Our Personal Purpose and Calling

by David Richo PhD -
There are three levels of potential in the human psyche — psychological, spiritual and mystical. 
These correspond to the phases of our spiritual development: the liberative way, the illuminative way and the unitive way.  
The path begins by releasing ourselves from the burdens and obstacles in our psyche. Our psychological work is here.  
Then we open ourselves to the light of higher consciousness. Our spiritual practice is here. 

Mystical union follows as a gift. 

All three phases are an heroic journey of letting go, opening up and sharing our gifts with the world. Psychologically that is individuation and spiritually in its sanctity. 

Mature religious consciousness is thus not possible without three paths: psychological growth, spiritual progress and mystical union. 
Psychological: The psychological path shows us what helps us become healthy human beings and have more effective relationships. 
Spiritual: Spiritual progress means letting go of an inflated ego and becoming compassionate. 
Mystical: Mystical union cuts through dualisms to release the divine spark in us and in the universe and acknowledges them as one and the same. 
It is interesting to note that a mystic experience is one in which the sense of time and place disappear.

This is precisely what happens to us when we find our true calling. We are absorbed so fully that we lose track of time! 

Our calling is the work that makes us transcend the moment and be in it fully at the same timeless time. It takes a lifetime to come to full consciousness of just how wonderful we really are. 

We may know in the abstract but only gradually does it become concretely acknowledged. It is said that Jesus knew fully who he was only after the Resurrection. 

This is a metaphor for how we finally know our own divinity, in a resurrection, a moment in which we arise as a Self from the ashes of ego. We came here to earth not because we were born but in order to be born.

Our calling to virtue is to strip the ego of its status in our decision-making and to allow an ego/Self axis to flourish instead. 

In Jungian psychology 1, this is individuation, a fulfillment of our potential to incarnate the virtues of the Self: love, wisdom and healing power.

It is an enterprise that is never finished, always in progress. It is a combination of effort we achieve and grace we receive. 

Our ultimate goal is to articulate through our life story— with all its talents, gifts, mistakes, shadows and errors— the eternal life of the Self and to bring the world along. 

This is co-creation, the work of incarnating a divine life in all humanity. 

We are drawn into being by a voice that beckons us to incarnate the divine Self. This happens by a combination of choice and grace, symbolically masculine and feminine forces. 

The call is from within since God is precisely that Within, the depth of our psychic life. A call is a gripping incentive that impresses the ego into the service of higher consciousness. 

In other words, our human limitations are upgraded when they are humbly surrendered to a higher purpose than the ego’s favorite sports: fear, attachment, greed, and control. 

We then can hear the inner and irrepressible call to be whole. 
An alchemical process can occur whereby the leaden ego is transmuted into the gold of the Self. Our ego and our body are the stuff of the divine work of peace and compassion on earth. 
The response from us that sets all this in motion is yes and go, the combining of surrender and choice. 

The timing for all this is unique to every individual. 

A ship is certainly safe in port but it was not built for that. It is perfect as a ship but not complete as a ship until it sails. There is a time for sitting and waiting for the wind of grace and a time for turning the wheel with effort. 

We realize gradually that our calling, what gives us bliss and purpose is actually a metaphor of our deepest identity. 

This concept is stated by Fra Mauro, a 16th century monk and cartographer: 
“Gazing at the map…all the diversity of the world is intimated on the parchment, even as diversity is intimated within me. The map and myself are the same.” 
My calling is ultimately to name myself in many more ways than one. I am David from New Haven in my ego identity. At the same time I am being itself. My intrinsic nature is the essential Self of the universe. My existential body is 5’9” and 150 pounds and diet can change it. My essential body is pure light and nothing can change it.

1. Mary Within: A Jungian Contemplation of Her Titles and Powers

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