Verses 9–10: “(God) has made known to us his hidden purpose…namely, that the universes, all in heaven and on earth, might be brought into a unity in Christ.”
We often ask, “Why do I have to be in a certain situation? Why do I have to struggle with an emotion, relational pattern, or feeling state?”
We say, “There must be some lesson I need to learn.” Is that really true? I would like for us to consider that the purpose of whatever we experience is that all aspects of our self need to be brought into unity with one another.
The idea of interior unity—a single-pointed, aligned heart, head, and body—is foreign to many people. We suffer from cultural beliefs that the body is bad and the head is supposed to override any instinctive needs or impulses. The spirit, which we often talk of as heart, gets left out of the equation even though it leads the way towards integration. Our heart points us to our larger Self, God Within. God Within is the unifier.
We use problem-solving tools like listing pros and cons to try to come to a consensus when we feel torn in different directions. The ego wants to lead the charge for resolution with logic and reason. We tend to dismiss our felt sensations, emotions, and embodied desires. The intellect hopes the body will follow its decision. We only have to try sticking to a weight-loss diet to know how this method fails!
The scripture states, “all in heaven and on earth might be brought into a unity in Christ.” We associate heaven with the state of bliss where all is in harmony. Spirit, head, and body are an integrated whole. We think of earth as the place of division, where Spirit, head, and body are in conflict. The scripture reminds us that we can experience heaven on earth in relationship to God Within.
The larger Self, the psychological structure through which we know God, is capable of unifying all the opposing parts of our nature. We cannot force oneness with willpower, logic, or reason. We can invite integration as we stay in dialogue with all aspects of our self. This relationship allows the unifying third to present. This is an example of the Transcendent Function.
Carl Jung described the Transcendent Function as an organic process whereby a unifying third emerges when we consciously hold the tension of the opposites. We hold the tension of the opposites by courageously feeling the conflicting desires, seeing the opposing thoughts, and keeping ourselves in relationship to any guilt, shame, or confusion that arises.
We stay conscious to the dilemma of being torn apart by the inner opposites as we dialogue with the opposing energies. We want to dialogue with knowledge that God Within is holding all aspects of who we are, even though our conscious self feels volleyed between two different selves. Within our larger Self, there is a unity of head and body, intellect and desire, reason and intuition, logic and non-rational spirit. The purpose of our experiences is to know the oneness of our true nature, God Within.
Where are you feeling in conflict within your self? What are the opposite emotions, desires, thoughts, and feelings at play? For each “side,” list the significant life events (including teachings, experiences, etc.) that have given it life. Ask, what does it want you to know now? Respond to it from your heart. Let the opposing energies talk with one another. Use active imagination to hold the tension of the opposites. Ask and listen for what God Within says through your heart.
Note: Robert Johnson, in Inner Work, talks in detail about how to use active imagination.