This episode is a continuation of the series we are doing on Spiritual Influences in Coaching. In this episode we will share:
- What is Christian Mysticism?
- The Roots of Christian Mysticism including St. Francis of Assisi, Joan of Arc, Meister Eckhart, and more
- How it has evolved from Science of Mind, Prosperity Gospels, New Thought, Wallace Wattles and Jung
- How Christian Mysticism is influencing today’s coaches
- Jungian perspective and trends in spirituality, consciousness and coaching
Watch the next Soul Session in this series on our YouTube Channel.
Debra Maldonado 00:02
Welcome, everyone to another fabulous episode of Soul Sessions with Creative Mind. I’m Debra and I’m here with Rob.
Robert Maldonado 00:10
Yeah, well, we’ll see if it’s fabulous or not.
Debra Maldonado 00:12
Well, we try to have every episode as fabulous as possible. But you know—
Robert Maldonado 00:18
Yeah, but today we’re talking about Christian mysticism. And it’s part of our series on spiritual influences and ideas that have influenced coaching the way it’s done today.
Debra Maldonado 00:33
And so let’s define Christian mysticism. What is that?
Robert Maldonado 00:38
Yes. And let’s take this opportunity to clarify our approach. We’re not criticizing, we’re not pointing fingers at anyone. We simply want to understand more of our industry and help people understand the industry so that they can better use it.
Debra Maldonado 00:59
And when we say coaching, we’re talking about any personal development where there’s coaching involved whether you’re receiving coaching, or whether you want to be trained as a coach. You know, I interview so many people for a life coach training, and they have a lot of different backgrounds and they’re just not sure of what kind of life coaching can they do and what is involved. And, you know, this spiritual element is very important, especially for our work. So we went into delving deeper last few weeks on the podcast, we talked about the psychological influences, psychology and personal development. So this is a spiritual aspect.
Robert Maldonado 01:39
Then we spoke about the spiritual materialism which is kind of the bridge between those two worlds, the psychology and the spiritual.
Debra Maldonado 01:51
And coaching is really a spiritual experience between two people. Even if you’re not conscious of it, you’re transferring knowledge to someone else. It’s a very divine old practice from thousands of years of the Master training the students, so very old, ancient relationship that we’re bringing in — and sacred, you’re bringing in someone to know who they really are, to push the limits of what is possible. So beautiful, beautiful process. So Christian mysticism, how would you define it, Rob?
Robert Maldonado 02:29
Well, let’s define mysticism first because mysticism is a lot older and it’s more universal. If you look at any religion, any culture really, you’ll find mystical elements in that culture or that religion. Because it’s a very human trait that humans have this need, this inborn aspiration to transcend their everyday life, to connect to the Universal Mind — the ground of being, as some mystics would say. And you see it in every tradition, every country, every culture, so it’s nothing out of the ordinary. Except that now in recent times, the scientific paradigm has kind of pushed it out. And it treats it as it’s not a valid way of knowing, which is crazy, because it’s a very valid way of knowing. We’ve known throughout the centuries, throughout the millennia that human beings depend on their mystical experiences to guide them and to give them meaning.
Debra Maldonado 03:47
And science— basically, many of the scientists and famous people we know that came up with lots of inventions came from the mystical place. I mean, Thomas Edison went into his unconscious and visualized his experiments. Albert Einstein rode the light beam to come up with it in his imagination. So the idea of the use of imagination, of intuition— Leonardo da Vinci, I mean, so many. Even a lot of people think of Newton as being so like, you know “Oh, he’s solid”, talking about measuring and measurement, but he was an alchemist as well. So yeah, there are so many people in our history that we don’t think of them as mystical. And one of them is our friend, Carl Jung. I think when he was around, and Freud was around, Freud wanted to make it more of a medical, you know, “legitimate” science, psychology. And so he pushed away the mystical aspects. And Jung believed that we can’t leave that out because humans are innately mystical.
Robert Maldonado 05:09
That’s right. And so the mysticism is this kind of fundamental human element that’s always been there. But Christian mysticism is kind of expressed through that Judeo-Christian tradition of seeing God as a father. Of course, there’s that tradition of the gifts that Christ or the Holy Spirit dawns on people, the gifts of healing, the gift of prophecy, the gift of speaking in tongues, of visions. So that we see those ideas still present today, of course, because by definition, the US considers itself a Christian nation, or at least founded on Christian ideas, although it’s still in the process.
Debra Maldonado 06:16
I remember when I first started doing energy work when I was, you know, playing around with doing new things outside of my Catholic religion. And my friend who was Catholic too, I said something like I was raised Catholic, I was introducing these things. And she said “Are you kidding me? The Catholic religion is so mystical.” They’re so— they really have incense. And they have these saints that you can pray to, and the miracles that happen. And I said “Oh, I didn’t even realize it.” Because when you’re in a religion, you think that’s just the religion, and it’s the way it is, versus seeing the mystical elements, because you’re kind of inside of it. So we talk about Christian mysticism, one of the things that I learned is, when I started reading some books on — we’ll get into this later in the show, but I started realizing, wow, this ties into all the things I learned as a kid in church, these concepts of Christian ideals. So there is a very mystical element. And Jung, his father was a pastor. So he was raised in a Protestant household. But he very much, you know, had a kind of access to the Christian theology.
