Live with men as if God saw you; converse with God as if men heard you.

Seneca, in Epistolae ad Lucilium

+ + +

Jung’s initial concern is to look within, to seek to find how it is that one is fragmented – not yet whole.  Another way of saying: look to find the source of your discomfort, what causes your brokenness, sense of division, injury, apprehension.

In his first step, Jung sought to determine how a person was stuck living simply in their ego – a primary way of existing and one that impinged on one’s knowledge of self and the peace that comes from self-awareness.

One might think of the ego stage as a stage in which injuries, deficits, fears, shortfalls and one’s immediate recent history and human experience keeps one on the defensive rather than fully appreciative of the wholeness that we present when well, and self-aware.  This is that uneasy stage where things, attitudes, defenses, excuses, fears and the like keep us in a fragmented state, a state of psychic discomfort and tension.

In Step Two, the focus shifts from understanding one’s discomforts and disorders to focusing on the “ultimate meaning and purpose” of life – that is, one shifts from a therapeutic and analytical focus to one that is spiritual, metaphysical, religious.

Yes, for Jung religion, belief, faith, spiritual existence is an integrator – – – a way to wholeness, meaning and purpose.  Hence, self-awareness brings one to the soul and extra-mortal understanding.  In this, Jung introduces us to the collective unconscious – the frontier of archetypal reality that spans the human’s experience in all time.  The point being that there a common experience sown into the human over human history – we are in some ways the same in this experience and that sameness cannot be denied lest one remains at-odds and dependent on the lesser status of living egoistically, on the defensive, trapped in a futile effort at fortification, control, fantasy, falsehood and frustration.

So initially, one tries to look within to find how one is fragmented, disintegrated and ill-at-ease to then seek to identify the over-riding meaning and purpose in a human life. We move, in this, from ego and injury to self-awareness, meaning and purpose – become a more fully formed person – a self, a soul with reason to be, and a capacity to live more fully.

Every particular Thou is a glimpse through to eternal Thou; by means of every particular Thou the primary word address the eternal Thou.

Martin Buber, in I and Thou

It is shear folly and protracted illness to attempt to live without God – and this is just what we do now in our exclusionary secularism.  We are stuck in the smallness of the egotistical, of whom there are a great supply.