjectively overwhelming luminosity of the experience. Anyone who has had it is seized by it and therefore not in a position to indulge in fruitless metaphysical or epistemological speculations. Absolute certainty brings its own evidence and has no need of anthropomorphic proofs.
— C. G. Jung, The Undiscovered Self

Reading this I find myself asking: “Evidence of what? Certainty in what?” There is no proof in experience except of the experience itself. And for me, trying to hold experience as only that with no meaning, without any concepts is, at best, extremely difficult. The interpretation is that in which I might be certain but any interpretation appears to be constructed from previous beliefs and values. Without some pre-existing myth, or framework, the experience proves only that it is possible to have such an experience.

Even with a myth, a numinous experience is only the beginning. The experience may solidify, ground, even prove one’s faith and chase away whatever doubts may have existed before. Now, however, the true work begins, the work of integrating this experience and its meaning into day-to-day life. This is the work that Jung started working on in his 3 years of encounter with the unconscious, this is the work that never ends.

Seeing objectively one’s whole being, be it through dreamwork, guided imagination, or meditation can be intensely freeing. For me, it took facing the pain of feeling completely alone, apart from the world and everything in it. Facing this most hidden part of me allowed me to have faith in myself and in my practice. Not having to hide this part of myself, I was free to face the world around me more fully. Not having to spend energy in hiding a part of myself, I was naturally energized and joyful. That experience, however, merely pointed the way and it is up to me to continue down this path.

I have seen and accepted (at least for a while) a part of me that I wasn’t able to see before. To be true to that experience I must keep uncovering more and more of my self. This path, however, is not easy. It brings new questions and new doubts to the surface. Having had certainty before is not always helpful when surrounded by doubt. The memory of that faith is fading away when faced with present pain. More than once I felt completely lost, asking myself “what does it mean?!”

Anyone who has had it it is seized by it and therefore not in a position to indulge in fruitless metaphysical or epistemological speculations.
— C. G. Jung, Ibid.

It has been the same in my experience. For a while I was seized by experience, by truth, and as long as I was seized the questions did not matter. All was clear. Eventually, however, one is no longer seized and then the rest of one’s life begins with whatever measure of faith is left.

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