God and the unconscious

Someone grabbed the four corners of this enormity and stuffed it into a space a billion times 500,000,000,000 times tinier than the pixel at the end of this sentence. I'd like to meet that guy - or, my wife needs to. We only go away for a weekend and I can't get all the bags packed into the car. This miracle-worker can do wonders with balled socks, pulling off the ultimate conjuring trick, and then he gives everyone first dibs on guessing how he managed it.

Was there room for anything else in the original singularity? When "life, the universe, and everything" sprang out of its compact box, what came with it? Just how much latent information was packed in to so small an area is anyone's guess. Surely nobody would be idiotic enough to suggest what was or wasn't included.

If we are the self-aware offspring of this extraordinary cosmological expansion, how much of it can we remember? What is there still locked away in our unconscious, available to be accessed if only we had the key?

As a single cell, we took up far more space than the universe did, and yet look at what is contained within a solitary human? How often have we found ourselves adopting a pose only to realise it was the way our father sat? Or, some habit surfaces that we recognise in our parents? Children born with features found in grand- or great grand-parents, that have missed out a generation or two. Information that is there lies dormant, ready at any moment to be deployed.

We humans imagine that we know so much about ourselves. We have written enough to make the paper black with ink. But as we zoom out, we see that it is only a corner of the paper that we have filled - and that only of what we know about the earth and its neighbourhood. Zoom out still further, and it is only a corner of a corner. The writer of Job was generous when he said of what we know, "these are but the outer fringe of his works". Where, indeed, were we when the earth was founded?

We need to allow the imagination to roam free. Some have envisioned the mind as a circle with a small dent - perhaps a perfectly smooth golf-ball with only a single dimple. The small impression is what we know - all the rest is what we don't realise we know. We need to tease knowledge to the surface. Educate ourselves by bringing out into the open what is already there.

It is vital that we do this, for mankind's happiness depends upon it. Ignoring his heavy-handed vocabulary, Paul did manage to tap into something profound when he said:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and wickedness of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth. For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. Ever since the creation of the world his invisible nature, namely, his eternal power and deity, has been clearly perceived in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse; for although they knew God they did not honour him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man or birds or animals or reptiles. Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonouring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed for ever! Amen.
(Romans 1:19-22)
Mankind knows there is a greater force - God, whatever, call it what you will. It is buried down there in the unconscious. He knows it, but denies it - perhaps he doesn't realise it. But the dire condition mankind finds itself in has, at its roots, this denial - this flight from God. It affects believer and unbeliever alike.

Stillness and reflection
How do we coax the truth out? We can start by engaging in some divine therapy. Psychologists might call it a "life review". Jesus used the term "repent", but it amounts to the same thing. We cannot be expected to understand God when we are strangers even to ourselves. Repentance and forgiveness can free our minds to understand and acknowledge all kinds of hidden truths. We would be better off spending as much time exploring ourselves as individuals asking, "How did I get here?" personally, rather than "How did we get here?" collectively. Perhaps if we knew more about the first, we'd get to know even more about the second.

Combined with this inward journey must be a determination and patience to quietly wait. Silence is a vastly under-rated, but enormously powerful tool for digging up the treasure buried deep beneath the surface of our consciousness. When do we ever give ourselves the time - extended time - to simply sit in silent contemplation?
In the midst of crowds, therefore, on a journey, and even at festive meetings, let thought secure for herself privacy.
(Quintilius 35-100)

What no wife of a writer can ever understand is that a writer is working when he's staring out of the window.
(Burton Rascoe 1892-1957)
Jesus is recorded as recommending, "But when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father, who is unseen. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you." It was something he practised himself: "Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house, and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed." Never mind about the loaded inference of the word "prayer", he took himself off and sat in silence for as long as he was able.

These are the two essential elements needed to explore the unconscious - repentance and prayer, to give them their weighty spiritual terminologies. But we can call them stillness and reflection. However, given the admittedly intimidating nature of these two practices, there is a third essential ingredient required: Faith. Listen to the slightest prompt that these suggestions might be worth employing. It doesn't matter if this faith is negligible - without it, all is impossible. Jesus suggested a faith "the size of a mustard grain". Might I suggest this: That even if your faith is as tiny as, say, a singularity, combined with these other two, it has the potential to explode into something truly extraordinary.