Robert Maldonado 07:39
He was very interested in Gnosticism, which is kind of a mystical branch of Christianity. And then in Catholicism, he saw in the mass all the pagan traditions playing out in this new Christian form of the Catholic Church. And of course, if you know the history or a little bit of the history of Catholic Church, you know it comes from Roman traditions, you know, there was the Roman Catholic Church.
Debra Maldonado 08:11
So instead of the gods, they had the gods back then, then they made them saints, so it would kind of match there. So if you think of even Greek and Roman mythology, there’s a saint in Catholicism for each element. And then if you look at other religions too, they’ve been replicated in different ways. But let’s go back to Jung and why he was interested in this aspect.
Robert Maldonado 08:36
Primarily because of the symbolism. And that kind of going back to very archetypal elements in the human psyche that we’re still playing out in the rituals. So most religions, they have these three structures, they have a philosophy, they have a ritualistic tradition of doing things in a certain way. And then they have this mythology, which connects it to a narrative or stories, narratives or stories that enliven the tradition. So in Christianity, you have the Gospels, of course, which tell the story of Jesus. And you see many mystical elements there — the Transfiguration, the healing, the working of miracles, the archetypal elements of the hero’s journey, descending into hell, and then coming back out reborn. And so all those elements had a profound impact on Western culture, whether they know it or not, like we were saying, some scientists believe that they’re free from those elements. But actually science is itself a product of that tradition.
Debra Maldonado 10:06
Of alchemy and looking at the kind of the mixture and combination of elements.
Robert Maldonado 10:15
Yes. And the big idea of that is the dominion that man has given over nature, that is a very Judeo-Christian idea.
Debra Maldonado 10:27
So could you explain that a little bit?
Robert Maldonado 10:29
So if you think about how science sees itself as dominating nature, being able to manipulate nature, they’re going into the DNA and changing the very structure of life forms. That’s a powerful element to have. Why do they feel they’re able to do that? Because it goes back to that idea that as human beings you have dominion over nature, meaning, nature is yours to do whatever you want to test.
Debra Maldonado 11:07
That’s a Christian idea?
Robert Maldonado 11:08
It goes back to Jewish traditions as well. But yeah, it comes from that mythology.
Debra Maldonado 11:16
And so when we think about the mystics that we— we think about Joan of Arc who heard the voice of God tell her to conquer. Saint Francis who abandoned his wealthy father’s textile company to do the work of God. And John Paul basically had a vision to stop basically being a crusader and killing people and Christians, he had this awakening. There’s all these beautiful stories of spiritual transformation that happens. And so we don’t want— I think, for me when I was raised Catholic and then I felt limited by it because there were so many rules, that I think a lot of us that explore the spiritual psychology and these kind of concepts via visualization and dreams and energy work and all these things, we want to kind of be free of that dogma. But we don’t want to throw it out because there’s so much beauty in it. And so if we can kind of integrate it into our life and understand all religions in this mystical way, we get to understand that there’s some wisdom in there that we may be pushing away because of the words we use. I remember I did a course a couple years ago — a long time ago, like maybe 15 years ago. And I used the word “God” and oh, no, people were just like “Stop using the word “God”, and it’s turning me off.” People have been raised in different religions, not only Christianity but different religions that they feel they want to shut that out and abandon it. And in a way we don’t want to let go of all this knowledge and wisdom that’s available through this beautiful place. And we can’t really get rid of it because it’s in our unconscious, we’re connected to this mystical aspects of ourselves on a collective level, according to Jung.
Robert Maldonado 13:25
That’s the usefulness of Jung’s work is that he allows us to bring these apparently opposing elements of rational scientific thinking and the kind of the mystical wisdom arising from the collective unconscious. He had no problem with integrating them, he saw that if these elements exist in our psyche, why should we just focus on rationality and ignore the soul, ignore the collective unconscious?
Debra Maldonado 14:08
Because all these are this soul story that we’re hearing in these tales and myths that we—
Robert Maldonado 14:13
And you see what happens when we were too lopsided. If we just say okay we’re going to focus on rationality, on logic, on the conscious mind and ignore and even deride the mythological traditions and say “Well, that was part of our kind of infancy as human beings. And now we’re growing up and then we’re just going to be rational scientific beings.” That’s a very dangerous situation. Because ignoring the unconscious is really the worst thing you can do, it’s just like at the individual level. If you don’t pay attention to your dreams, if you don’t pay attention to your intuition, your emotions, you’re going to get into trouble sooner or later, you’re going to be cut off from yourself, your deeper roots. And that’s what’s happening in humanity is people are cut off from their spiritual roots.
