Through a Jungian Lens

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Picking Through The Ruins

with 6 comments

Picking up the pieces in Angkor Wat

I’ve chosen another image from Angkor Wat to bring here, this one being away from the temples, as the collection of broken pieces has its own story to tell. It’s interesting to me how we work so hard to dig up the past and try to reconstruct the stories that are embedded in rubble and detritus. While in Angkor Wat I got to hear of the usual excesses of power from the past that had been part of what it took to construct the temples which dwarfed humans. Deep within we respond to these excesses and their manifestations as though we are moths caught in the light, unable to shift our focus and attention.

When we take the journey within our inner dark spaces, a process we call psychotherapy or psychoanalysis, we carefully pick up each remnant from the past, almost reverently in order to learn the stories that lie hidden in the darkness and shadows. Our guides in this process are aware of a fuller story but can only guide us to our small truths as we are ready, as we recognize them. Until one is ready, the rubble within is just rubble. When one is ready, images begin to emerge and it becomes a work to fit the small pieces together in order to bring to consciousness that which has been lost.

What Dreams May Come - Hell

As I wrote these last words, I thought of the movie, What Dreams May Come, particularly the images of the main actor [Robin Williams] wandering through hell in search of his wife – so much wreckage, so much in ruins. I like to think that C.G. Jung was the inspiration of this film, but I must give the credit to Shakespeare who wrote:

For in that sleep of death, what dreams may come when we have shuffled off this mortal coil, must give us pause.” (Shakespeare, Hamlet)

Picking through the pieces, one finds a path back into life in the outer world, a life that is more vibrant, more animated. One is reborn into a more conscious life, a feeling that suggests a rising from the dead and ascending into heaven.


6 Responses

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  1. Dear Robert,
    How interesting that you combined your Post with the movie with Robin Williams.
    Robin Williams is our favorite actor and we have collected all of his movies, because the majority of his movies include an deep underlying element containing “jewels” – for the ones who are able to experience

    Opa Bear

    November 9, 2011 at 10:33 pm

    • I value many of Robin Williams movies, even his time spent as Mork from Ork.


      November 15, 2011 at 6:38 pm

  2. I see growth not so much going through the ruins of the past, but making ruins of the present paradigms and status etc. Analysis means “to take apart”. Jungians see this as a paradox of you have to shatter something to build. Freudians are more ‘go rummage through the past shatters and try to build it again”.


    November 10, 2011 at 12:47 pm

    • Yes, making ruins of our present paradigms, the essential task of alchemical change in the individuation process.


      November 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm

  3. “We come to love wounded. The outlaw struggle between the ego and self leaves us scared, dis-integrated, de-structured, eccentric. Our old center is gone. We begin the last and endless pilgrimage toward becoming a lover in the middle of a junkyard of broken myths, shattered relationships, smashed illusions, tarnished heroes, and obsolete gods. Our old identity is strewn in pieces around us. Our old badges of membership, our system for assuring ourselves of meaning and immortality, are worn beyond repair.”
    Sam Keen, “The Passionate life.”
    Becoming a lover in Keen’s book is the ultimate stage of human development.

    John Ferric

    November 11, 2011 at 3:43 am

    • Another book to add to my reading list – thanks JF.


      November 15, 2011 at 6:39 pm

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