The Journey, Part One

By Lee Warren, B.A., D.D.

(c) January/February 1997 PLIM REPORT

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See Related Articles: PERSONAL GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT

 

In 1995, the theme, "A Call to the Inward Journey," began a new vista of exploration for students who attend PLIM, Inc.'s annual retreats in White Cloud, Michigan. This distinct perspective has been very successful in many ways.

Introduction

All mankind receives an inner calling that often begins an inward journey. We all must respond and take this trek to find our Heavenly Father Yahweh and our divine state of consciousness. The journey consists of actual experiences that we must undertake and not written accounts that we can read about in the Bible or in other religious texts. Descriptions of events are a road map, but not the actual experience.

Before and after Yahshua the Messiah, adepts, mystics, gurus, and other teachers of spiritual truths in all cultures and civilizations have expressed this journey theme and universal truths in many different ways. Various narratives, myths, and fables have used the journey to point to the same principle.

The journey may be physical, but it symbolizes and reflects a true, inner journey. It usually begins with a dream, a still small voice, or a vision, as in the case of Abraham or Moses (Gn. 12:1-5; Ex. 3:1-10). Other instances of this inner calling may be a vague sense of emptiness. In the case of Sidhartha, a king’s son, who changed into a pauper and later became Buddha, he felt a need for a change in his life.

Poets of various cultures have described the journey.

• The Black Elk tribe wrote: "For you see the birds leave the earth with their wings, and we humans may also leave this world, not with wings but in the spirit (The Sacred Pipe: Black Elk’s Accounts of the Seven Rites of the Oglala Sioux, recorded and edited by Joseph Epes Brown, pp. 58-59.)"

• The American poet Walter Whitman (1819-1892) wrote: "Not I, not anyone else can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself. It is not far, it is within reach. Perhaps you have been on it since you were born, and did not know. Perhaps it is everywhere on water and on land (Leaves of Grass, p. 80)."

• The Greek philosopher Plato points out what humans obtain in this journey of life. "The soul takes nothing with her to the other world but her education and culture; and these, it is said, are of the greatest service or of the greatest injury to the dead man, at the very beginning of his journey thither." Here, Plato points out that humans obtain their culture and education in this life.

What is the intent of this article?

This article is the first in a two part series on the journey. In Part One, we will examine various journeys all humans experience regardless of their cultures. This article will explore the different types of journeys and their usage in other cultures. The intent is to show that the numerous manifestations of journeys on the earth plane have caused the journey to become a motif that explains man spiritual growth and development.

The tabernacle given to Israel serves as a model. The high priest’s officiation in the three compartments from the Court Round About and the Most Holy Place symbolizes the spiritual journeys that man must take from darkness to light. Part Two will deal with the structural components of the journey from a spiritual standpoint.

What are the definitions of the word journey?

A ‘journey’ is defined ‘as the act of traveling from one place to another.’ Here journey is defined in a literal sense as geographical movement from one place to another. One can see examples of journeys in the movement of various animals such as birds, insects, fish, and elephants, which make their annual migrations from one place to another.

Another definition explains ‘journey’ biologically and psychologically as: ‘any course or passage from one stage or experience to another.’ This means that our biological and psychological growth from a baby to an adult is likened unto a journey. Instead of moving from place to place geographically, the emphasis is on a physical and psychological development from one stage to another. Whether the organism is a man or animal, it is born and should mature to its full potential, as an infant grows to an adult or a caterpillar develops into a butterfly.

There must also be a spiritual journey where one matures on a spiritual level. This movement is from a carnal minded state, where one is ego centered and ignorant of Spirit, to another state of consciousness where one is spiritual and the mind is made one with the Spirit of Elohim. Now this is a journey from despair to hope, weakness to strength, folly or ignorance to wisdom, love to hate, doubt to faith.

What types of journeys do all men experience?

There are basically three types of journeys using the tabernacle pattern as our model. They are as follows.

