A Labyrinth Walk Of Life
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A Labyrinth Walk Of Life

Lewis Tagliaferre

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eBook - ePub

A Labyrinth Walk Of Life

Lewis Tagliaferre

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About This Book

Here is a collection of journaled essays leading to the inevitable belief in theological fatalism, aka Theofatalism. They include arguments from theology, psychology, politics, geology, technology, sociology, economics, history, cosmology and more. With this belief system, you can feel good inside no matter what happens outside. It may take several readings to get it, but anything worthwhile requires effort. The work relies upon religious scriptures and the analytical psychology of Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung (1875-1961). The Chartres Labyrinth is used as the symbol for the walk of life that each of us is given. We leave the source at birth and meander around on earth through stages of growth and decline to return to the source when our life work is done. You don't have to search for your purpose in life, because you cannot avoid it. Essays in Part I discuss contemporary issues of life, and Part II focuses on the Jungian personality factors in aging. The scriptural evidence points to the will of God in every aspect of every life of every species on earth, i.e., immaculate immanence. This is not the manmade god in holy books, but the prime mover in the universe - generator, operator, destroyer - GOD. God above Gods. Don't believe in God? Never fear; God makes atheists and agnostics, too. That is the message of this book. The Psalm says, "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!" (Psalm 139: 16, NLT). Nothing from atoms to galaxies can happen outside the will of God. Ergo Theofatalism.

