Through a Jungian Lens

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In Search of a Mentor

with 12 comments

As I walked along one of the canals in an area where there was almost no development, as close as countryside as I can find just a few kilometres from the apartment, I saw this young man sitting at the edge of the canal.  It made me think if myself in about a gazillion years ago.  Like now in late midlife, I had only questions with no one around to ask these questions.  It’s not a criticism of the people who were around me as they were in much the same boat as I was, looking for answers to questions they didn’t even know existed.

As the years passed and I found myself simply “making it up” as I lived, carving my own path, perhaps needlessly re-inventing where mature guidance from a mentor might have allowed me to use my energies to make my life, and the lives of those in my family, better.  I wonder if the fact that I had to “make it up as I went along” might have given me enough of foundation to be able to focus better as I choose to rummage around in the shadow lands?  Would a mentor have have made life too easy and in the end unprepared for the journey that comes in the second half of life?

I am not good at following orders.  I am a person that wants to control all aspects of myself.  This has been at the root of my seeking of knowledge and becoming a life-long learner.

Who have been the mentors in my life?  I don’t know if I could ever answer this question with a name.  There have been men in my life, but most of them have been just there in the background.  There have been a few that have stood in opposition, something for which I am grateful now as they served as a catalyst for my own growth.  There have been a few that accepted the fullness of who I am.  One of these was my initial guide that was there when I began the process of navigating midlife crisis – an older man.  Perhaps this is all that I needed.

For the rest, I borrow from those long dead with Carl Gustav Jung being near the head of this group which includes an eclectic collection of philosophers, poets, psychologists and novelists.  I think that in this modern age, a modern man is perhaps “luckier” in that he has access to the wisdom of both the present and the past.  What more could I want in search of a mentor?


12 Responses

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  1. Beautiful photo. Interesting reflections. I’ve never found a Buddah on the road to kill. oops maybe I have. My trainer in psychodrama. Can’t shake off the transference. Maybe it’s not transference.


    October 9, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    • Good to see you here Walter. It has been a long time 🙂 Cyberspace is a different place than it was back in the mid ’90s when we first engaged at PSYBER-L. I’m looking forward to your comments here.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 9, 2010 at 4:35 pm

  2. I love the photo, and the questions it raised.

    I don’t think there is such a thing as “needlessly re-inventing” advice. I think (hope?) that the real answers develop when you learn to trust yourself and your own mind.

    But the words of others can help frame the questions you ask yourself and provide an echo chamber to test your thoughts. In that sense, the mentor we all need is the accumulated human experience, so can come in any shape or form.


    October 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    • I guess the idea of needlessly re-inventing advice is a problem with the concept of advice. Almost always advice is something that is wasted effort. Better to wait until someone comes along in search of some guidance and then pointing out “possibilities” as one sees them while noting that they are simply that, possibilities. Thanks.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 10, 2010 at 11:52 am

  3. Remarkable Post Robert and remarkable picture.
    The young man on the picture seems to be unaware of his blurred reflection in the water – how symbolic !
    For the second part :
    The young man is looking around and waiting, while his Mentor is there, but he is unaware of his Mentor that is “in” himself and part of himself.
    Yes I feel the kinship in this Post – the only difference is that to my personal awareness, my Mentor seems to be timeless and mentally not to comprehend by me – I grow old, but my Mentor seems ageless.

    Opa Bear

    October 9, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    • I like that image, a mentor that is ageless. 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 10, 2010 at 11:53 am

  4. I feel as if I know exactly what you are talking about here.


    October 10, 2010 at 1:03 am

    • Then you probably do. 🙂 One hears what one needs to hear when one is ready to hear.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 10, 2010 at 11:54 am

  5. Addition – sorry that I was not able to transport my thoughts in a more proper way with words – so here I will try again.
    The water flows – one fraction of a second the water is in the place where one can see the blurred image, the next fraction of a second the water moved to a place where is destiny lays – symbolically, the blurred image is not influenced by the future, nor the past, but remains in the present, and so for me the blurred image is timeless.
    Is anyone able to define the “age” of the blurred image ?
    So too me the blurred image is ageless – in that concept I feel that my Mentor is.
    Pitiful my knowledge of the language is not that specific to explain contents of the numinous – it is the best I can do, smile.

    Opa Bear

    October 10, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    • I now understand your comment. I hope my original reply is also understood as it has relevance as well.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 11, 2010 at 6:49 am

  6. A real mentor will not make things easier for you, but challenge you to be better and stronger. S/he should be able to give a range of options, tell you where you are needing strength and where you are making mistakes.

    Having said that… deciding which advice is appropriate is important. Many people will give advice, when we ask or not, but even when we are looking for help, the advice is frequently only appropriate for the person offering. We do have to re-invent the wheel – because it is our wheel, specifically for our path.

    Lotus Eater

    October 12, 2010 at 10:35 am

    • Yes, a mentor to “challenge” with more questions – the right questions 🙂

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 13, 2010 at 7:19 am

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