Through a Jungian Lens

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Prairie Sunset On Fire

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One of the things I love about sunset photos is how they bring out a sense of something bigger than being human.  If there is a visible face for God, then this must be part of that visibility.  In thinking about this visibility, I can also glimpse it at dawn but have problems catching glimpses of this face during the middle of the day when sunlight glares, almost making it impossible to see beyond the edges, or at night when again the edges disappear into darkness.

Perhaps it isn’t just me . . . If I think about it, throughout human history it has been the children as well as the elders who have had the most contact with the numinous that best approaches the sense of God and godliness.  Children and the dawn, elders and the sunset:  it fits, doesn’t it?  Regardless, the pull to view life within a religious frame is there, a natural part of being human.  With children the pull to religious is unintentional and soon fades as life drags them into the fullness of being present in life.  With our elders, intention is everything.  Many elders resist the pull to a religious frame in an attempt to keep the specter of death away.  John Dourley, a Catholic priest as well as Jungian analyst who says that with human maturation is a corresponding spiritual maturation.  Dourley goes on to state:

Jung suggests that the process of individuation culminates in the experience of personal integration and universal relatedness, which certainly is religious.” (Dourley, A Strategy For a Loss of Faith, p. 52)

For me, this idea of a “personal integration” along with a “universal relatedness” makes the process of individuation one that is more palatable than simply having an “I” focus.  For me, the problem of living in a “me” world is one in which “other” has no value.  When “other” has no value, then there is no value outside of “self.”  And we see the problems that this creates as our collective societies rape the earth and their neighbours in hopes of gaining something of value for “us,” in particular, “me.”  It is this “me-ness” attitude that would reduce a sunset to some profit margin or else find a better way to use one’s time than to enjoy a meditative moment, a religious moment where I become one with the universe; and I become responsible and accountable for my part in that universe.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

July 12, 2010 at 6:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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