Through a Jungian Lens

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Individuation – A New Journey With Each New Day

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Old man in Yang Guang Hua Yuan, ChangZhou

I took this photo yesterday morning while looking out from my third floor apartment to the compound roadway.  This old man was making his way slowly towards the entrance/exit of the housing complex known as Sunshine Gardens.  I have to admit that waking up just before dawn breaks and watching the sun’s rays finally peek out casting long shadows of golden light is a treasure.  It makes the moment magical setting up an anticipation for a new day where anything and everything is possible.  Is this one of the unconscious reasons why seniors wake up so early?

This man is just one of about a half-dozen older men that I see each morning as they make their way from the housing compound into the larger world outside the gates.  Perhaps it is to go to the market to buy one small thing or simply to walk to a park and be around people so that they feel engaged and vital in spite of their age. Though the body tells each of us that the end of life as we know it draws near, there is a curious sense of vitality, of awe in each new day.  Again we get to go on another heroic journey.

What is it to be old?  Certainly it isn’t really to do with one’s age.  There are those who are old, those who have given up their vitality and sit morose and bitter with the world at a young age.  There are those who though their body is on the verge of extinction continue to invest in being present and conscious with self and others. I am getting older yet I don’t feel old.  My body sometimes begs to differ with my mind, but my mind always wins out.  And curiously, I don’t have a foreboding sense of death or a fear of death.  There is something greater than the sum of all my parts which includes thinking and feeling.  And it is that something that tells me that the return of the body to the earth is simple a time of transition for that which I call my self.

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