Through a Jungian Lens

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Relationships Begin In Separation

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"All relationships being, and end, in separation." James Hollis (The Eden Project, p.11)

This photo taken in XiTang was meant to capture a sense of magic, a sense of the Garden of Eden, of romance and the mystery of an ancient culture.  I didn’t know at the time that it would find its way here, but most of my posted photos are taken for other reasons even if most of those reasons are unconscious.

With this photo and this post, I am returning to a theme I often visit, that of relationship.  I am not an expert in relationships though I am engaged in being in relationship to my wife, a relationship that is approaching its fortieth year.  I am approaching this theme through the work of James Hollis as explored in his book, The Eden Project: In Search of the Magical Other.  I make no promises on how long I will stick with this theme.  All I can tell you is that the “magical other” that I am in search of is one that is found within myself.  I hope that in wandering again through this book I find a few more trails within that will allow me to build a stronger relationship with my “Self” in order to be a better participant in my outer world relationships with others.

But of course, in searching within, I find that I must look at my “self” as expressed in the outer world, in the relationships with others – parents, friends, siblings, children, enemies, colleagues, students, and with my life partner.  It all starts with “me.”

When I am honest with myself, I am alone, separate, distanced from everyone and everything.  I am even separate from most of what I could consider to be myself.  Awareness came slowly, awareness that I actually existed as a separate being.  And when the awareness of my own being arrived, I found myself immediately alone in my head.  At that moment, I began working to somehow reconnect, to go back to where I had come from before finding myself alone.  But of course, before this moment of realisation, “I” didn’t really consciously.  In a manner, I was born “separated” from all others.

With time and effort I learned to connect tenuously with others, with a mother and father who were confused in their own roles as parents,  as lovers.  I knew early that these two individuals struggled with themselves and couldn’t be there for me – I was locked in my head and they were out of reach.  The dawn of consciousness within me caused a separation between parent and child.  And so a new relationship was born because of that separation.  The awareness of “self” and the existence of “other” and the separateness of both was the source of my first experience of relationship.


Written by Robert G. Longpré

April 27, 2011 at 2:22 pm

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