1. The physical journey corresponds to the Court Round About.

2. The psychological journey corresponds to the Holy Place.

3. The spiritual journey corresponds to the Most Holy Place.

Each of these journeys is an aspect of mankind’s structural makeup. For humans to develop their full potential, they must do so on all these levels. If anyone does not complete any of these journeys successfully, there are severe implications.

Are there some famous physical journeys?

The most famous physical journeys in the Bible, are the children of Israel’s journey from Egypt to Canaan Land and Abraham’s journey out of the Ur of Chaldean to the Promise Land. The Hegira (journey of Mohammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D.) is the most celebrated Islam migration. These journeys show that all physical journeys have a beginning or origin and an end or destination.

The link between these two points (the beginning and the end) is not only the distance, but it is also the process of moving toward the end. A journey demonstrates the principle of reaching an end, accomplishing a goal, or achieving full potential, but there is a struggle in this process.

Joseph Campbell in his book The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers ( 1988 Doubleday) says the universal journey is "leaving one condition and finding the source of life to bring you forth into a richer or mature condition (p. 124)." This whole journey of Israel is figurative of the migration of a man’s consciousness in bondage to the physical and his journey to spiritual enlightenment, which will be discussed later in the spiritual journey section of this article. In various American Indians tribes, the physical journey is used as a personal transformation experience. A boy will be sent out to hunt an animal; a young man will return with his prey.

Is the human body formed by a journey?

The theme of a journey or trek is used as an analogy to explain most things in human life because the principle of a journey plays an integral part in mankind’s existence and all animal life. For example, a journey is required in the formation of the human body, beginning with conception. Both the male sperm and female ovum have to journey to a specific location—the upper part of the fallopian tubes—where conception takes place.

This begins the formation for the physical body in the womb. Even on the cellular level within the fertilizing egg (which has three layers—endoderm, ectoderm, and mesoderm), various cells have to migrate to diverse parts of the egg to form different organs of the body. Here the formation of the physical body is caused by a journey of the male and female seeds and cells. Departing from the mother’s womb, the baby ends the existence within the womb and begins a new journey in the outside world. So a human’s whole existence is the result of a journey.

If one understands the Law of Correspondences or that the natural and physical reflect the spiritual (Rom. 1:19-20), and knows that the physical body is formed by a journey, then he must grasp that likewise the soul or mind is shaped by an inward journey.

Do animals journey?

Another familiar form of a journey is the migration of animals from one region of the world to another. According to Judy Blum, in her article entitled "Animal Migration in the Delaware Estuary" (Number 6 Autumn 1991), animal’s migration is "the instinct which drives individuals to make changes in their location to insure the best chance that basic life-sustaining conditions and resources will be available when needed. These conditions and resources include climate, food availability, and breeding habitat (website http://www.epa.gov/nep/atlantic/de/no06.htm)." Probably the most astounding migration is that of the salmon who journey back to their place of birth to spawn. This migration of animals has a great spiritual significance. Humans also migrate from one country to another for mostly political and economic reasons. It definitely shows that we all have various journeys in life including a spiritual one which results in the transformation of our mind from one state and condition to another.

Are some journeys interrupted?

Now in any physical journey there are those who start the journey and for whatever reason do not complete it. For example, all the Israelites that came out of Egypt died in the wilderness. Only the children born in the wilderness crossed the Jordan River to reach Canaan Land. Likewise, in college not everyone in a freshman class will graduate four years later.

This is a pattern or model in a journey; all those that start do not finish. Simply put, interrupted journey’s mean the destination, goal, or potential was not reached.

There are innumerable examples in nature demonstrating this principle. For example, in the physical body there are many human births that are aborted by the biological process. These seeds do not reach their full potential or complete the journey to become embryos. Only one sperm of the millions ejaculated into a woman fertilizes her egg. All the rest die.

There is no guarantee that those babies that are born normally will reach adulthood, which would end their journey. Some, such as dwarfs or midgets, may become stunted in the physical growth process, and reach physical maturity undeveloped. Others may grow in stature, but be unexpectedly killed in the prime of life. All of these examples have great psychological and spiritual significance, which will be discussed in the next section.

