Luke 9:51–62, Don’t Look Back

Verses 59, 62: “To another he said, follow me, but the man replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’ Jesus said, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; you must go and announce the kingdom of God’….Yet another said, ‘I will follow you, sir; but let me first say good-bye to my people at home.’ To him Jesus said, ‘No one who sets his hand to the plough and then keeps looking back is fit for the kingdom of God.’”

Psychologically, we can think of the kingdom of God as the state of peace and joy where we feel oneness and congruency within ourselves. Our egos are aligned with our larger Self. In Christian theology, this alignment means the “I” lives in service to the Christ Within or Holy Spirit.

Carl Jung’s concept of individuation refers to the process whereby we shed learned, adaptive ways of thinking, feeling, and expressing that block living the call of the Divine Within that comes through our heartfelt desires.

To individuate and grow spiritually, emotionally, and mentally, we must let go of the past and leave behind that which is lifeless and sterile/dead—that which “no longer grows us corn.” To individuate is the same as “to be in the world, but not of the world.” We leave behind the societal and family ways of being that are not congruent with the guidance of the Self/God Within.

A quality of embodiment is inertia. Inertia means patterns are set, so things happen automatically and reflexively. The principle of inertia works on all planes. Physically, our heartbeat, digestive processes, and breathing are examples. Patterns also get set on the emotional and mental planes. We may be aware that we consistently react in a certain way in response to a particular emotion or thought. For instance, we may lash out at others or overeat when angry. We may withdraw and get quiet when afraid.

Mentally and emotionally, we stay stuck in the same places by going over past events. We review and judge or disavow our actions with “what if…if only…” We second guess ourselves or shut down to life in the present moment because we have not accepted and let go of the past. We have to make a choice to go forward instead of revisiting the dead and the familiar.

When we find ourselves pulled into the past and repeating patterns even though we desire to change and grow, we need to look for where our energy, our life force as related to self or others, is stuck. Where did the impulse for movement get thwarted in the past?

Often, mistrust, shame, and guilt are emotions that indicate where energy needs to be freed. By attending to these experiences from the past and their current reverberations with a compassionate presence, something can shift and our energy can be freed for the present. We can differentiate the validity of the felt experience in the past event from the present situation.

Inner Reflection
Consider what “no longer grows you corn.” What is dead and lifeless in terms of your beliefs, habit patterns, and ways of interacting with self, the Divine, and others? Where is the Divine Within calling you to make changes, to grow? Practice not looking back and cultivate your connection to the Divine Within at this moment and place in time.