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Exploring the World
The journey through life could be like the orderly walk through the Labyrinth, a mandala or metaphor that symbolizes the walk of life on the book covers by this writer. Unlike the dead ends and random pathway of a maze, the labyrinth has no barriers, and it definitely is not a random walk. The Rev. Lauren Artress (Walking a Labyrinth—2011) has said, “Walking the Labyrinth has reemerged today as a metaphor for the spiritual journey and a powerful tool for transformation. This walking meditation is an archetype, a mystical ritual found in many religious traditions. It quiets the mind and opens the soul. Each step unites faith and action as travelers take one step at a time, living each moment in trust and willingness to follow the course set before them.”
Those who are able to walk through a symbolic labyrinth often report a spiritual encounter with the divine essence of who they really are. No one can make this discovery for another as it is the ultimate awareness of being one with the universe, insignificant but an indispensable part of the whole—like a drop of water in the ocean. Some of the astronauts who walked on the moon reported such an experience. Unfortunately, modern culture renders most people insensitive to the spiritual or intuitive content of their nature because they are identified with what they do and not who they are. But Jesus declared, “The spirit gives life, the flesh counts for nothing” (John 6:63). This discovery requires that one makes the effort to change the orientation of life from outward to inward—from sensing to intuition, from physical to spiritual. C. G. Jung proclaimed that “those who look outward dream, but those who look inward awake.” Most people live on the surface of life and never really probe deeply for the gold nuggets buried in the subconscious mind. Therefore, the essays in this work are intended to focus your attention on a form of subconscious awareness that only a very few may be willing and able to endure—or to contemplate on their labyrinth walk of life.
We may assume many different roles in life, and we present a different persona or identity to the world from time to time as we take the walk of life, wearing a mask as it were a theatrical character. However, all these encounters and persona (false self) are temporary and ultimately leave us with the essential “I AM” that we were at the beginning of life, i.e., the true self. French philosopher Pierre T. de Chardin (1881–1955) said, “We are not humans having a spiritual experience, we are spirits having a human experience.” The essence of being a human self accumulates many experiences while walking the labyrinth of life, successes and failures, gains and losses, joy and grief, which make up the experiences of living. As we age, the previous masks must be discarded and assigned to memory to make space for the new ones—until the final one of the old sage. Failing these transitions, the accumulating masks can be overlaid, causing much psychic disorientation. As the late John Lennon learned, life is what happens while we are making other plans. And it all must be necessary or it would be different, minute by minute and breath by breath. As such, there may be no mistakes on the walk of life, merely predestined choices and consequences, all in God’s will of course—ergo, Theofatalism.
According to psychiatry professor emeritus Irvin Yalom, this spiritual adventure is so illuminating it is like staring at the sun; it is so dangerous that it can only be absorbed through a dark filter or in very short bursts. So take your time reading the essays that form this inward look at who you really are, insignificant but indispensable to the whole. It may take several readings to fully inform your psyche of this message. Some ideas are presented several times, and that must be necessary or it would be different. Some ideas require repeating. It is like walking the labyrinth, which meanders around and seems to retrace the pathway through the four quadrants. Leon Trotsky (1879–1940) observed, “Life is not an easy matter. You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.” Perhaps this is it.
Theofatalism—a contraction of theological fatalism—comes with five principles: (1) everything must be necessary or it would be different, (2) people make unconscious decisions they do not control, (3) the universe is composed of necessary opposites, as in the ancient Chinese symbols of yin and yang, (4) the future is indefinitely uncertain, and (5) GOD—generator, operator, destroyer—is everywhere in everything as immaculate immanence. This is a branch of philosophy that has many proofs, each one quoted throughout these essays. The problem is that very few people can imagine that God causes destruction of his/its own creation, but the evidence is all around if you can see it. C. G. Jung said, “Man’s suffering does not derive from his sins but from the maker of his imperfections, the paradoxical God.” They also cannot believe that free will is a necessary illusion. We have no free will so we must believe in free will. If you can believe that, this work may be very important to your spiritual growth. With this belief system, you can feel good inside no matter what happens outside—if you work it. All in God’s will, of course.
The Newsmakers
Some things in the news can be very troubling… if you get the news. Here are some recent examples:
  1. Two college students at Virginia Tech abducted a girl, age thirteen, and killed her for no apparent reason. Another student killed thirty-two people on campus, including professors, without any apparent provocation but his own mental illness. Why would these people ruin their own lives and cause such suffering for so many families unless some force more powerful than they controlled them?
  2. A man honored as the best restaurant chef in the world in Switzerland committed suicide at age forty-four from combined grief after both his father and professional mentor died abruptly.
  3. Murder-suicides that wipe out entire families are spawned by the poverty and hopelessness in America almost weekly.
  4. Rapidly growing diseases of mental illness still suffer from a social stigma and taboo in American culture.
  5. Police departments in several cities are under siege for their perceived disregard for the lives of racial minorities.
  6. Illegal immigrants are responsible for a rapidly growing number of assaults, murders, and other unpunished felonies, often after being deported and returning several times.
  7. The epidemic of drug addictions and illegal human trafficking is being fueled by overuse of legal prescription opioid medicines.
  8. The aging of America is stressing the public role of caring for 76 million baby boomers who are not prepared for their retirements.
  9. The effectiveness of antibiotic drugs to fight off bacterial infections is rapidly fading as the prehistoric bugs are developing defense mechanisms to assure their survival—caused by the overuse of antibiotics by farmers to increase the production of prey animals for human food.
  10. The religion of Islam is being hijacked by ruthless and ungodly zealots who want to dominate the world with sharia as though they are the only true lawgivers, using suicide bombings and beheadings to enforce their beliefs and driving millions of neutral victims from their homes seeking safety as refugees in foreign countries.
  11. Countless mentally ill people in the USA are made homeless by the lack of necessary resources to preserve them in adequate housing—except for prisons.
We could add, 12) the insanity that passes for political campaigns to select the next president of the United States. Why would anyone in their right minds want to be president of the United States? There are plenty more events that would shake your confidence in God’s benevolence if you only knew what is happening. And we have not even begun to describe the geological disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and such plus diseases that plague the world of living creatures, you know, the ones that eat each other for food. For example, a family of ten was wiped out in Arizona when a flash flood swept them all away instantly while celebrating a birthday at a swimming hole after a thunderstorm that occurred eight miles away. This is the world that God has created. “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).
