C. G. Jung believes that we go through three births in our lifetime. The first is our physical birth, then the birth of our Ego, and then our spiritual birth. In accordance with that fact, we also undergo three phases of development in our life. In the first third of our lives, emphasis is on our bodily growth, in the middle phase of our lives our Ego grows, and the last third of our lives is the period of our internal development.
While at the first two births the most important thing is the maximum exploitation of the opportunities offered by the external world, in the third phase, however, the emphasis shifts on our internal development potentials. Unfortunately, the majority of people will never experience the spiritual birth, for various reasons. Let us examine the possible reasons for that, to find out what factors encourage or prevent spiritual birth in us.
The Programming of the Mind
Our spiritual birth is usually prevented by the conditioned deep programming of the mind. These programs place the development of the Ego in the foreground, and make efforts to sustain that development until the end of the life of the individual. The programmings support the progress of the Ego, they urge us to develop a powerful and efficient Ego for ourselves, and they make us believe that it is the ultimate goal in human life. These programmings regard any effort at suppressing the Ego as a sign of weakness that we should be ashamed of, and that we should avoid at any cost.
These conditioned mental patterns are realized as various systems of beliefs and patterns of thoughts in our lives. These patterns of thoughts and beliefs are not created by ourselves. They have been handed down to us by our parents, our community and the society in which we grow up, and we have also borrowed some from the media. We very often accept these ready-made mental patterns and beliefs uncritically, without any thinking; what is more, we identify with these patterns that will, in this way, be incorporated into our personalities.
That is how our different convictions have been created over the years, that is how we have created a system of values and beliefs for ourselves, and we now organize our entire life based upon those systems. Those conditioned mental patterns serve as a background to the events that are happening to us day by day. The majority of our worries, desires, pleasures and motivations are derived from those mental patterns and all these, in turn, further reinforce those patterns.
The Social Pattern
All what has been stated above will lead us to the conclusion that our programmed Mind is a social product. Reinforcing the Ego and the never reached spiritual birth, in fact, serve the interests of society. The most important system of social co-existence on Earth today is the consumer society. It means that the basis of social development is economic growth, and economic growth depends on how much we consume.
The most important consumer is Ego, since all products obtained (house, car, expensive clothes), improve the imaginary greatness of the Ego. The more commodities or more power we possess, the more important members of consumer society we are.
If we are able to divert our attention from Ego, and concentrate on our internal development and our spiritual birth, our qualities as consumers will considerably drop, since we are no longer attracted to the things that so far fattened our Egos.
As in the recent decades more and more people have felt a need for spiritual birth, social strategy changed accordingly. Spiritual development has also been made a consumer product, which largely supported by the survival instinct of the Ego. The Ego, which has been interested in money and power, now turns towards spiritual development, and disguises itself in the dress of a spiritual Ego. We try to decorate those spiritual clothes by adding more and more spiritual knowledge and experience so as to make it more colorful and individual. With all that, we hope that our spiritual progress will serve the further increase and eternal happiness of our spiritual Ego.
Consumer society is all too pleased to serve us in those needs. A glance at the vivid market of spiritual books, methods and masters will suffice to convince us about that. Nothing has really changed; the pattern of the consumer society is the same, only its contents have been partially replaced.
From the aspect of our spiritual birth and internal development, however, the amount of spiritual knowledge gathered, the spiritual development methods acquired, and the sophisticated spiritual events we have had in our life are all unimportant.
Spiritual birth can only be the result of Consciousness. Our internal development therefore does not only depend on our life experience; it depends much more on our ability to divert our attention from the outside world to our internal world. Are we able to turn away from the patterns of Mind, programmed by our Egos, and is there a deep desire to know the true answer to the question “Who am I?”
The patterns of the consumer society are determined to prevent us from making the necessary adjustments in our orientation by gluing our attention to various consumer products or a spiritual development scheme that involves the Ego. A major element of this spiritual development pattern is that we are trying to understand the contents of our Minds, to analyze our thoughts and emotions. Our attention is thus engaged by the various methods that we are using to examine our thoughts and emotions. That is what we regard as our real internal world, and we create the illusion of toiling on our spiritual birth.
From the aspect of our spiritual birth the often-chaotic world of our Mind and emotions is not our real internal world. Our attention should not be directed to the analysis and comprehension of these; instead, we need to concentrate on becoming conscious of our existence, to find the center of our Self behind our external life and personal history. That is our real internal world.
In the course of our spiritual world we become conscious of, and alert to that internal center, to that internal world. Once that has been accomplished, our life is placed on entirely new foundations. The Mind stops functioning the way it used to and, together with that, our sense of identifying with the Mind vanishes. The spiritual Ego, our separate little self disappears, and we are permeated by a permanent, light presence. The personality is gone, and what remains is silence and presence, as the real essence of our existence. From that time on, that will serve as the real foundation for our internal development.
Are You a Spiritual Newborn?
Why not complete the following Conscious Alertness Quiz, which assesses your progress in transcending functions of Ego and increasing conscious alertness in the present moment.
About the Author
Frank M. Wanderer, Ph.D is a professor of psychology, a consciousness researcher and writer. With a lifelong interest in the mystery of human existence, Frank’s work is to help others wake up from identification with our personal history and the illusory world of the forms and shapes, and to find our identity in what he calls “the Miracle”, the mystery of the Consciousness.