Are there psychological journeys of the mind?

The psychological journey or developmental process of humans is in lock step with the growth of the physical body, but there is one major difference. Genetic codes control the formation of the fetus in the womb. The proper food and the genetic code determine the physical growth of the body. So both the body’s physical growth and its formation are not under man’s control.

However, the human care-giver’s nurturing of the infant and the surrounding environment primarily determines the psychological journey called human development from infant to a mature adult. Here, interactions with things and people shape the infant’s mind.

Simply put, the child’s belief system, which includes its culture, shapes the emotional attitude, provides the child with a purpose, energizes his actions, gives him hope whereby he can endure suffering, and guides the child’s education throughout life. This cultural belief system typifies or reflects what the Holy Spirit does for your soul or mind on a spiritual level.

The parent or care-giver is responsible for directing the journey of the baby’s infantile personality, which is totally dependent on a responsible, independent, mature adult. Joseph Campbell says that this is a fundamental transformation that everyone in all cultures must undergo. All cultures must nurture their offspring to reach their full potential if the culture is to thrive.

How does one journey from dependency to independence?

In the psychological journey, various psychological attributes are acquired. Humans have to evolve from psychological, infantile immaturity to a state where only one’s own desires mature and acquire self-responsibility, loving assurance, and compassion for others. Trials, challenges, adversities, and revelations of the Spirit bring about this transformation of consciousness in this journey of life. Here in this psychological journey there is no geographical location to reach, but an evolvement of a state of mind that has to be achieved through one’s own effort.

Now along this psychological journey, there are transitional stages that humans go through that have been well documented by the field of psychology called human development. Piaget (1896-1980) a Swiss psychologist well noted for his work in the field of child psychology did some of the basic work in this field. He describes stages of human development such as infants, toddlers, adolescents, and adults. Due to space limitations, an in depth analysis of the subject is impossible.

Does concrete movement precede mental progress?

Piaget stated that humans must obtain some basic knowledge or understand certain principles as they go through these stages of development if they are to mature and develop their psychological potential. Americana Concise Encyclopedia summarized his theory of cognitive or mental development of the child to think on more and more complex levels. "The first stage of development is the sensorimotor stage (birth -2), when the child learns to move objects and have the beginnings of perception about time and space. Stage 2 (2-7) reflects simple thinking, with little flexibility of thought, and the third level (7-11) is the concrete stage when the child first begins to master concepts. The fourth and final stage of development (11 and after) involves the start of adult reasoning and abstract thinking (Copyright 1995 by Zane Publishing, Inc. All rights reserved.)." Human emotions also develop in a similar fashion. Now becoming "stuck" along the journey of life is the result of not being able to adjust to the various stages of realization, challenges, and transitions from childhood to maturity.

Otto Rank says that life is divided in two halves. "The first half—birth, childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood—involves the establishment of oneself as an independent person in the external world. The attainment of independence expresses itself concretely in the securing of a job and a mate (In Quest of The Hero, p. xii)." Rank views independence not as rejection of parents, but a sign of self-sufficiency and self control. If these principles are not developed in the first half of life, a person may become "stuck" in dependency on his parents and/or lack of control over his emotions.

Do people get "stuck" along the psychological journey?

Just as was shown in the physical journey, many that start their psychological journey do not complete it. There are many, especially those in the western intellectual-technological society, that get "stuck." The evidence of people who are psychologically "stuck" can be seen in the crime statistics, especially the murder rate of spouses and family members, the divorce rate at over 50%, drug addictions, and all types of mental disorders. In short, these are symptoms of society’s deep psychological and spiritual problems.

Why do people get "stuck" on their journeys?

Getting "stuck" in this journey can occur for a number of reasons. If a child is raised in a dysfunctional family with a crack addicted parent or parents that are abusive to each other, the child probably will never learn the principles of self-control, self-esteem, responsibility, love, and compassion for others. Economic conditions also have great effect upon the individual and the family

The child’s mind mirrors its environment, for the parents are their models. Thousands of children are raised in this type of environment, resulting in them being traumatized and "stuck" for life. Clearly, this situation retards one’s psychological growth because the children never obtain the basic tools needed to mature psychologically. Thus, it is impossible to complete this journey. In short, families are cloning misfits for society.

