Through a Jungian Lens

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In Search of Answers to the Ultimate and Deeper Issues

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I realise that this is the second post for today, but be that as it may, it is one that I want posted now that I am back in the villa from a three-day trip to the cloud and rain forests of north-central Costa Rica.  This post was created with one of my new friends in mind as well as a reminder to myself that this journey is a never-ending journey that though focuses on individuation, is not a journey without others in it, others who play key roles in one’s life.  For you . . .

This is a small turtle I found while walking down a dirt trail that is seldom used.  While walking with my wife, we saw this fellow making his way along the trail.  I did get a few photos of him before he “turtled,” before he retreated into the safety of his armoured house.  But it is this photo that I bring here.  It reminds me of myself before I finally admitted that I couldn’t do it all on my own.  At that crisis moment in my life, I stuck my head out and said I need a guide, someone to help me navigate this swampland wilderness.  I moved from psychology being a function of logos into a larger place in which I ceased being in control of all of the shots, the content and the direction.  And that action has changed my life and continues to change my life.

Prior to this, I was a teacher and a counsellor and in control of life.  I knew how to make a difference in the classroom and in my office.  When issues began to cloud my own life I increased the level of physical exercise, I dug deeper into research and I turned to meditation and music in order to soothe my soul.  I did all the right things except digging deeper into myself in order to uncover the issues.  Being a counsellor and teacher was what I did, not a philosophy that directed my life.  No wonder I was able to fall so hard.

And so I found this older woman in a distant city who became my guide through the swampland, a white-haired Jungian analyst.  And in the process, I learned that it isn’t really about psychotherapy as it is about how I was to approach the rest of my life.  It wasn’t about becoming a happier person, it was about learning to accept the fullness that included the darkness.  I adopted a revised philosophy of life that continues to this day, to colour my world.

. . . one cannot treat the psyche without touching on man and life as a whole, including the ultimate and deeper issues, any more than one can treat the sick body without regard to  the totality of its function. (Jung, CW 16, par 175)

The key for me, to journey deeper in search of self and awareness of something larger than myself.   This is a journey that continues, sometimes with a guide, sometimes trusting to my “self” as a self-guide.  When do I return to a guide?  When I find the criss-crossing trails in the swampland leave me standing still, undecided and fearful, then I know it is time to again invoke the presence of my guide.

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