Debra Maldonado 15:16
Well, even I can tell you, I went to church, raised Catholic, went to church, every week of my life until I was about 25. I think that’s when I started to dabble in other things. But I went to every holiday of obligation and but it felt like it was an obligation versus a desire to go, like I have to get it done. And I’ve really truly felt that if I didn’t go I would be punished, you know, there would be a price to pay, you know, gonna go to hell if I don’t go to church every Sunday. And so then it became more of an obligation. You sit up and you go through the motions. And it wasn’t a spiritual experience after a while, it was like a duty. And I’m saying my opinion, I’m sure there’s other people that have incredible experiences at church. But after a while, you hear the same massive over and over, for me it wasn’t inspiring anything mystical, it was just like, okay, it’s like an obligation, kept looking at my watch — is it done? Am I good? Am I gonna not go to hell this week? And I think, there’s some people that have gone to church for years even and they’re not really connecting, they’re not really having that spiritual connection. But when I go now, like when my mom’s in town I go to church with my mom. And actually, because of what I know now about spirituality, I feel like it’s a spiritual experience when I go, because I make it very special. And I kind of know how to approach it. But I think a lot of people even in traditional religion, they kind of go through the motions, but they’re not really there, without really understanding the elements of it, you know, they’re saying grace and doing all these things, and then we kind of get into a habit of doing it without connecting to its deeper meaning.
Robert Maldonado 17:00
Yeah, well, there’s certainly a difference between religion and mystical experiences. You can not be religious. In other words, you can be an atheist or secular person and still have a mystical experience. So it doesn’t have to be connected to the religious traditions or institutions. But ideally, yeah, you want your religion to give you that mystical experience, because that’s the good stuff.
Debra Maldonado 17:31
You want to feel it in your heart, you want to feel connected, it wasn’t like I felt bad, but I just felt like it was basically going through the motions versus really having this deep, profound movement of my soul when I would go, you know. Although every once in a while I would hear something in this sermon or something that would hit me. But I think when you’re younger, when you’re in your 20s, you’re just like, when’s happy hour after this, or I gotta get this in because you have somewhere else to go. It’s just kind of an obligation. And I don’t think we’re taught what to do in the religions, it’s more like, obey, obey versus how do you use this knowledge? How do you read this knowledge and all that? So let’s move on to really what we’re talking about that direct spiritual experience, believing or knowing?
Robert Maldonado 18:21
Yeah, so in mysticism, you have that emphasis on direct experience, personal experience of the Divine. In other words, you’re not waiting for the priest or the teacher to instruct you. You’re seeking that in yourself, in your own psyche, in your own mind, through your own vision. And that is very powerful of course, and not everyone is seeking that. But within cultures, within traditions, you always see that somebody had to do that part, somebody needed to do that, otherwise the culture, the tribe would not have that connection to the divine.
Debra Maldonado 19:09
It has to be put in an organizational fashion.
Robert Maldonado 19:13
Yes. Within culture, in order to be useful it had to be communicated in some way or another, through ritual, through myths, through the philosophies.
Debra Maldonado 19:28
And then meeting in the community like a group meeting of common people.
Robert Maldonado 19:34
And there you see the birth of religion, then it becomes about enacting the ritual over and over, and then as people forget, then usually reformers would come along and say “Wait a minute, we’ve forgotten why we do these things”, and bring new elements into the organization.
Debra Maldonado 19:57
So is Jung a reformer of psychology. And Jesus was a reformer of the Jewish religion.
Robert Maldonado 20:05
And Buddha was a reformer of the Brahmanic religion, the old Vedic system of temples and rituals.
Debra Maldonado 20:15
But I love the question they asked Jung late in life, it was one of his last interviews. They said “So after all this work, do you believe in God?” And he said “I don’t believe, I know.” And that’s really the difference with this kind of belief in something, I believe in something everyone talks about, like changing their beliefs, but you have to change your knowing, and it goes from the head. I believe something, and it makes rational sense. And I kind of want to believe this too. Really embodying in your heart, you’re really feeling that there’s no question, there’s like a certainty. And I think that’s really the journey the mysticism can bring us from higher concepts and reading books and understanding theories to actually embodying them and practicing them in a deeper way.
Robert Maldonado 21:08
And today you see a lot of clergy, priests and people in priestly roles, when they want to study psychology, they study Jung, because he’s the only one that really goes that deep into the religious symbolism of the psyche, of visions and dreams. So spiritual psychology without Jung, it never made sense to me, because how can you do that? You know, he’s basically the source for us now.
Debra Maldonado 21:44
And so you have some ideas about that— We went direct experience, spiritual experiences.
Robert Maldonado 21:53
A direct experience. Also, you see it in this monk that Jung talks about a lot, Meister Eckert, German mystic, who emphasizes that the ground of your being, your individual being is identical to the divine Godhead [unclear]. So what he’s emphasizing there is that you find that spiritual truth within you, not within the scriptures, not within the institutions. There’s nothing wrong with the institutions obviously, he himself was a monk and participated in the rituals and traditions. But you have to, if you want a real spiritual experience, you have to find it within yourself.
Debra Maldonado 22:43
It’s like you said, the difference between knowledge and wisdom is that knowledge is again, you can understand things, but the wisdom is really that embodiment of it. And so the divine gifts, let’s talk about that. Christian mysticism talks about healing, talks about faith, talks about prophecy, visions, mercy.
