Verses 5–6: “and after a little chastisement they will receive great blessings, because God has tested them and found them worthy to be his. Like gold in a crucible he put them to the proof, and found them acceptable like an offering burnt whole upon the altar.”
Most of us think back to high school chemistry or math at the idea of “putting something to the proof.” In Medieval times, alchemy attempted to turn base metals into gold. This Scripture offers the alchemical image of heating gold to remove the impurities and prove the weight/worth of the gold. When we look at 10K gold, 14K gold, and 24K gold, side by side, we see the emerging brilliance that comes as the gold is heated to become more and more pure.
Carl Jung viewed alchemy as a metaphor of the individuation process. Individuation refers to an innate drive that prompts us to live according to the guidance of our Self/God Within. Our inner guidance is often interrupted by ways of being and expressing that we learned and grew from previous experiences. Often, our suffering is a result of the conflict between the Self/God Within and the adaptive self/ego. We may experience the resulting difficulties and struggles as testing or chastisement from an outer God.
In Webster’s Dictionary, the archaic meaning of chastise is “chasten.” Chasten is defined as: “1. to correct by punishment or suffering: discipline, purify; 2. to prune of excess, pretense, or falsity: refine.” As gold is purified through heating, so our ego/body-mind is refined as we choose to encounter all in our life as “a dealing of God with our souls.”
Great philosophers throughout the ages have reminded us, “To thine own self be true.” We do not know who we truly are until we wrestle with the learned ways and the adaptive personas (roles) that thwart the free flow of our Self/God Within into our ego/body-mind. Seeking to know God Within is the way through all experiences that feel like chastisement, testing, or being put to the proof.
A symbolic template of the energies of the Divine that went into the soul of man and the world soul at the time of Creation is the Tree of Life. On the Tree, the path that connects our automatic consciousness or vital (animal) soul with the Ruach or Divine Within is known as “The Intelligence of Trial and Probation.”
It is said, “This is the first path whereby the Creator tries the adept (spiritual aspirant).” Our vital soul is the reflexive, instinctive responses. Part of any spiritual path, including individuation, is cultivation of a conscious connection between the instinctive, reflexive self and the Self/God Within.
In the crucible of life, we struggle where the Self/God Within clashes with outer expectations or circumstances that the ego has adopted. We can choose to respond blindly from the reflexive, instinctive soul, or we can build a conscious relationship to the Self/God Within and follow its lead.
Where is the gold of your soul being purified? Where do you “feel the heat” in your body-mind at this time? See these situations as an opportunity for the purifying and refining of your body-mind to more beautifully hold and express your Inner Divine Spirit.
Willingly allow the impurities of your self/ego to be “burned away.” Imagine stepping into the beauty you are, and living more fully your Inner Divine Self. Follow the energy and act accordingly!