Through a Jungian Lens

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You Can’t Always Get What You Want

with 6 comments

Hidden behind blossoms in HongMei Park, April 2011

When I took this photo, I didn’t realise that there was a young man behind the white blossoms.  This is often the case when a person takes a lot of photos, the element of surprise discoveries.  I have to admit that the first reaction was that the “scene” was contaminated and the photo needed to be culled.  I wanted the blossoms, not a confused scene, a compromised scene.

However, taking the time to “think” about this, I realised that the photo had become even more valuable to me “because” of the barely discernible person in the background. What I want and what I need are often different things.  What I want is more often than not, something that is of momentary value, not something that is actually good for my whole being.

So what is it that I needed to get with this photo?  I know what I wanted – a floral scene.  I wanted a perfect world.  I wanted only beauty.  I wanted release from crowds, from people, from messiness.  What did I get?  I got a message that I can “mask” as hard as I want to, the reality of life, but it will not stay hidden.  I can build all sorts of retaining and containing walls around my shadow, but it will still poke its head out in spite of my ego efforts.

If I don’t want to be unpleasantly surprised with my shadow, I need to get to know it better, to release some of the pressure so that life becomes easier.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 15, 2011 at 3:31 pm

6 Responses

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  1. one of my teachers thought most of Jungian work was getting to know your Shadow – where it is , what it does and making room for it (rather than trying to eject it)


    April 16, 2011 at 12:30 pm

  2. Well Robert, is it “Shadow,” or could it, perhaps be “God?”

    To this day “God” is the name by which I designate all things which cross my willful path violently and recklessly, all things which upset my subjective views, plans and intentions, and change the course of my life for better or for worse.
    C.G. Jung

    John Ferric

    April 16, 2011 at 10:59 pm

    • John – shadow and god – god is all inclusive and has a dark as well as light aspect – all that is and isn’t. Thanks.


      April 25, 2011 at 6:48 am

  3. Hi there … loved it a lot .. but if you look sharply you gonna notice that there are two young men behind the blossons … so as far as we can see looking over the Shadow may seem to be a hard-working job — thanks for your article !

    Wagner, from Brazil

    April 17, 2011 at 9:30 pm

    • Hi Wagner – I did notice the second man, thanks for pointing him out 🙂 The work of trying to understand oneself, and the relation one has with the collective is indeed a hard work. I look forward to your visiting and commenting again in the future.


      April 25, 2011 at 6:50 am

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