Through a Jungian Lens

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At the Centre

with 14 comments

I am back on-line.  The highspeed modem died leaving me with no Internet service for two days.  I am now using a different modem on a different computer until I get my regular Internet service back.  Thankfully, I have this option as of this morning so that I can again post here in Through a Jungian Lens

I took this photo at a place I had never visited here in Changzhou, the Ming/Qing Dynasty Furniture House.  The colours and the circle with the radiating, swirling spokes just begged me to take another photo.  Since I have learned to listen to that inner voice, I obliged.  You see, the shadow also has a light as well as a dark aspect.

How do I explain this?  Well, I want to try by looking at something different, at the moment of dying.  About thirty-five years ago I read a book that talked of the experiences of those dying, those declared dead only to return to consciousness.  Each person seemed to have the same story to tell of darkness and then going into that darkness to find a bright light at the centre that grew as they approached the centre.  When my father-in-law “died” in the hospital not long after I read this book, he somehow returned to life.  He told me that he wasn’t allowed to die at the time as his wife was not ready to live alone; he had some work to do in order to prepare her for taking care of the accounts and the house.  His story was an exact duplicate of the stories I had read.  He, too, experienced the circle of light that drew him out of the darkness. 

Does this fit the idea of light being within the darkness?  I think so.  But, there are other aspects of this light that are more “prosaic” so-to-speak. 

“However, the shadow is not only the dark underside of the conscious personality.  It has a bright side too:  aspects of ourselves that might yet be lived out, our unlived life – talents and abilities that have long been buried or never been conscious.  They are potentially available, and their conscious realization often releases a surprising amount of energy.  That is why a depressed person is counseled to go into the mood rather than try to escape it.  You don’t find buried treasure unless you dig.” (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 47)

Yes, a better self is there to be uncovered, discovered.  Doing the hard work of digging into the shadows, trying to become more aware will yield us awareness of our potential good as well as our potential evil.  As we discover, uncover more about “self,” we get to decide how and who we will be with that knowledge.  We cease being victims.


14 Responses

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  1. Just in time. I was about to email you to see if all was okay! I want to, deep down, be an optimist and think you are having a really wonderful life that is more real than what you write here, but something in my gut said, “Be worried.”

    So glad you are back, friend.


    September 28, 2010 at 11:32 am

    • Thanks. 🙂 I think I am back for a while now that the tech work has finally been done.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm

  2. Unable to connect and communicate.. one of life’s greatest fears for us, isn’t it?

    The shadow can be illuminated by the light, known somewhat by conscious effort, even controlled by the tools we develop to keep our darkness from spreading. But the light within the darkness – that unexplored potential? That is so much harder to access.

    Is it because we fear the even deeper changes that those potentials can create? Our darkness we can acknowledge and work on, changing us by giving us deeper understanding of ourselves.

    But the unexplored potentials imply completely new directions. Almost an exploding of power. Are we afraid of that processes? Are we afraid that by opening up those potentials we will lose the communications and connections we have with others now?

    Only by completely leaving my old life have I been able to realise some of my hidden potentials. had I stayed at home the cages of work, responsibilities, family and friends (love is a cage as well!) kept me within a set of parameters. Without those constraints, I have been able to explore my potentials and take the opportunities that they offered me.

    I am afraid that if I return, then my life will step back into those familiar (and loving) bonds and other possibilities not yet seen will stay hidden within the darkness.

    Lotus Light

    September 28, 2010 at 11:46 am

    • The biggest fear now to be faced is to return to the old life and see if we will “fall back” or keep what we have learned and live accordingly.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 2, 2010 at 5:21 pm

  3. it seems i am prodded again and again to recognize a very simple truth.
    nothing is separate.
    as above, so below….that is for both the inside and the outside of my wee little brain.
    i can sliver and dissect all the various parts i want, but if i am honest, each leads to the other and grows from the other – births the other and destroys the other. it is the symbol of yin-yang.

    this heirarchy of light above dark is at times a trap as much as it can be a helpful distinction at other times…
    “…everything that rises must converge…”

    let us hope that we are growing to a space where we learn to embrace both sides with equal joyous curiosity, willing compassion, and healthy skepticism. than that as below, might might ripple out above and send us into some truely unexplored territory


    September 28, 2010 at 8:42 pm

    • Yes, “as above, so below” is an essential truth. But one must also then accept, “as below, so above.”

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 2, 2010 at 5:23 pm

  4. ps… i missed you robert


    September 28, 2010 at 8:44 pm

  5. same here…
    was what I was saying.


    September 29, 2010 at 9:38 am

  6. What is the Shadow gets tossed around so; I sense some of the confusion is Dr. Jung changed his mind or edited it over time so there is no set definition. I concur with you the Shadow as some positive parts, it is not ‘just negative’
    Nor is it merely ‘all that is unconcsious’ as one of my teachers insisted.


    September 29, 2010 at 11:37 am

  7. This is so hopeful. There is hope that I may yet do- do what? What I need to do.
    hope all continues well for you in China, Robert.


    September 30, 2010 at 5:07 pm

    • Yes, hopeful indeed. As to the “do what” question, I don’t think that the “what” is all that important, at least not near as important as the “doing.” Thanks.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 2, 2010 at 6:19 pm

  8. Appreciate your article. The ‘shadow’ can have positive and negative aspects. What is in the ‘shadow’ can be simply what has not been brought to the light of consciousness. The ‘shadow’ can also be a place of safety, where we can hide from the world and hide our wounds.

    We should accept our shadows, allow our spirits to feel our feelings and be open to learning more about ourselves and others in the creative dance between the ‘shadow’ and the ‘light’.
    ~Namaste, Che Peta

    Che Peta

    October 7, 2010 at 1:54 am

    • Thanks for your comment and visit here. I hope that you return again and again and again. 🙂 Of course you are correct about the dual nature of the shadow.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 7, 2010 at 12:48 pm

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