Denying The Gods

To deny the gods is to deny your higher spiritual identity which results in a weakening of your true power and a failure to realize your potential in life. Isn’t it time you paid tribute to the gods and let them help you rise to the summit of your dreams?

by Drew Lawrence


The Magic Of Myth

A myth is a traditional story narrating the exploits and adventures of human heroines and heroes, gods and demons, and other supernatural beings. These primal characters enable us to identify with them and relate our own struggles, challenges, losses and victories to something having an antiquity and a scale beyond our own mundane existence. A myth may be a real or fictional tale intended to appeal to the consciousness of a people by embodying its cultural ideals or by giving expression to its commonly shared emotions.

On the one hand, a myth is meant to take us beyond the ordinary, the insipid and the routine, to take us out of ourselves, to shake us out of our all-encompassing little world and invite us into the realms of larger-than-life characters. It is intended to dwarf our petty day-to-day concerns and raise us up to a much grander scale where we may then be able to elevate our perspective on our own lives and see more clearly the universal scheme of things. On the other hand, a myth is designed to deliver us from the depths of the mundane and the insignificant and raise us up to the realm of the sacred where wonderful, magical and inexplicable things can and do happen as a matter of course.

In this sense, it is a template for what can be achieved and conjured when we agree to lift ourselves beyond the fears and limitations inherent within the mortal human condition. A myth is like a bridge over the river Vaitarani, the river of death or mortality. One can use this mythological bridge to cross over from the confines of time and space to the domain of the eternal and the spiritual. Customary and repeated performance of a ritual is the symbolic reenactment of a particular myth.

Throughout the millennia, there has been a singular primal struggle depicted in the myths. stories and legends of all cultures which essentially reveals the same theme — the eternal clash between the forces of good and evil. Typically, this narrative repeatedly takes place between the gods and demons. Not only do we see this played out around us in our society and our world through the agency of constructive and destructive forces, but more immediately, we ourselves are playing it out every moment of every day within our own psyches, through our endless struggle to overcome our lower nature versus our quest to embody our higher nature. Just imagine if each one of us as an individual took it upon herself to become committed to and responsible for her growth and development as a human being. What kind of world would we manifest with such compassionate and enlightened people populating our earth? Could this be what is meant by the notion, ‘heaven on earth?’

Myth recognizes difficulty and suffering as a common lot shared by all. It inspires us to transcend this common destiny. How have godly beings and mythical characters who have walked among us behaved? Jesus Christ, Mohammed and Buddha, for example, embodied eternal, universal and mythic qualities. Most humans are sensitive to the suffering of others and feel genuine compassion. But to develop the capacity to transcend suffering and even more significant, to help others rise above it — this is the realm of the gods and the true definition of divine.

The Imprint of the Archetypes

As children, we all had heroes and heroines. I remember mine to be sports stars, literary characters, singers and musicians, and spiritual figures. Our identification with and meditation upon such heroes leads to our wearing their number on our jersey, adopting their hair and clothing styles, mimicking them in the case of singers, musicians and actors, and behaving like them in general. Our heroes may change as we mature and begin to emulate adult themes and achievements, and we may no longer affect their appearance, but, nonetheless, hero worship remains. Why are we all drawn to this concept of heroes and heroines? Because the notion of role models is imprinted upon the Collective Mind, the universal unconscious. It is the mind we all share.

In the Bhagavad-Gita (Song of God), the primary Vedic scripture, Krishna, an incarnation of God, says, “Whatever great men do, lesser men follow.” These role models who possess qualities which we consider worth emulating are known in mythology as archetypes, which literally means "first patterns.” These primal instincts are the blueprints of our fundamental human drives and aspirations. They are qualities common to all irrespective of race, color, creed, culture or nationality. The highest manifestation of the archetypal figure is none other than God Himself. Working our way down the totem pole, we come to the gods, divine beings with superhuman qualities and abilities. In the Christian tradition, they are more commonly called angels and archangels.

Many traditions state that gods or divine beings routinely walked the earth and visited its inhabitants in ancient times. But with the waning of truth, integrity, faith and worthiness in the people of the earth, these angelic or godly beings do not reveal themselves as before. Perhaps no one would believe them anyway. It sounds strikingly similar to the difficulty Jesus Christ encountered when he walked the earth, even in the face of the many miracles he performed. Because we do not see these beings with our physical eyes, we routinely conclude that they do not exist. Subsequently then, in more ways than one, we have lost our connection to these divine beings, both outside of ourselves in the physical world around us and within ourselves in the form of our own divine nature.

As Carl Jung, the eminent Swiss psychologist, said, "We no longer believe in the reality of Olympus (Swarga is the Vedic equivalent), the place of the gods, so the gods live on in us today as symptoms.” A symptom is merely a shadow of a more complete manifestation. In a sense, to deny the gods is to deny the inherent strengths in our own nature, which are absolutely necessary to overcome the difficulties with which human life is fraught. To deny the gods is to affirm our weaknesses. To deny the gods is to yield to the overwhelming power of the material nature to bring us to our knees and keep us there through our admission of defeat. There is ultimately only one result that comes from denying the gods — certain death.