Does not meeting cultural expectations cause people to get "stuck" on their journeys?

Others get "stuck" in their journey due to not meeting cultural expectations. Some women develop low-self esteem and become anorexic or bulimic because they do not meet the cultural standards for beauty or body shape.

Many, especially white males, are "stuck" because they define themselves in terms of their jobs and material possessions. When various companies begin to downsize or layoff people, these souls become devastated psychologically. Again cultural standards warp one’s perception of self and life.

In human development there are many that are afraid to take the next step. This fear of the next developmental step is in reality a fear of the future.

Joseph Campbell’s in his book The Hero with a Thousand Faces says: "The future is regarded not in terms of an unremitting series of deaths and births but as though one’s present system of ideals, virtues, goals, and advantage were to be fixed and made secure (p. 60 )."

Drs. Roger Walsh, M.D., Ph.D. and Frances Vaughan, Ph.D. confirms this idea about growth in their book Paths Beyond Ego ( 1993 The Putman Publishing Group). "Growth involves movement into the unknown and often requires surrendering familiar ways of being. Consequently, we tend to fear growth. The tragic result, as both psychologists and philosophers have recognized is that we actually deny and defend against our greatness and potential (p. 110)." For example, a girl may be afraid of growing up to be a woman or a little boy fears being a man. In both of these cases, it is the unknown factor that children fear in growing up.

Many of Grimm’s fairy tales, according to the Joseph Campbell, were about little girls who are "stuck" in this developmental stage or process. In one instance, a little girl becomes a woman who fears men. She wants to remain a little girl, for she feels secure. He explains that the symbolism of slaying a dragon in many stories has to due with overcoming being "stuck." The dragon represents the fear of the unknown.

Do rituals at crucial checkpoints in life help people through their journeys?

Modern societies do not have initiation rituals as many primitive cultures did that symbolize the death of the old childish and immature ego and the coming forth of an adult male and female. For example, certain Indian tribes require the young males to live in the wilderness for three or four days and afterwards they are accepted as men.

Now modern cultures are not responsive to the spiritual component of mankind, resulting in feelings of emptiness, impotent, alienation, or indifferent. These are spiritual symptoms and can only be removed by reuniting the mind with the Holy Spirit. Thus, humankind must develop their potentiality, beyond the normal psychological development, on another level, which is spiritual.

It should be noted that many in the field of psychology, such as Abraham Maslow, Lawrence Kholberg and Ken Wilber, have recognized that physical adulthood does not represent full psychological maturity. Simply put, there are stages of spiritual development that we all must realize. This begins mankind’s final journey that is spiritual.

What is a spiritual journey?

Now the spiritual journey is the last developmental process to be formed that completes man’s psyche. It is presupposed that before he begins this final stage of development, he has acquired some maturity psychologically. The spiritual journey is an inward one of the mind that transcends matter, space, and time. The mind must take a transformational journey, similar to a dream state, from ordinary, conventional existence, which has been shaped and formed by culture and education, to a state where none of this applies. On returning from this place or state, the mind is permanently transformed knowing that there is another existence and state beyond the physical.

This journey is analogous to the dream-state and it includes such psychic experiences, such as near-death and out-of-body experiences, visions and revelations. Many literary works describe this journey in various analogies. Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland reflects an inward journey by Alice entering the rabbit hole that led to another world.

Are there Bible accounts of spiritual journeys?

In the scriptures, there are many instances of Elohim taking men’s souls on spiritual journeys to another realm. Many prophecies and miraculous works were the result of interacting with this realm. When people returned, they were not the same and few Israelites believed the report (Isa. 53:1; Jn. 12:38-40).

• Moses and his minister Joshua went into the fiery phenomenal cloud, a doorway into the spirit realm, on top of Mt. Sinai and stayed there 40 days and nights (Exo. 24:16-18). Upon returning from his second trip into this cloud, Moses’ face emanated a bright light that showed forth a transformation. This made the people so afraid that he put a vail over his face when he talked to them (2 Cor. 3:13-16).