Robert Maldonado 23:14
Yeah. All those were considered divine gifts. Meaning that these are not things that you’re necessarily going to learn in a class structure, you know, that somebody’s going to teach you how to do these things, but that they arise from the divine grace of your own psyche. They’re given to us—
Debra Maldonado 23:38
Yeah, when I was younger, I wanted to be a famous writer and an actress. I’m laughing, but I did. And a famous singer until someone told me I couldn’t sing. But as I grew older and got into exploring my spirituality, my friends would always say “I just feel so much better after I talk to you.” And I didn’t realize I had the gift of healing, that healing presence. And then that’s when I started delving into this other world. And this is a funny story. I started doing energy work. And my mother is very Catholic. If she’s listening — I love you, mom. But my sister’s a little trickster, my younger sister Kim. And so my little sister called my mother up and started freaking out, telling my mother “You’re not going to believe this but Debbie thinks she’s Jesus. She’s healing people with her hands.” And my mother was so like “Ah, what are you doing” and so worried. And I said “Mom, actually in the Bible, there’s—” I cut out Bible verses and I showed her the women laying on the hands, and she said “Oh!”. I said “Yeah”, and I called my sister, I was like “Thanks. Thanks a lot.” But you could see how people think this stuff, this healing energy and doing that work is blasphemous, but they talk about it in the Bible. And these women were taught to lay on the hand. So it’s really funny how now I got into that, and I didn’t realize that was a gift I had, until it rises within you, you start exploring the work.
Robert Maldonado 25:21
Yeah, and now you see it in some coaches, having people walk through fire or walk through the coals. Which is, you know, it’s okay, if they understand where it’s coming from. But often we see that people are doing it mainly because they think “Oh, it’s a fad”. It’s something to do because I saw so and so doing it, instead of understanding the tradition where it’s coming from. So let’s jump to the more current age, the turn of the century, where you have this new thought movement arising in the US.
Debra Maldonado 26:09
Yeah, there was a lot of books when I first started reading. I read Think and Grow Rich, I read Wallace Wattles, and I just started picking up all those books about prosperity and the mindset and thinking positive, and there was a book someone recommended — The Richest Man in Babylon, very Christian. Then another book I read was The Law of Attraction, you know, the universal laws, very Christian. They use Jesus guide. And all of a sudden was like “Oh, this is interesting.” I’m seeing these concepts that were taught to me, like ask and you shall receive, and they’re very Christian based, probably even Judeo-based as well, that people didn’t realize that this isn’t a new idea, that it’s not blasphemous either. It’s really taking these concepts, these Christian-based concepts. And I think maybe because at the turn of the century, predominantly in the US most people were Christian, so they had to put it in the language that kind of aligned with them. What do you think? And they were Christian that wrote it. So it probably made sense to them.
Robert Maldonado 27:18
Yeah, Jung had this idea that there’s the spirit of the times, meaning that we’re living in a certain culture, a certain Zeitgeist, that there’s a certain philosophy that predominates in the culture in a certain time. But he says, there’s also the spirit of the depths. That’s in part why it’s called depth psychology, because you’re talking about the Spirit, in essence, in us, in the psyche that we have access to. And he says, if you don’t understand that the spirit of the depths and the spirit of the times are related, you’re missing the whole point of it. I mean, if you look at the Old Testament, and again, where the Christian ethos comes from, it comes from that idea that God is intervening in history, that it’s not something separate.
Debra Maldonado 28:25
Robert Maldonado 28:27
Exactly. The divine element in human beings is the one that creates the spirit of the times, the things that arise and that we see as what is our world up to these days.
Debra Maldonado 28:42
If you think about it, like in Jungian psychology, he talks about the persona and the shadow, and the conscious and the unconscious, and that the psyche is always looking for balance. So on a conscious level, if mankind is going in one direction, they’re kind of in a destructive— to attach to things, there will be the divine force that tries to come in and intervene and balance it out. And it sometimes comes in the form of what feels like a destructive force, a lot of people think there’s destruction in the world that the man does, and God is all good, but it’s really that kind of recreation. And in nature, we see it, storms and things happen. And so, divine intervention isn’t just putting light around everything. Sometimes it’s going into— when COVID first hit, I thought “Oh, this is kind of a wake up call for mankind. Maybe this is the divine creating some kind of wake up or balance.” I mean, it could be that. I don’t have that kind of insight to connect with that, but we understand the way of balance and then all the good that’s come out of it, all the changes, all the people that are kind of questioning their life. There are some terrible things that have happened too, and when we make changes on the surface level, it may feel like destruction, but it’s actually changing our life in a way and changing the humanity, moving humanity forward. And sometimes it’s not clean and beautiful. It’s has a destructive element to it.
