To question is to be alive otherwise we merely exist. Most of us have experiences in our past that we have suppressed, skeletons in our closets that we guard with our lives. We also have teachings, customs, rituals and practice that have been passed down to us with an implicit or even explicit command that we should not question. This is reflected by Carl Jung’s “forbidden thought.”
When Jung was about 12 years old he had what might be called his foundational experience. He walked by the Cathedral of Basle on his way to school. One day he looked up and saw a beautiful sky and God sitting on his throne, looking down on the Cathedral. As a bolt from out of the blue he was plagued by “a forbidden thought.” He was convinced that if he succumbed to this thought he would be punished and something terrible would happen to him. He could not talk to his father or his 9 uncles who were part of the clergy in the Swiss Reform Church. Every time Jung asked a question, he was told that it was in the Bible and that was the end of conversation.
He was tormented by the “forbidden thought” and knew that he would have to deal with it by himself. On the third day he began to think that this challenge came from the all-powerful and all-knowing God. Giving in to this temptation would go against the teachings of religion and apparently go against God’s own commandment! But the intensity of the “forbidden thought” overpowered him. Jung turned his gaze to God sitting on his golden throne, high above the world, and from under the throne an enormous turd fell upon the sparkling new roof of the cathedral, shattering it and breaking the solid walls. At that moment he experienced unutterable bliss such as he had never known and spiritual freedom that would be the foundation of the rest of his life. Following this experience Jung deliberated long about what God’s will might be, and why on earth he would attack his own cathedral.
The forbidden thought is like the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden. “You shall not eat of the fruit of the tree that is in the middle of the garden, nor shall you touch it, or you shall die” (Gen 3:2b). Not only did they touch the fruit but ate it. They experienced enlightenment when their eyes were opened and through their nakedness they became conscious of their true essence, namely, the Divine image and likeness or the Divine Breath. And Eve became the mother of all the living or the source of life (Gen 3:20).
How about reflecting on this quote?
“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It will transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology.” Albert Einstein.