Volume 6 / Issue 1 SPRING 2020

S p i r i t ua l i t y S t u d i e s 6 - 1 S p r i n g 2 0 2 0 7 Larry Culliford 3 The Pilgrimage Journey of Life So, our individual souls are permanently connected harmoniously with the overarching, universal spirit. Nevertheless, some kind of split does occur, and we have to call the separated off (but still connected) part something. The term I prefer, having used it before, is the everyday Ego , what we each think of asme in daily life. In contrast to which there is the spiritual Self , the soul . Others, Thomas Merton, for example, have referred to these split parts of one human being as the False self and the True self . The two parts become split from each other early in life, setting up a  dissonancebetween them. The great pilgrimage of life, then, involves the split or dissonance growing, and in ideal cases later; with wisdom and maturity; closing back again. This is what Richard Rohr refers to as the “ journey into the second half of our own lives ” (Rohr 2012, vii) . This is the sacred journey we are all on, to reunite our everyday Egoswith our spiritual Selves . The Meaning of Life Diagram showing six stages of spiritual growth (Culliford 2014) (1) (2) Conformist (3) Individual (4) Integration (5) (6) Infancy Egocentric Conditioning Universal Spiritual Self Something happens Enlightened Self Everyday Ego Level of dissonance Pristine Ego Low Medium High trajectory I’d like to recap this quickly with the help of a diagram that I call The Meaning of Life Diagram (Culliford 2011, 29; Culliford 2014). This version is complicated, so I will break it down for you. Let us look at one line and the Ego-soul split or dissonance. Beginning with what some have called a  pristine Ego , the split between the everyday Ego and the soul or spiritual Selfnormally grows quickly in the early years of life. As adulthood approaches, we each have to manage two opposing drives: to conformand belong on one hand; and to be independent of thought, speech and action on the other. To progress on the spiritual path, it is necessary to individuate , as Jung called it, not only to grow independent-minded, but also to take increasing responsibility for our thoughts, words and actions. As we make our way in the world, we can be said to go initially through three or four stages, which, adapting James Fowler’s rightly celebrated formulation (Fowler 1981), I have renamedegocentric, conditioning, conformist, and individual.