Robert Maldonado 30:27
Oh, absolutely. Because if we would ask Jung, if he was still around, this is what we imagine he would say that if you’re not conscious of the spirit of the depths, meaning the collective unconscious in the way it influences us, you think, well, history is essentially happening to us. If you ask people in charge, who’s driving this thing we call the world? They say “Well, I don’t know. It just happens”. Right? The synergy or people get into superstition and projecting their shadow onto those things. But it’s simply that it’s always been this way. The psyche, the divine elements, or if you want to be more secular, the archetypal elements on the collective unconscious influence the way history plays out. And because if you think about what really drives society, it’s these ideas. Where do these ideas come from? From the psyche, from individual psyches. Somebody has a dream, somebody has a vision, somebody has an idea that they put out and it transforms the world.
Debra Maldonado 31:56
It’s like Elon Musk had an idea. And then he brought it to life through rocket ships and cars. But that wasn’t him personally, it’s a divine archetype. It’s that divine archetype that’s acting through him. People that have wisdom to teach, or even what we’re sharing right now, this isn’t Debbie and Rob, this is access to the divine speaking.
Robert Maldonado 32:21
Right, because nobody is an island. And we grow out of tribes, we grow out of culture, out of traditions, out of genetic inheritance. So nobody just kind of exists individually. We’re all part of this collective mind in a sense. And so those ideas that arise through us individually or appear to be individually but they’re really coming from the collective unconscious, as Jung says, they’re expressed through us individually, and one individual with one idea can change history, no doubt about that, we see it over and over. But they’re the same, that deeper ground is that collective unconscious.
Debra Maldonado 33:13
Well, here’s a really good way to think about this from a visual standpoint, or metaphorical standpoint. The collective unconscious is like a great ocean. And then each of us have at least a little of our individual consciousness of the wave, and then the ego or the part we’re conscious of ourselves is a bubble. And so I think we give too much credit for man and man’s ability to make conscious choices. We’re all riding mostly on an individual level our condition patterns, if we haven’t individuated we’re still acting out of impulses and instincts from just survival. And then collectively, we’re riding this other big kind of movement or force that is carrying humankind. So we have to have a little bit of humility toward this pick power within us. But also I think people feel like man is so evil and there’re bad people, that kind of judgment of the fire and brimstone, and the sinners and, you know, the world is so bad because these dark forces— but we’re not knowing that we’re connected to all of it, and it’s that we can get caught up in superstition, projection of our own shadows onto the world. And that’s where the good and evil comes from.
Robert Maldonado 34:40
Exactly. Because if you just live on the surface, you think “Well, the enemy must be other people that are doing things against my interest.” But that’s not what’s happening, right? If you understand that all these ideas are arising from a deeper collective layer of the psyche, then you see that the enemy is only our own ignorance. It’s our own ignorance of how things work and what is reality.
Debra Maldonado 35:07
And if we look at all the different religions, they’re all basically saying the same thing. The truth is one. It’ shows up in many forms, but the truth is one. So Christian mysticism, people think about the prosperity gospels, there’s this human potential movement. You know, there’s some people like Joel Olsteen, who’s really popular now talking about “anything is possible”. And so that kind of coaching is common now, these ideas from the roots of people seeing spirits and angels appearing, and miracles happening — we have that in our modern world. And I don’t think we — the world itself being alive is a miracle in itself. I remember one time he said “We’re on the rock hurtling through space bazillion miles an hour, and we’re clinging on to this rock, we have this little tiny body that could end at any moment, it’s a miracle that we’re here.” And I think we forget, we get so caught up in our everyday lives and getting our paychecks and finding our relationships and dealing with the little minute things of life, and forget the miracle of life and why we’re here. And that’s why I really love that these other ways to access the divine are out there. And so when I read these books, like The Law of Attraction and all that stuff, they’re Christian, the new thought, Christian-based, and I would read the Bible, I’m like “Oh yeah, I remember hearing about that verse.” And now I could see it apply in this element and in a different way. And it kind of deepens that idea of what we’re really dealing with as human beings.
Robert Maldonado 36:54
Maybe you could tell us a little bit about the Course of Miracles? Because I know that’s been a big influence in the coaching industry.
Debra Maldonado 37:03
I think there’s a realm of it in there. From what I know, this woman claims that she channeled Jesus and he gave her these information. When I read the Reddit early on, I mean, now that I know Hinduism and Vedanta, I understand there’s a universal messages there. It’s like daily practices, that it’s really about training your mind to think differently. And so I think there’s some value in it. I think though that we have— for me, I don’t really practice it anymore, I did it when I was in my discovery phase, I actually was a big fan of Marianne Williamson. So she talked about it a lot, and it made a lot of sense. But I think that it’s always good to explore and expand your understanding of the actual sources of where this stuff comes from, which is from the Vedanta philosophy. You know, really getting into what does this really mean? And then you’re going to get a broader kind of spectrum of knowing versus just repeating ideas. And for me, all the stuff I’ve learned is that it’s really about understanding where the roots and the sources are.
Robert Maldonado 38:30
Would you say it empowers people, or does it kind of keep them more of— in the sense of “This woman has the truth” or “The scriptures, this book has a truth.”
