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Excerpt from:

Sacred Psychology of Change
Life as a Voyage of Transformation
by Marilyn C. Barrick, Ph.D.


Life is a river which flows through
many times and changes.


      When I first saw the four beautiful masterpieces by the artist Thomas Cole depicting the voyage of life,1 I realized that these paintings, reproduced in the center of this book, truly portray the essence of our life journey. In Cole’s first painting, an infant is entering the waters of life in a boat piloted by an angel. His second painting shows the angel watching from the bank as the youth excitedly sets off on a voyage by himself. Cole’s third painting depicts the man of middle age praying to God as his boat moves through rapids and shoals of very rough waters and angels watch from the clouds above. The fourth painting depicts angels guiding the boat as the old man returns home to God.
      These beautiful works of art became a meditation for me. In a meditative state I saw them representing both the inner and outer voyage of life. The outer voyage moves through the stages as Cole named his paintings: Childhood, Youth, Manhood and Old Age.
      My vision of the inner voyage of life is of the soul’s journey through this lifetime or perhaps many lifetimes. I see the soul as the inner spiritual being of man or woman who moves from a state of innocence through dreams of youthful adventure to the forging of destiny in manhood or womanhood to the fruition of the soul’s life work in the golden years.
      I envision each of us as a son or daughter of God whose soul is imbued with a divine love spark meant to ignite love on the earth in some very special way. Each of us begins our journey of life with hopes and dreams and the excitement of many possibilities. We bring to earth from the heaven-world unique talents of soul and treasures of Spirit to develop and offer to others.
      As each stage of life unfolds, we meet new people, changing circumstances and bountiful opportunities to learn, to grow and to give. I believe that our destiny on earth is to become the fullness of our God-created potential and to offer our special gifts to those we love and those we meet along life’s way. Ultimately, we return home to the realms of Spirit, the heaven-world, having fulfilled our mission of love, which is unique for each one.
      Offering love to the world means many different things. We may express our spark of love through the arts, the sciences, religion and spirituality, medicine, education, communication and information services, architecture, cultural advancement, environmental preservation—each one of us could add to the list.
      One way or another we are meant to offer to the earth and her people that unique gift of love that is inherent in our soul. As children of Universal Love, the very essence of our being is divine love. And each of us has our own creative way of expressing love to our Maker and to loved ones, friends, acquaintances and strangers along the way. How? It’s the simple things: a kind word, a creative idea, a helpful deed, a listening ear, a warmhearted response, a smile, a hug, a cheery hello, a word of appreciation.
      Each day we make many decisions and take many actions. We might ask ourselves at the end of the day: Have my decisions and actions today been loving? If the answer is yes, we are on target. If the answer is no, we need to reset ourselves so that tomorrow we can say, “Yes!”
      During our journey in time and space we have the help of our inner knight champion, our Higher Self (Christ Self or Buddha Self) who is meant to be our personal guide and mentor on this great voyage of life. We are in touch with our Higher Self when we feel the prick of conscience, the compassion of our heart, or when we respond to life from higher values. I dedicate this book on the sacred psychology of change to the reunion of our soul and Higher Self and to our transformational victory through the adventures of the inner and outer voyage of life.
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