The alchemical operation of coagulatio, together with the imagery that clusters around this idea, constitutes an elaborate symbol system that expresses the archetypal process of ego formation. When ego’s relation to Self is being realized–that is, when the ego is approaching the coagulatio in the psche in its totality–then the symbolism of ego development becomes identical with that of individuation.2 Jung puts it better:
God wants to be born in the flame of man’s consciousness, leaping ever higher. And what if this has no roots in the earth? If it is not a house of stone where the fire of God can dwell, but a wretched straw hut that flares up and vanishes? Could God then be born? One must be able to suffer God. That is the supreme task for the carrier of ideas. He must be the advocate of the earth. God will take care of himself. My inner principle is Deus et homo. God needs man in order to become conscious, just as he needs limitations in time and space. Let us, therefore, be for him limitation in time and space, an earthly tabernacle.3
I can no longer count in my fingers how many times I questioned my existence and every time I was in that state I suffer psychologically, physically, and spiritually. It’s not that I am not doing anything to find meaning; actually I did different things, and one of them that gave purpose was when I established SoLA Codes a free after-school and technology boot camp for the underserved and underrepresented community in South Los Angeles.
That made life seem beautiful and more meaningful. I see hope in humanity through the eyes of my young students. I can sense it from the parents that they felt uplifted, that at last, there is hope. My program offers a curriculum that is not easily affordable when taken elsewhere. But here I am, giving it for free, why? I don’t know, I just answered an inner calling. The parents are happy that their children will have a competitive edge and chance for a better future through education.
A couple of years prior to this, I had a surgery and it took me six months to recover, I lost my job due to that. While I was looking for a new job, I had a car accident, my car was totaled, my left arm was injured so I’m back to zero. Unemployed, destitute, no car, and to top it all, I became homeless. God, I was broken.
A social worker from the hospital directed me to a program that provides temporary dwelling; I landed in a transitional home. My housemates were ex-convict, alcoholic, drug addict, and victim of domestic violence. I said to myself I don’t belong here because I was not in any of these categories, I just had a bad luck.
It’s hard to find peace living in this kind of environment you never know when someone will stick a knife in your gut. But that’s when I saw that everyone around me was broken too, it’s a war zone with no bullets, it’s a war inside people’s mind permeated into the spirit. Joseph Campbell said in The Power of Myth:
“Heaven and hell are within us, and all the gods are within us. This is the great realization of the Upanishads of India in the ninth Century B.C. All the gods, all the heavens, all the world, are within us. They are magnified dreams, and dreams are manifestations in image form of the energies of the body in conflict with each other. That is what myth is. Myth is a manifestation in symbolic images, in metaphorical images, of the energies of the organs of the body in conflict with each other. This organ wants this, that organ wants that. The brain is one of the organs.”1
I also had my share of ups and downs in relationships. I hit rock bottom–gradual long process of suffering and depression. In the end when hope is nowhere in sight, a spark of divine light kindled the dying flame in my heart. Maybe the universal mind said, you have not yet accomplished what you are here for. It took me weeks to mustered up the courage and start all over again.
I did my shadow work. I picked up my cross and suffered God. I would not have done it if my life were smooth sailing. Each time my ego encountered the Self, I get crucified. My old self die and resurrect with a new perspective in life. More connected to nature, one step closer to the source.
I think each one on earth either suffered God or waiting for a crucifixion. In The Red Book4 Jung wrote:
Magic is a way of living. If one has done one’s best to steer the chariot, and one then notices that a greater other is actually steering it, then magical operation takes place.
1 Campbell, J., Moyers, B. D., & Flowers, B. S. (1991). The power of myth. New York: Anchor Books.
2 Edinger, Edward F. Anatomy of the Psyche Alchemical Symbolism in Psychotherapy. W. Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library, 2009.
4 Jung, C. G. (2009). The red book: Liber novus (S. Shamdasani, Ed.). New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
3 Jung, C.G. Letters 1:65ff