Debra Maldonado 38:35
I think people will do whatever they can with anything. They can take my book, Let Love In, and make that a religion. So you can’t really control what people do with it. I think people do think of it as their religion. And then I have other people that look at it and say “Oh, that’s interesting. I like these concepts. But I’m doing other things as well.” I think you get the spectrum of that. And then you get the people that are saying it is blasphemy and are against it and all that. But I really do think that one thing I learned from you is exploring all these spiritual traditions — where’s the root? Where do they come from? Where do these ideas come from? And if we go deeper into it, we realize that this knowledge and this wisdom has been around for thousands and thousands of years, it’s not just born in the 60s. So let’s look at the roots. Let’s see other people’s interpretation of it. And we want to have that critical thinking, we want to say “Does this make sense to me?” You just don’t take it because it’s written in a book and there’s a practice and this is how you do it, this is the way it should be done. It can become that kind of where we make it such a dogma that we don’t question “How does this fit into my life and the bigger picture?” The one thing I would say, and I haven’t studied it, I looked at it — is The Duality—
Robert Maldonado 40:03
I saw it on your bookshelf though.
Debra Maldonado 40:05
Yeah, I haven’t read it in years. It’s the duality of the egos, like the ego’s a bad thing and that kind of good and evil, and there’s a little bit of that in there.
Robert Maldonado 40:17
What about Think and Grow Rich? I know that book has been very influential.
Debra Maldonado 40:21
Yeah, that’s not very spiritual, I don’t recall he talks about God or Jesus.
Robert Maldonado 40:28
The idea though goes back to that prosperity gospel that wealth and abundance is one of the gifts in essence that the divine bestows on humans, that the divine does want you to be prosperous and abundant. So to me it is connected.
Debra Maldonado 40:53
But I think Think and Grow Rich is more— he talks about the mind, more like reprogramming. Like, you’re gonna reprogram your mind to think positive. And it’s more the thinking processes versus the spiritual element. Although he does talk about the — he calls it the mastermind — where he does have this mystical experience where he decides he wants to work with Thomas Edison. And so he would go into this conference room and imagine that he has all these wise people, and they do kind of an offering — and actually I do this meditation myself. And then what happened was Thomas Edison in the vision said something to him. And then he got a note from Thomas Edison. And it was just this awkward, weird thing. And then it freaked him out. He said “I totally freaked out. And I put it away for a while because I thought this is so weird.” He wasn’t naturally mystical. But he was just thinking “Oh, let me bring a capsule in, let me use my imagination.” But the mystical part scared him for a while, he admitted. And then he went back to it. But he said it freaked him out a little bit that there’s this connection between the inner world and the outer world. And yeah, there’s the prosperity gospels, people preach— I think that’s more of the Joel Osteen type of thing. And I think anything— there’s A Course In Miracles, Think and Grow Rich, you know, Wallace Wattles, anything that gets someone to ask the question of who am I? And wherever they start, I think it’s great. I mean, I think that there’s a place in everyone’s evolution, and sometimes they need a little structure. So maybe they start off— for me, I needed something, A Course In Miracles was great, I had a thing to do every day. But then I started exploring and expanding my knowledge and started growing in different ways. So I think everything is as long as you’re keeping an open critical mind, you don’t make it a dogma and religion for yourself where you feel that you’re not actually using your own mind to ask questions and sit with things and use your own intuition. Don’t look at a book or what other teachers tell you as fact, always check it with yourself, because the knowledge and wisdom is already within you. And wherever you are in your stage of spiritual evolution, you’re going to find the books and trainings that resonate with you. And then as you grow, your spiritual life will grow. What do you think about that? Would you disagree?
Robert Maldonado 43:34
No, I’m very open to ideas. I mean, my education was in liberal arts basically, which says, you want to hear ideas. You don’t want to push them away. You don’t want to prejudge them, you want to say “Okay, these ideas exist as facts.” Even if you reject them, people are still going to hold those ideas. So you have to be willing and able to look at them and to examine them and to say, like you said “What is the source of that? Where’s it coming from? Is it a certain tradition, a new manifestation and a new idea?”
Debra Maldonado 44:16
You talk to me, you always say when I’m reading a book — when we first met I read a lot of the pop self help books, I don’t read them anymore. But I would read the pop self-help. And you’d say “Well, what’s the source of that?” I don’t know where this came from. You taught me how to have a critical mind when it comes to it. Not criticizing, that’s different. It’s a critical mind. It’s just checking in with yourself and seeing if it resonates, and it’s okay to say “I used to read this kind of books” or “I used to be in this kind of thought process and this kind of community.” And now I’m feeling I need to stretch a little bit as we grow and as we evolve. I think one thing that we really have to worry about is when we approach anything — spiritual mysticism, we talk about the ego’s involvement. And if we are not conscious of our own shadow, our personal shadow, if we haven’t done the Shadow Work, we’re going to project our shadow onto whatever tradition we resonate to. So we will see things in duality, we’ll see things as good and evil, we’ll see things as fear or fear-based. And because we haven’t done the shadow work yet, so that’s another thing. So there’s the theories out there and the teachings, and then there’s the person who is absorbing the teaching, and different people based on what your personal conditioning is, you’re going to see those teachings in a different way. For example, like your relationship with your mother, your relationship with your father, you’re going to project that onto teachers, onto the mystical elements in the Bible. And, you know, for me, my father was very strict. So before I did any kind of personal work, I projected that God was just like my father, this strict man who’s going to punish me if I break the rules. And we see God in our own image, you know, and man’s own image and our own image. And so the more we know who we are, we could see a different expression of that divine. That’s how, I would say, with this kind of work we could support people is we encourage people to do their work, understand that they’re seeing it through their filter first, and then as they clarify the filter of their own personal experience, they get to see the truth on an integrator way.
