Through a Jungian Lens

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Conflict and Transformation

with 4 comments

I took this photo in a tiny open space just off the entrance to the small temple near Dong Po Park.  The little space contained only a black structure that looked like a styled tub which was used to hold joss sticks, and this candle holder.  It is a place of prayer.  I thought it fitting that this place of prayer was also a place of shadows.  Looking at the teeth of the candle holder, it also appears to be a place of pain and danger.

The sharp lines in contrast to the graceful curves are matched by the conflict between light and dark.  The harshest conflict is found near the base where the points that

are meant to hold candles appear to be hungry teeth.  Teeth that are black contrasted by the intensity of the light.

In so many ways, the scene makes me think of where one finds oneself in the midst of psychological crisis.  Personally, I am thankful that I have been graced with the occasions of psychological crisis.  I can almost here protestations – no, I don’t think I am crazy.  I don’t enjoy pain.  I am not masochistic.  I don’t enjoy the chaos and fear.  I much prefer living in light and relaxing in quietness with a good book and good company.  Yet, it has only been in times of psychological crisis that I have been able to become unstuck and find a way forward, a changed man.

Any conflict situation constellates the problem of opposites.  Broadly speaking, “the opposites” refers to the ego and the unconscious.  This is true whether the conflict is recognized as an internal one or not, since conflicts with other people are almost always externalizations of an unconscious conflict within oneself.  Because they are not made conscious, they are acted out on others.  This is called projection . . . ”  (Sharp, Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 49)

I am learning, albeit slowly, that it is almost always something about myself.  I am learning to sit back after the fact, to question myself.  I have been learning that it is pointless to constantly blame others for the conflicts.  It takes two to tangle.  If I could resolve my inner conflicts before they emerge into the outer world, most of the conflicts with others would not be happening.  For this, I admit my own culpability in all of these conflicts.

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4 Responses

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  1. this is a crazy photo. If I had not seen the lone candle, I saw what looked like red flesh of dead animals or birds impaled on the little black needles.

    abha iyengar

    October 10, 2010 at 11:55 am

    • You are right – there is a fine line between horror and holiness. Thanks.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 11, 2010 at 6:48 am

  2. Thank you for this Post Robert and picture Robert.
    Yes, the picture could come right out of The Tibetan Book of Death.
    This Post illustrates once again that the unconscious is not a static “field” that lingers somewhere in our/the unconscious, but that it is dynamic in every second of our life.
    I believe in fact it is making us “live”.
    In trying to imagine that this marvelous and fascinating “SYSTEM” of our Creator is only a small part of the whole System of Creation, makes me feel very humble.
    It could be interesting to think were we would be without the striving Force of the unconscious ?!
    By the way – I wrote a small addition on my comment of yesterday

    Opa Bear

    October 10, 2010 at 6:08 pm

    • The unconscious is the source of life. If one thinks of the watery darkness in which a human embryo develops, one can better realise this fact. Thanks for your continuing courage to add your voice here. It is much appreciated by myself.

      Robert G. Longpré

      October 11, 2010 at 7:05 am


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