Most people do not get this kind of news, so they go about their daily lives totally ignorant of the world until something gets their personal attention—which may shock them into reality and stress their coping resources beyond endurance. Anxiety and depression can result after the shock and awe. When the late scientist Albert Einstein (1879–1955) discovered the new laws of physics, he said he felt as though the earth was stripped out from under him and he had no firm place on which to stand. This is the place of anyone who really knows what is happening in the world. Einstein also said we can live as though everything is a miracle or nothing is a miracle, necessary opposites in thought. When you look into a mirror, you may realize that you are a miracle after you contemplate the act of conception and development in the womb that created you and all of your ancestors. The evidence for those who look for it in the workings of your own body points to the conclusion that human beings are no more in control of their own lives than any other species on earth, all of whom are doing both collectively and individually exactly what their creator intends for them to do, moment by moment. American founder Benjamin Franklin (1705–1790) thought the American Revolution was an act of God. He stated, “The longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth—that God governs in the affairs of men.”
The scriptures have much to say about this that you will not ever hear in church because the members might all run for the exits. The Psalm says, “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!” (Psalm 139:16). So the scriptural evidence points to the will of God in every aspect of every life of every species on earth—if you can believe it. The key to reading holy scriptures is to ask, what has that got to do with me today? Of course, the necessary opposing humanist force claims that we alone are the determinant of our own futures, and that belief, too, must be necessary or it would be different. “I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.” God never made any one-sided coins. F. Scott Fitzgerald (1896–1940) wrote in The Crackup (1936), “A mark of maturity is holding the opposites while functioning normally.” Whichever you learn and believe in the time and place where you live must also be the will of some force with power greater than your own mind, whatever is the mind. That force can be called GOD—generator, operator, destroyer—it controls everything from atoms to galaxies, and if you don’t get it, you just don’t get it. All in God’s will of course. Ergo theofatalism.
The Earth from Out There
You may have used the Global Positioning System (GPS) to navigate your way to a destination without realizing how it works. It is a culmination of the most inventive species on earth, Homo sapiens. The system was developed by the US Defense Department for military navigation, and it was made available for public use in 2000. The system relies upon twenty-four orbiting satellites positioned about 11,500 miles above the earth, plus a few spares. Each satellite has a life span of about ten years so they must be replaced to keep it working. The amount of information and mathematics compiled into the GPS receivers is far above my pay grade, but suffice to say that it is just one of the many marvels of modern technology. To pinpoint any location on earth, the receiver must use signals transmitted from three or four satellites and make some amazing calculations at the speed of light that could not have been imagined a few decades ago. In just a few years, the GPS navigation system has all but replaced the printed road maps that we used to depend upon for getting from here to there.
If you could look at the earth from out there, as the astronauts in the orbiting space station do, it would seem to be a very placid and apparently peaceful, unoccupied planet. And nothing could be farther from the truth. From the positions of the satellites above the earth, one cannot see any of the life forms or any of the national and political boundaries that separate people into the two hundred or so sovereign nations often at war with each other and within. From out there, one can only see the vast oceans that cover the earth and the variations of green, blue, brown, and white, which designate the continents from the seas. It is all covered with the atmosphere about twenty miles high, a swirling combination of gases that creates the weather and makes life on earth possible. There are unknown numbers of life forms on earth, both on the land and in the oceans from the smallest microscopic cells to the gigantic whales. Some are carnivores and some are herbivores. Consider the miraculous creation of lions, snakes, elephants, sharks, alligators, hummingbirds and butterflies, etc.—only God knows their purposes on earth. The hummingbird is so named because it makes a distinctive sound as its wings beat at fifty times per second, and its heart rate is 1,200 beats per minute but drops to hibernation rates as it sleeps. The European bee-eater is a small bird that captures honeybees in flight and kills them by banging their heads against a rock and then slams the abdomen until the venom is discharged before it is consumed—neat. Did you know there are more than six thousand known species of earthworms?
Plant species also occupy their given places on earth, and some are carnivores too. The pitcher plant oozes a slippery, smelly goo that attracts insects and small mammals that become trapped in the blossom as they are slowly consumed by the plant’s digestive juices. Each species preys upon another in a precise dance of survival so that no species becomes dominant in the ecosphere. How they all originated nobody really knows, although science says that it all evolved over some four billion years from one-celled amoebas that emerged from water, if you can imagine that. But what created that original organism? The one thing they all have in common is they must obtain, ingest, and process food to sustain life and pass it on from generation to generation, and then they die. Some living species live only a few weeks and some several years, but in death, they all are equal. For what purpose, nobody knows.
From the most primitive to the most advanced, each individual of all the species seems to be insignificant, and yet indispensable to the whole. Of them all, the species Homo sapiens seems to exhibit behaviors that both assure its continuance, but also threaten to cause its extinction. For example, it possesses marvelous abilities to sustain life and to obliterate life simultaneously… both/and. This species exists in a wide variety of forms manifested in various languages, cultures, governance, and society. They are clustered into tribes and nations, some in modern cities and some in primitive villages, each striving more or less for power and control over others, collectively and individually. Whether they accumulate more or less, their individual time on earth is very limited and passes all too quickly. The psalmist pondered this creation and wrote, “What is mankind that you are mindful of them? And yet, you created them just a little lower than the angels” (Psalm 8:4–6).
The Bible says God permitted Satan to demolish the life of Job, a loyal servant, to test his faith. When Job got his desired conversation with God, all he got was a stern lecture on who was the creator and the created. He was so astonished that he uttered, “I am unworthy, how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer—twice, but I will say no more” (Job 40:4–6). Life on earth is so amazing that some believe it is no accident or random occurrence. It may all be the will of God. Not the manmade god in ...

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