Robert Maldonado 46:54
I would say that the challenge for us is to redefine coaching so that we can help people address the current social challenges, because as human beings we’re facing really the [incomprehensible] of social problems, right? There’s so many people on the planet, technology’s so advanced and changing very rapidly, we can’t afford to fall back on old patterns. No, we have to come up, to reinvent ourselves, so that we can meet those challenges. Otherwise, you know, all we can do is want to go back to the 50s, or the 60s, or whatever period you think was the Golden Age. And that’s not going to work, we have to accept that. No, these technologies are going to be with us. These social issues, we’re going to have to solve them, they’re not going to be solved by governments, by old institutions, we’ve seen that they fall apart basically in the face of these kinds of challenges. It’s up to us, everyday people to use these mystical traditions that are very much part of our psyche still, they didn’t go anywhere, just like Jung predicted. They simply go into the unconscious, but as soon as we need them and we’re willing to look at them, they’re there for us. That was his experience. If we look at his Red Book, he was writing it at the time that Europe was going through the world wars, World War One, World War Two. And he had these visions of the transformation that was going on. And that was part of his mission that he saw, he wanted to leave people a map of the psyche, so that we understood, how does that spirit of the depths play into what goes on in history and the external world. And it has to do with that connection, again, that we can’t split it and say, we’re going to solve everything rationally. We know there are highly rational parts of our psyche that are more intuitive, more symbolic, more mythological. And if we don’t include those in our approach to solving problems, we’re only going to do a half-ass job, because we’re only using half the mind, half the psyche.
Debra Maldonado 50:04
And it’s like Gandhi said, you have to be the change you want to make in the world. And whatever path you take, you know, Krishna in the Gita said— Arjuna asked him “What about people that are doing other things, and they’re not following you?” He said “Whatever they’re doing, encourage them because they’re gonna find— everything leads to the self.” So whatever we do, we’re going to the self, even if we’re in ego, and we’re lost, like I was early on, exploring my spirituality, I was totally an ego, but it led me to where I am now. It’s like, you can’t get lost along the way, eventually you will find the truth and then the truth shall set you free, as they say back to the original teachings. But the truth is, I think one thing that I’ve noticed in this hall is spirituality, spiritual coaching, is this one idea that I feel like we need to address and just remind people, is that fear is not something that the self experiences, fear is an ego is of ego. So when we’re afraid, we’re seeing something that our ego is basically processing the information not from our deeper, wiser self. So anytime we’re afraid— And so when you’re in a religion or something that is pushing fear, you have to examine that because the Spirit of the Lord doesn’t speak through fear. That’s in the Bible. So if you’re hearing fear, it’s not a God, and nothing’s not of God. But it’s not truth. It’s more of the ego’s perception. And so the ego can wrap itself around our spiritual endeavors just like it can in our everyday life. So we want to make sure that when we’re in fear, we know we’re not seeing the full truth, we’re seeing some misperception of reality. And so to check in with yourself, if you’re feeling fearful, question and ask, go deep inside. And the answers are always right in within you, you can really have that wisdom within you to find the truth.
Robert Maldonado 52:38
Debra Maldonado 52:40
What do you think?
Robert Maldonado 52:41
Debra Maldonado 52:43
No arguments on that end? And then, if there is fear, don’t push it away. You explore it, what is this? Open it up — what’s this about? We’re going to be talking about other spiritual traditions, zen, Eastern philosophy. We’re going to talk about shamanism in future episodes. What else do you have on the Dark Era? Yoga?
Robert Maldonado 53:10
Definitely yoga. It’s been such a powerful force in recent times and is changing the culture in the world but really because it is a worldwide movement. Shamanism definitely, a lot of those ideas are still around, still very powerful. But the overall writing, the overall idea of mysticism is that it is a personal experience. In other words, you cannot depend on others to teach it to you, or you can’t depend on reading a book and the book giving you the answers. You have to search within yourself to really go deep within your own psyche.