• The Master fulfilled this by taking up Peter, James and John, atop Mt. Tabor, and transfiguring before them. Simply put, they all were transferred into the spiritual realm where Moses’ and John the Baptist’s soul were revealed to them on this spiritual journey (Matt. 17:1-9).

• The Apostle John said that in his journey he was in the Spirit on the Sabbath day and saw a door open in heaven (Rev. 3:19-20).

• Paul said he was lifted up to the third heaven, whether in a physical body or not only Yahweh knew. (2 Cor. 13:1-3).

Clearly, the Bible documents these journeys. Yahweh promised Israel that He would pour out his Spirit on all flesh (Joel 2:28-29).

How does society view spiritual journeys?

In today’s society, the spiritual component of mankind, the psyche, is often overlooked or in many cases denied. This is the result of our materialistic philosophy and scientific culture, which denies the existence of anything that cannot be measured or observed. Yet modern science, especially quantum mechanics, has proven by the famous Bell Theorem, that there is something, whether one wants to call it Spirit or not, that interacts within matter and energy and causes it to exist.

Religion, over the ages, has attempted to address this spiritual component of man, but has always fallen short. Many teach the masses a set dogma or rituals that must be performed in order to worship God or Elohim and to receive salvation. They have ignored the reports of the mystics and sages who describe the other states of consciousness we all must experience and follow.

The truth of the matter is that the Spirit of Elohim has to be experienced in much the same way the physical senses of the body has to experience the stimuli of light, sound, touch, taste, and odors for them to operate. In the mother’s womb, none of these senses could operate and develop.

Our culture is the womb for the mind according to developmental psychologists, but for the mind to mature spiritually, it has to transcend culture and be united with the Spirit. The psychological attributes obtained from our parents and cultural standards, such as love, truth, faith, patience, etc., have to be developed on a higher level that is spiritual. The Master Yahshua the Messiah told His disciples that they had to exceed the righteousness of the religious teachers of Israel if they were to enter heaven (Mt. 5:20). Thus, the soul or mind of man must develop beyond its culture and ethnicity, unite with Spirit and become one. The Master prayed to the Father Yahweh for His disciples to make them one as He and the Father are one (Jn. 17:21-23).

Do spiritual journeys transcend culture?

The spiritual journey is much like the psychological journey in that there is no geographical location to go to and the end or goal of the journey is maturity of the mind. According to Joseph Campbell, in the psychological journey, humans must undergo a death and a resurrection, to lose their infantile dependency on their parents and to mature to a self-responsible adult. Likewise, in the spiritual journey, the individuals must undergo a death and resurrection. The ego or one’s self-centeredness must give way to a higher power which is the true light (Jn. 8:12). "Yahshua (Jesus) saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me (John 14:6)."

Plato in his Apology stated that death is a journey. "Now if death is like this, I say that to die is gain; for eternity is then only a single night. But if death is the journey to another place, and there, as men say, all the dead are, what good,…"

Can people get stuck along spiritual journeys?

In the two other forms of journey, the physical and the psychological, there were those that did not finish the journey for whatever reason. Likewise, in a spiritual journey one can become "stuck" along the way. In fact, all mankind was "stuck" until the coming of the Messiah. He allowed mankind to develop their full spiritual potential after His death and resurrection.

The Messiah demonstrated in His ministry that faith in Yahweh was necessary to make the power of the Holy Spirit effectual within. He said that "all things were possible to him that believe (Mk. 9:23)" and it was the Father in Him that did the work (John 14: 10).

It is quite apparent that there are those that have lost their way on this spiritual journey. The most apparent are labeled schizophrenic or some other severe mental disorder. They are the archetype of the "lost soul" who has lost their way through inner space.

