In almost every spiritual tradition there appear two aspects of the Divine: the immanent and the transcendent. Although some traditions favor one or the other of these faces of God, most try to find a means of uniting them. The immanent face of God looks to the world and seems involved in our daily lives, while the transcendent face looks away from the world and seems unconcerned with normal day to day life. Both aspects reflect truth about divine reality, but also about the needs of the human psyche. For the psyche to experience its own awakening and fulfillment, it needs to discover two forms of enlightenment: one that unites it with the immanent and one with the transcendent. Dr. Raff will address these two forms of enlightenment in this lecture from both a theoretical and practical perspective.
One of C.G. Jung’s greatest contributions to contemporary spiritual practice was his reintroduction of active imagination, a method by which one can encounter the world of the unconscious normally accessible only in dreams. Building on Jung’s ideas, Dr. Raff has developed a series of exercises and practices by which one can not only encounter the inner world, but reach beyond the psyche to experience psychoidal entities – spiritual beings who have a life of their own and do not belong to the psyche. In particular, Dr. Raff has developed practices through which one can encounter and create a relationship with one’s ally. As the personal and unique expression of the divine, the ally is a combination of guide, divine lover, and psychopomp.
Christians honor God on their knees, Jews rock back and forth on their heels, Muslims prostrate themselves, and all thereby connect with what Jung called the numinous. There are similarities and differences among religious practices that awaken numinosity, mirrored in our images of their founders – Moses climbing a mountain, Jesus walking through crowds, Mohammed on his steed, and the Buddha seated in meditation. In this lecture Dr. Spiegelman will present brief examples of the ways followers of various spiritual paths experience the numinous: the Taoist from “within”, the Muslim “among” other Muslims during the Hajj, “between” in alchemy, while the Hindu finds it all “around” through nature, art, music, and synchronicity.
This workshop will explore the Divine Within via an extensive survey of spiritual paths, including Zen Buddhism through the Ox-Herding Pictures, Hinduism through Kundalini yoga, and Judaism through the Kabbalah. By examining various spiritual paths in depth, discovering their similarities and differences in spirit, we may be able to see our own path more clearly. Participants will have the opportunity to learn from and share with a learned and devoted investigator of world religions and psychology. Lively discussion is expected.
We live in a remarkable time, a time in which our intellectual prowess is unsurpassed and seems to grow in leaps and bounds. We can soar to the moon, design life in a test tube and condense the entire encyclopedia into a tiny chip. Our brains are in overdrive and yet, something is sorely missing. Some characterize this element that is lacking as a HER – a more feminine way of being. Despite years of progress within the women’s movement, the breadth and depth of the feminine archetype has plenty of wilderness yet to be explored. By Her very nature, She is hard to describe – emotional, relational, closer to the instinctual and natural worlds. Rather than trying to get to know Her, we prefer to tame, control and manage Her. She complies as She adapts, adorns and abdicates Her own genuine authority. And everybody loses. What sets Her apart? Why is She so easily demonized? What are we afraid of? What is your relationship to the feminine? How do you respond to the feminine in others? How can we help Her thrive in this world?
Together, we will watch Dangerous Beauty, the story of a sixteenth century Venetian courtesan who has been tutored in the fine art of lovemaking, poetry and conversation. Ironically, it is she who is uniquely positioned to stand on her own long enough to be valued for herself, providing a remarkable role model for those of us in search of feminine strength. In our discussion of the film, we will delve deeper to excavate the too easily idealized, then quickly maligned, but very precious archetypal feminine. This is not just a women’s issue! Men and women alike are suffering the severe consequences of a marginalized feminine. We all carry a form of the feminine within and are better off if we have a good relationship to Her. So, men, please feel welcome; you are sorely needed in this discussion.
Tonight we celebrate the coming of the holiday season. The Winter Solstice, the longest night and the shortest day of the year, is a symbol of the coming of light when the powers of darkness are at their strongest. Darkness eventually gives way to light, just as dark nights of the soul soften our egos and lift our faces to the Self. Moreover, if we ponder them from the perspective of Sufi, esoteric Christian, and related paths, darkness and light also refer to states of consciousness that are healing if we access them. Darkness is the holding, containing Mother-Father consciousness, sometimes called the Absolute, which gives birth to Light, symbol of the Holy Child and the essential Self of every human being. Tonight, Dr. Wittine will describe these states of consciousness by drawing on Jungian theory, esoteric teachings, and experiences of people doing inner work. He will also discuss techniques of meditation to help us enter these states. The Crises and Conflicts of Spiritual Awakening.
Jung wrote, “The experience of the Self is always a defeat for the ego.” Since spiritual awakening offers a direct challenge to the primacy of ego consciousness and the myth of separation, it is no surprise that such a challenge can produce a period of confusion and unbalance. Jung himself endured such a crisis. His ego was overwhelmed by an infusion of spiritual energies, which at first he was unable to integrate. We find warnings about perils on the path in most spiritual traditions. Becoming attached to various powers or siddhis, preoccupation with inner visions, splitting between “higher” and “lower” parts of the personality, ego-inflation and deflation are examples of how spiritual awakening can go awry. We will contemplate Jung’s own crisis of spiritual emergence and discuss how to recognize and work with psychospiritual conflicts in ourselves. Psychotherapists will find this workshop pertinent to their daily work.