Debra Maldonado 54:03
Which is why I love the dream work that Jung provides, because you’re getting to your Divine Self speaking to you in dreams every night. And are you listening? Are you hearing the messages? We have that doorway every night, four-five dreams a night, we’re getting that kind of access, every person has that access. That’s so before we go, would you like to answer some questions? “You have said the mother archetype is not your biological mother, therefore we can conclude that the Father/God archetype is not God.” Well, the mother archetype is not the biological mother, we project the mother archetype onto our biological mother. So we were born with all the archetypes, this universal idea of mother, and then this divine we projected onto the mother. That’s where the Mother has such a powerful connection to us. Otherwise she’d just be another lady in the world. It’s our projection onto the mother archetype that actually caused us all the problems with our mother-daughter or mother-child relationship. Our expectation of this woman to be something bigger than she is just human. We project this, she’s supposed to be the super human woman perfection. And then she lets us down. So that’s what we’re really dealing with. The same thing with the Father, with God is that if we project God as an image that we have in Jungian psychology, he talks about the God image. And then sometimes, like I was talking about my father, I would project that onto God, like the reverse.
Robert Maldonado 55:49
And keep in mind what an archetype is, functionally think in terms of the psyche’s way of structuring our experience with something. If you’re thinking about God, the divine, the God archetype would be that structure, that way of understanding the divine, that would be the God archetype. It gives us a way to relate to it and to understand it.
Debra Maldonado 56:21
And so both the mother and personal mother and biological or person — we always say biological, because some people were raised by a mother figure that wasn’t their biological mother — both those images of the divine woman and the divine man, the Goddess and the God, get projected onto those caregivers. And so they are acting out of your giving them this responsibility that’s way bigger than they can handle because they’re just a human like you. And you’re like, they’re supposed to be a God. And so that’s why we feel like our parents really messed us up, because we think they’re so wise, and we give them such power. And then we also give them the power to tell us we’re good, or we’re not good enough, and all those things, so we kind of create that dynamic. And that’s really what they mean by that. Another question. “You said once to me that God archetype has both a light and dark. Does this mean that God can be punitive and evil? Is that what you mean by having dark aspects?”
Robert Maldonado 57:19
No. Good and Evil are part of our conceptual mind, our ego. It’s part of our moral code. We consider things to be bad or evil if we define them that way.
Debra Maldonado 57:41
Everyone is subjective.
Robert Maldonado 57:43
That’s right. And that’s easily proven because you see that different cultures have different value systems and different morality systems. And so morality, definitely kind of a human construct that we create and overlay on institutions to help guide our way of interacting with each other. So we definitely need those things. Nothing wrong with them.
Debra Maldonado 58:16
But the Old Testament does make God into this punitive, “I’m going to punish”— punishing God, judging punishing God. Where in the New Testament he’s more kinder and loving and compassionate. So it’s interesting how they shifted the man’s perception of God.
Robert Maldonado 58:38
So Jung— there’s a great book if you’re interested in that topic. It’s called Answer to Job. And in Answer to Job he addresses this question — is God evil because he’s not only giving us life, but he’s also creating all these diseases for us and these terrible experiences of illness and aging and death. And the answer then is that light and dark side, yes, of course, there’s that light side. But it’s not all light. If there’s no darkness, meaning no ignorance, no lack of awareness, the unconscious and all that, then you can’t really have life because you would have no meaning. It would just be like a stable state of happiness or nothingness. Just kind of a blank “We’re always happy. We’re always good. There’s nothing going on.” There would be no movement, no creativity, no evolution. So in order to have the creative process going on, you need both elements. You need the darkness and the light, and then you have that drama, that human drama.
Debra Maldonado 1:00:06
Making a story up about what it is that actually happened. Is it good or bad? And then if you even look at bad things at the moment that happened to you 10 years later, you look back and go “Oh, thank God, that be a bad breakup, or that job didn’t work out. At the time I thought I was being punished. And it was actually a gift.”
Robert Maldonado 1:00:30
You see that the human drama itself is part of the Divine. Again, it’s us enacting the deeper spirit of the depths in history, in the what we call the external world. But it’s really all one.
Debra Maldonado 1:00:54
And we’re just pretending, like you say, we’re handing out scripts to people. And we’re in this cosmic play. Because it’s a creative process. And there has to be a tension of the opposites in order to create something. So yeah, if we can go through with non-judgement, that’s what causes a suffering is the ignorance of that, not the actual thing, but the ignorance of what we’re actually experiencing. And the ignorance of who we are. If we think we’re a little ego trying to survive, everything is going to be very bad, and very evil — or very good. And we’ll be attached. But if we see ourselves as the self, and we’re connected to everything, we can move more in life, we can have more fun, and we can enjoy the sweetness and the sour, bitter fruits of life at the same time, and not be attached to it. But the whole game is we’re born attached. It’s a habit of ours. And so we have this ego, that’s a partner in this drama that we’re playing in, and we need all parts to make life.
Robert Maldonado 1:02:04
Yeah, but that’s a great book if you have a chance, check it out.
Debra Maldonado 1:02:08
Well, thank you, everyone, for joining us for a fabulous — I told you it was gonna be fabulous. We’ll see you next week. We’re not going to be on Friday because we have our dream interpretation challenge. So we will be on Saturday next week on YouTube here. And we look forward to talking to you about another great topic.
Robert Maldonado 1:02:30
Thanks for watching.
Debra Maldonado 1:02:31
Thank you for joining us. Have a great day.
Robert Maldonado 1:02:32
See you next time.
Debra Maldonado 1:02:33