The famous psychiatrist R. D. Laing states the following about the schizophrenic. "In our present world, which is both so terrified and so unconscious of the other world, it is not surprising when "reality," the fabric of this world, bursts, and a person enters the other world, he is completely lost and terrified and meets only incomprehension in others. … Most people in inner space and time are, to begin with, in unfamiliar territory and are frightened and confused. They are lost…They try to retain their bearing. … The person who has entered this inner realm …will find himself going …on a journey. …In this journey there are occasions to lose one’s way, for confusion, partial failure even final shipwreck; many terrors, spirits, demons, to be encountered that may or may not be overcome (Opening to Inner Light, by Ralph Metzner, p. 107).

Anyone that does not have faith cannot develop on a spiritual level. What this means is that the journey of life is the proving ground for exercising the principle of faith in the face of challenges and adversities. To those who overcome these things, they recognize the hero within them being the Holy Spirit.

Are there journeys in various cultures?

As was stated earlier in this article, all cultures believe in some form of journey transformation. Due to space limitations only a few cultures can be discussed. For those that want a more extensive explanations, Joseph Campbell’s book Hero with a Thousand Faces would be a book to start.

Tao (The Way)

In the Chinese culture they speak of Tao (pronounced Dao) that means "the way or track." Now Taoists conceived Tao or "the way" as the creative principle or impersonal power that orders the universe.

This power is dualist in nature and is the origin of the Yin and Yang symbol. Those that believe in Tao say that the rational mind cannot perceive the Tao way. It is an inward journey with types. Only by examining the manifestations in nature can anyone intuitively understand Tao.

There is a classical example in Tao quoted by Metzner, Ralph, Opening to Inner Light ( 1986 Jeremy Tarcher, Inc.) called the 10 Ox Herding by Kaku-an, 12th century Zen illustrator. It is an analogy or metaphor of a man looking for an ox by following its tracks. He finds the animal, tames it, and brings it inside his barn. The animal symbolically represents human’s raw or beastly emotions, feelings and impulses. Riding the animal represents taming the human emotions, impulses, feelings, etc., or the beast within every human. Clearly, this is an inward journey to develop self-control.

Hindu

In the India culture, they believe that there are three journeys or paths to Nirvana or peace. The Hindus follow 3 paths (called margas): path to knowledge, path to love, and path to action. The religious text Upanishad states the following about journey: ‘But he who has understanding for his charioteer, and who holds the reins of the mind, he reaches the end of his journey, and that is the highest place of Vishnu.’

Islam

The founder of the Islamic religion, Mohammed, describes his own mystical journey and his famous Hegira (migration) to Mecca. There is mysticism sect of Islam called Sufi who believe that their followers must seek a path (called Tariqa) to divine knowledge through reading, study, prayer, and meditation.

They believe their are four journeys: annihilation of the ego called fauna in Arabic. He becomes a teacher–baqa or permanency, he becomes a spiritual guide according to his abilities, the perfect man guides others in transition. Worshippers observe pious poverty and are known as fakirs.

American Indians

All of the American Indians understood to some degree the spiritual significance of a physical journey. Ralph Metzner points out in his book how various tribes would send their youth into the wilderness alone, where they would pray and fast for a vision. It was both a self-discovery and a transformation process. The boy becomes a man and undergoes a spiritual transformation. Similarly, the Australian aboriginal tribes had a "year walk" to train the person to live in nature and find a personal vision.

The spiritual journey went by many names depending on what tribes one belonged to according to Ralph Metzner’s book. For example, the Sioux Indians called the way the "Red Road," the Pueblo Indian call it the "Blessed Way." Others are called the "Way of the Heart" and the "Holy Path" which refer to guidance by the Great Spirit.

Conclusion

Now this concludes Part One of journey. It is hoped that some light has been shed on the subject, especially the types and structures of a journey. By expressing human development in terms of a journey, we tried to shed some light on why some people get stuck along the way. The journey serves as frame work for examining human development and provides more metaphysical light on why many do not complete their journey. It also shows why there are obstacles and challenges along this journey. Humans develop on three planes: physical, psychological, and spiritual. Unless each of these planes are completed, one cannot say he or she has reached their full potential.

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