People who have the more distressing path may be further off track from where God / the Tao / the collective unconscious needs them to be for the good of themselves and the whole. The bigger gap between where they are supposed to be and where they are, and the concomitant shove to fix things, cause distress. There also may be more neurological re-wiring required, which is disruptive.
Disclaimer – I really don’t mean this as a criticism. I know first hand that you can be on a very reasonable track through life, yet the Tao apparently thinks it’s not where you’re supposed to be.
In fact, I recently learned something that fits with this from a wonderful lecture by Nancy Evans Bush on commonalities between NDEs and biblical visions http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tb2eab4N6bA. She says that she prefers “The Unvarnished New Testament,” a fresh 1991 translation of the original Greek by Andy Gaus that strips away some of the later Christianizing interpretation, and hews closer to the earlier, colloquial Greek. For example, whereas the King James Bible translates “hamartia” as “sin,” this new translation renders it as “mistake” or “doing wrong.” The word is a term from archery, and literally means “missing the mark.”
The implications here are big. First, that you’re not a bad person, but just an off-target person. Second, that there *is* a target!
As Nancy Evans Bush says humorously, it’s the difference between “Oh you miserable, Godforsaken wretch” and “Hey, you missed your mark….”
And as George Witterschein writes in the introduction to The Unvarnished New Testament: “The very word itself implies a much more optimistic view of human volition than “sin” does. With hamartia we are talking about something essentially correct in human nature, a part of us that wants to do what is good and right, but misses the bull’s eye. Our goal is the right one, but somehow we miss it” (p. 13).
So, the second implication of this lovely ancient Greek is that there *is* a target, and Somebody or Something wants to help you get on it.
One exposition of this idea comes from Taoism, which is an ancient Chinese philosophy with roots in prehistoric nature religions. It proposes that there is a natural, harmonious way for the universe to be -- the Tao -- and that we can align ourselves with this nature of things through “wu wei” or effortless action, and that this results in harmony and power for us, too.
The Tao Te Ching, a collection of Taoist sayings that dates to at least the 6th c. BCE, if not earlier, says this --
“…It is natural too
That whoever follows the way of life feels alive,
That whoever uses it properly feels well used,
Whereas he who loses the way of life feels lost,
That whoever keeps to the way of life
Feels at home,
Whoever uses it properly
Whereas he who uses it improperly
Feels improperly used…”
(Witter Bynner translation, 1944 / 1980, p. 39)
Not only is it in *your* interests to be aligned with the Tao, but it is in the interests of the *Tao* for you to be aligned with it. As Judith Schutz, a Toronto Bioenergy Therapist http://bioenergyandcancer.blogspot.com/ once said to me: “….every action that is not wu wei has consequences and further fragments the Tao” (personal communication, 12 Sep 11). This fragmentation then needs to be repaired.
So, here we have the idea from early Biblical manuscripts and from ancient Taoism that there is a proper target or track for our lives. This idea occurs in many other traditions as well. For example, Buddha said: "Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” And the same idea has been urged by modern visionaries.
In “The Power of Myth,” Bill Moyers asks Joseph Campbell: “Do you ever have the sense of.…being helped by hidden hands?” And Campbell answers:
“All the time. It is miraculous. I even have a superstition that has grown on me as a result of invisible hands coming all the time — namely, that if you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. When you can see that, you begin to meet people who are in your field of bliss, and they open doors to you. I say, follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be.” (p. 150).
And Gregg Braden writes: “Can we recognize that the greatest threats to our familiar way of life are really nature’s “nudge” toward a new way of being?” ( Fractal Time, p. 203).
At the IAWP http://antidepressantwithdrawal.info/, we believe that many things are needed to help a person recover fully from psych meds and psych med withdrawal, but perhaps the most powerful thing is to discover and pursue your true passions. One implication of this is that the health and spiritual crisis may have been created in the first place, in part, by not been on target *enough* for your *truest* passions.
Now, let’s tie hypothesis # 1 (24 Feb 12 post) and hypothesis # 2 together. Hypothesis # 1 was that some people may have the darker spiritual path because there is an unobvious sector of basic mistrust or nihilism in them which, despite their perhaps leading a reasonable life, is called up to be healed so that they can lead an even truer life. Hypothesis # 2 is that some people may have the darker spiritual path because they are further off track from where they are supposed to be in the divine order of things (even if leading a reasonable life) and they are being shoved a greater distance to get back on target.
Some people are obviously in a lot of distress, or very injured early in life, or making un-self-loving choices. It seems logical that a spiritual opening for them might need to cover a greater distance and so might be difficult. As someone once said to me: “Trauma….the gift that keeps on giving.” At this point in our development as a species, the process of healing from trauma is still somewhat traumatic itself.
But, even people who are leading reasonably healthy, self-loving lives might still be off their *truest* mark because of this putative unhealed unobvious basic mistrust. Let’s say the Tao / God calls on you to get more aligned with It and/or your true self and /or your destiny. If making that correction involved confronting this basic mistrust, it could cause a lot of fear and turmoil. If you had been leading a fairly stable life or had already done a lot of work on yourself, this fear and turmoil could be a big surprise.
The existence of an unconscious basic mistrust may bump your elbow so you’re still hitting the target but not the bull’s eye. The Tao comes along and pushes your arm into correct archery form (ouch). Now, you start hitting the bull’s eye *and* your form has been corrected. In other words, you have discovered your truest destiny *and* you have healed the basic mistrust.
(At the beginning of this post, we also mentioned that a bigger gap between where you are and where you’re supposed to be could lead to a bigger remodeling job neurologically. But this is enough for one post, so we’ll discuss the neurological aspect more later.)