Think for a moment about a person who comes upon an accident and sees another person trapped underneath a flaming car. The rescuer, of average physical strength, then does something that is humanly impossible — he or she lifts the vehicle while someone else pulls the victim to safety. There are many reports of such feats. For a fleeting moment, the rescuer allows his divine nature to take over. If he were to sit down and think about it before attempting such a rescue, he would likely convince himself of his inability to overcome his human limitations, and the victim would remain trapped, awaiting her fate. But because he acts without indulging his limited conceptions, he is able to transcend them, in effect, to call upon the gods, to bring forth his own supernatural powers. Since we are made in the image and likeness of God or the gods, these divine powers are available to us all in our daily lives, not just in extraordinary circumstances. There is no situation that we cannot overcome, undo, turn around or triumph over. No situation known to man or woman.

The twelve-step program has helped many people throughout the world deal with addiction and dependency problems, some of them my clients. But what I have always found curious is the inherent contradiction in their philosophy. They say that one of the critical steps toward recovery is to surrender to God, to a Higher Power, because your problem is bigger than you. This is accurate. But then they say that you can never be healed. No one including yourself could ever help you toward achieving full recovery. What, not even God? No, not even God. They claim that you have a disease that cannot be cured, not even by God. Does such a belief not disempower God or the divine within man to overcome his material affliction? Are they not, in effect, denying the gods? I don’t recall ever hearing of any of the great sages, saints, prophets, or healers throughout history saying to a particular person, “You’re a hopeless case. You can never be healed.”

I don’t believe substance abuse is a disease. I believe it is a gaping, gnawing wound in the heart or the spirit that continually seeks fulfillment, that is, healing, and cannot find it. That’s why it is necessary to embrace the gods or one’s divine nature and further, to find a real and genuine substitute for the negative practice of addictive behavior, which will lead one to a higher state of spiritual fulfillment. But remember, to deny the gods or not give them their due means to risk abandonment by them, quickly followed by one’s demise.

When we deny the gods, our strengths are overpowered by our weaknesses and are sometimes even reduced to disease symptoms. To borrow loosely from the insightful author and psychologist, Robert Johnson, the thunderbolt of Indra, king of the gods, which is meant to lead to enlightenment can be reduced to migraine headaches arising out of confusion and a conflict of ideas. Instead of calling upon the god of fire, Agni, to ignite the passion of our higher purpose, we burn in the flames of envy with regard to the possessions and accomplishments of our friends and neighbors. Instead of the arrows of Kama (Cupid) opening our hearts to love, we are seized with the pains of angina constricting our hearts due to emotional trauma resulting in a broken heart. Instead of swift and steady forward progress in our lives propelled by the god of wind, Vayu, we are run down with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and paralyzed by stroke. Instead of the divine ecstasy offered by drinking the wondrous soma, the nectar of immortality, we suffer obsessions, compulsions and addictions whose satisfaction is always fleeting and whose consequence is often terminal. For a woman who denies her natural role as nurturer, perfectly symbolized by her breasts, those breasts may well be consumed by the cancer of resentment through the abandonment of the feminine nature. When we refuse to recognize the gods in the form of our natural inclinations, we then experience them as powerful perversions and unhealthy symptoms.

The Nag Hammadi scrolls or lost books of the Bible were discovered in a cave in Egypt in 1945. Included within these scrolls was the Gospel according to Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples. Thomas attributed a statement to Jesus wherein he says, "If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you fail to bring forth what is within you, it will destroy you.” This is a reference to your primal creative power that brings about the fulfillment of your purpose here on earth in this lifetime and benefits the rest of us with your unique, individual expression, which, believe it or not, our world cannot do without. How do we know the world cannot do without the complete fulfillment of the potential of all its inhabitants? Just look at the state of things. The widespread pain and suffering we see is primarily due to the misplaced efforts and frustration of the people, people who are unfulfilled.

Like the gods, the archetypes are immortal. They cannot be killed off for they are basic human drives and they will not disappear of their own accord. Our archetypes must be given a human face, a constructive outlet for their integration and use. Otherwise, if they are repressed, they will turn inhuman and destructive. It is like keeping a powerful animal in a cage. Its frustration, anger and resentment will build up over a period of time. Then, at some point, you will either voluntarily let it out or it will break free and all hell may break loose. The same archetypal energy if not cultivated will revert to its primitive nature — in the case of Dr. Jekyll, it was the evil Mr. Hyde.

Of course, the price we pay for ignoring an archetypal force is not only apparent on an individual level, it can also wreak havoc on a collective scale. For example, a few thousand or a few million people may be collectively caught up in a kind of madness of the psyche which may result in a determined genocide, such as what occurred between the Serbs and Muslims in Bosnia and the Hutus and Tutsis in Rwanda. This mass fear can also rear its ugly head wearing the mask of the disease epidemic.

When a myth truly comes alive for us, we experience a deep psychological understanding and a profound spiritual connection. By learning to identify these archetypes we can also learn to recognize them as behavior and response patterns at work within our psyche. By developing the ones that are worth embracing and by understanding and integrating the ones that are liabilities, the positive path of change will unfold before us. We must build a bridge between what we know to be true about ourselves (our conscious mind) and what we keep hidden in the shadows of our denial (our unconscious). When this line of communication is opened up, we will gain insights about our true nature, heal our many wounds, and step into the zenith of our personal power and fulfillment. When we stop denying our spiritual or divine nature and begin to tell the eternal truth about who we really are, we will then stop denying the gods and begin to live a life of true harmony. In that state of higher consciousness, our world will come to be a true reflection of, “As above, so below.”