The Symbolic Life: Ancient Wisdom for a Modern World

We moderns live on a thin crust of the earth. Go three miles up into the environment and one freeze; travel toward the earth’s middle less than a mile and one succumbs to the warmth. We are liable for the absence of oxygen above and the molten rock under. Yet we often take existence on our thin little crust of earth as a right so that its fragility seems transitory and perhaps even inappropriate. How did the ancients manipulate to survive, in order that we are now right here to ask this question? Carl Jung and his fans preserve that residing a symbolic life engenders an existence that is closer to the historical knowledge we as soon as known, long before we were born, a way of lifestyles that sustained a primitive people through ritual and culture and the sacred tales we call mythology. Jungian analyst and author J. Pittman McGehee said, “In an international that has lapsed into rational modernity, we have to reclaim the nonrational because of the fact.” The right news is that the symbolic existence can be determined in the present and has the greatest capability of creating that stability that is necessary for concord and contentedness with ourselves and others. So simply how do you start to live the symbolic life? Many of you will be doing it now however just do not think about it. Nevertheless, I suggest eight approaches of growing a more potent focus of what you’re already doing.

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First, be conscious of your participation in rituals.

What topics to us nowadays? Is it best what motive defines, or can the nonrational be crucial as nicely in taking the time to stay within subculture or go through the motions of symbolic conduct? In our places of worship, do we sincerely notice the icons and logos of our ideals? Do we mild candles, stand, kneel, stroll, chant, go ourselves, accept the wafer and wine as the frame and blood of Christ? Outside of faith, a vital system in our culture, we have our personal ritualistic celebrations and holiday traditions. We make toasts to every other’s health and happiness, we placed money below the pillow of a child in exchange for lost babyhood, and we mild candles for another 12 months of existence. We baptize our infants and communicants, and we have a good time coming of age with conventional ceremonies from bat mitzvahs to Eagle Scouts. Every season gives a possibility to engage in time commemorated, routine occasions that solidify in our memory the procedure, the stairs we take that we look forward to re-enacting. Our calendars are replete with a full year of special days–President’s Day, Martin Luther King Day, Valentine’s Day, all the days surrounding Lent and Easter, Memorial Day, July 4th, Labor Day, Holloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s, and all of the vacations on the Jewish, Orthodox, Chinese, and multiethnic calendars that richly beautify our lives. We are a society brimming with commemorations and festive observances which have elevated us to ritualistic lifestyles.

Second, think of sharing food with humans as sacramental.

We share meals in our connectedness, in a birthday party, and whilst we do that, we share a bond in unity, the starting place of which lies deep within our subconscious. Food is not just a necessity. To what first-rate lengths we’ve traveled is obvious in our admiration of pinnacle cooks and movie star cooking indicates and prepare dinner books that persuade us of the graciousness of eating well with family and friends. First dates, engagements, weddings, retirement, funerals, and all of the various vacations–we define their which means to us with food. Even in our goals, food is sacramental and is often associated with sacrifice, the bread, and wine of the Eucharist.

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Breaking bread with others has turned out to be an expression extra than its literal which means, bread symbolizing from ancient instances the meals of the frame and soul, the bread of existence. It isn’t coincidental that the breaking of bread happens in sacramental sharing and communion. In John 6:35, Christ is called “the bread of lifestyles,” and in Luke 22:19, bread is called “the body of Christ.”

Loaves of bread percentage their existence-awakening properties with corn, which depicts fruitfulness and abundance, especially inside the Greek myths. Corn is the emblem of Demeter, who withholds the earth’s abundance from mankind while her daughter Persephone dutifully descends to Hades within the autumn and winter months. No other fantasy expresses existence/dying/rebirth quite so aptly because of the tale of Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain.

Third, take pictures and study them often.

Photographs allow us to revel in critical moments in our lives, and as we examine them over and over, the moment captured in a flash transcends the past and turns into the present all over again. But what approximately the contents of the snapshots? When we look at a group of people with their hands round every other, that symbol of bonding reminds us now not best of 1 treasured flicker of time, however, a relationship encircled in safety and safety that we want to hold all the time. Photos people splashing in replenishing water, of celebrations and sacred activities held in sacred places remind us of the nonsecular commitments that exceed the instant and travel into the remainder of our lives. Technology has placed the capacity to image special and even regular activities at our fingertips. The application most usually used on clever telephones, consistent with Apple’s latest studies, is the digicam. Further proof to substantiate our hovering interest in images is our ardent adoration of photographs in social media and private and professional websites. Our symbolic recollections captured in a photograph create institutions that deliver abiding reason to our past, gift, or even our future endeavors in a cyclical manner.

Fourth, think of water as refreshing and purifying however additionally sacramental.

Water, an image of the subconscious, may be understood on less complicated however similarly critical stages in our every day lives. Water dissolves, purifies, washes away, refreshes and regenerates. Whether we wash our fingers or immerse our complete our bodies, water revivifies us and infuses new life. Baptism re-enacts lifestyles, demise, rebirth, and christening reminds us of washing away the vintage lifestyles and sanctifying the new. Without rainwater, our planet could dry up and we’d die. The existence giving waters of rivers, lakes, seas, and oceans permit the flowers and fauna and humans on the planet to have a sustainable area to live. We are continuously reminded of the vital fitness blessings of ingesting water, and on a hot day, we want no reminders of its resuscitating consequences. Each year at the beginning of college, a priest from the Greek Orthodox Cathedral with whom my college is affiliated visits every classroom and offers a blessing followed by means of the sprinkling of water on teachers, college students, and lecture room. As we near our eyes and feel the ones tiny droplets of water, we agree with via the strength of ritual and image that the 12 months might be a fruitful one.

Fifth, love the earth, particularly timber.

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In his classic observe of 1984 with patients getting better from gallbladder surgical treatment, Roger Ulrich manipulated the view from the patients’ windows so that group one noticed bushes and institution noticed a brick wall. Group one recovered quicker and with fewer complications or want for ache medications. What we know about timber literally is that environmentally we could not live without the oxygen-generating, pollutant-cleaning trees. But for most of the people who swear they can’t stay fine lives without bushes, there may be no medical proof, alternatively an intuitive know-how of what contributes to their properly being.

Research suggests that bushes and green area in neighborhoods and parks create happier, more healthy environments. In a UK study that ran yearly from 1991-2008, 12,000 people were studied in a longitudinal survey as human beings moved around. The analyses cautioned that human beings are happier when residing in urban regions with extra amounts of green space, especially parks and woodlands. Furthermore, the inexperienced workout has truly been shown to be more effective on mental fitness compared with exercise in a fitness center without a view of green area. The logical end being that we need to hold our earth, we need to first understand the pressing necessity and enthusiastically receive the task of doing so.