Through a Jungian Lens

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Individuation – A Journey to Wholeness and Holiness

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This is a photo taken as night was approaching while I was on a hike up to a vantage point where I had hoped to see lava flowing from Arenal Volcano.  Once out of the van, it became evident that the journey up the base of the volcanic foothill would be done mostly in the dark.  I had a guide so the thought of the journey wasn’t as fear inducing as it would have been had I attempted this alone.  Before going far, this suspended bridge had to be crossed.  I knew that this was the boundary line.  If fear was to win out, I would have to turn back here.  Crossing the bridge meant that I was committed for the entire journey.

I have finished with Daryl Sharp’s third book in the Jung Uncorked series.  There is a fourth book now published but I have yet to obtain a copy for reading and reflection.  Since I have an inclination, I want to continue the idea of individuation and spirituality through the work of another Canadian Jungian analyst, John Dourley.  John Dourley is a priest who is also a professor at a university in Ottawa, my birth place in Canada.  I have a number of his books at my home and feel some connection with him as a person though we have never met.  If all goes as planned, I will get to meet John this spring.

“Jung’s theoretical understanding of religion makes of the analytic process a religious event. It recalls the Gods to their psychic origin and encourages unmediated conversation with them within the containment of the psyche. The analytic process thus understood is currently to be valued for a number of reasons. The internalization of divinity curtails enmity between religious communities bonded by external Gods. More than this, Jung’s total myth contends that divinity can become conscious only in humanity. The education and redemption of God in history is an ongoing project. Currently it takes the form of an emerging myth of an extended compassion whose embrace supplants still reigning myths of lesser compass. The analytic process, though confined, in the first instance, to individuals, is a significant contributor to the now emerging societal myth.” (Dourley, Jung and the Recall of the Gods, Journal of Jungian Theory and Practice, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2006, p. 43)

Individuals, individuation, consciousness, internalization of divinity … going down a lesser travelled path leading through darkness.  This is what I have accepted as my future and my present.  I could say that I have no choice, but that wouldn’t be true.  Like the moment on the bridge, I do have the option of saying “No!” to this journey.  To continue this journey, I will increasingly find myself increasingly alone in terms of people around me.  Yet, it will not be as lonely as all of that, for along the way, I will discover my “self” and become more and more of a whole person.  Wholeness.  For me, that is now becoming holiness, a state of terrible grace.


4 Responses

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  1. I made a decision some time ago, maybe 3 years back when our lives changed irrevocably to say “YES” more often, especially to things that scared me or pushed me out of my comfort zone. I am not entirely certain WHY I made this decision but it has brought me a wealth of experiences I would never, ever have encountered: travel, work, mental journeys, new friendships. When I recently agreed to a very odd assignment it led me to a strange space within myself(see my post At the eye of the hurricane) and even though I was scared to do it, it brought me to a point of minor enlightenment.
    I dislike heights but I find the picture of that ropebased bridge so enticing, I might well have crossed.
    Thank you.


    March 16, 2010 at 4:58 am

    • I will go and read your post right away. Yes, there are defining moments, aren’t there?

      Robert G. Longpré

      March 16, 2010 at 6:22 am

  2. Just passed my fiftieth birthday, I went for my first down river canoe ride. We had to bank the canoe when we drifted toward an unforeseen drop off. In the process, we dumped the canoe, losing some of our possessions, then had to climb a ten-foot high bank of mud,stones, grass and tree roots. Following a winding foot path, we emerged to an open-air railroad trestle bridge suspended over the fast flowing river far below. My two companions quickly and casually crossed the bridge, while I made a very long journey, one careful step at a time, and can still see, without closing my eyes, the spaces between those seemingly fragile wooden planks, to the other side of the river.

    I do agree that there are always choices and one can say no. But, I also think there are times when, if you are an individual who relishes growth and inner well-being, you know that moving forward is the only thing possible and feel that you have no other choice. Although I know that feelings are not facts, there are times when that feeling is the only solid thing to hang onto and telling yourself this is the only possiblility can propel you, albiet very slowly, across even an open air trestle, high above fast moving water.

    I have written the story of how I came to discover Carl Jung and my own inner workings. It is posted in the archives on my site: and listed in the search bar under the title “A Tiger Named Pain.” I would like very much, if you have the time, to hear what you think of my internal adventure.

    Thank you again, for the echoes and the reflections,



    March 21, 2010 at 4:14 pm

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