Through a Jungian Lens

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An Island In a Sea of Unconscious

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Solitary - Ego rising out of the unconscious

I loved the geographical formations that I found in the Philippines. In a bay I found about six of these formations which were accessible at low tide but not so easily accessed when the tide was high.

It didn’t take me long to realise that this rock island was a representation of my self. At low tide, when the water recedes, the individual becomes part of the ordinary landscape, often becoming indistinguishable from the collective – an image of conscious life. At high tide, when the water surrounds the self, it is as if the self is being nurtured and fed by the unconscious. Through the work of the unconscious, one differentiates from the collective. The water caresses, holds and feeds much as a mother does this with a newborn baby. The self held in the embrace of the soul, in the power of Eros.

“Where a conscious relationship to Eros is not present, where men or women do not have modeling, permission or affirmation to this telluric energy, then they will suffer splits from their own guiding instincts, fell disconnected from the transcendent, and engage in futile but compulsive, searches for what is missing inwardly in the outer world. (Hollis, What Matters Most, p.51)

If one denies what is within one’s self, voices that seek to connect in dreams, in depressions, in numinous experiences, in synchronicities – one denies that aspect of self which feeds the self. And as Hollis tells us, we look for what is missing in others, in sex, in thrills, in extreme sports, in food, in drugs of choice. We ask other men and women to fill the holes in our sense of self, something that they can’t do no matter how much we love them or they love us in return. We need to learn to stand on our own, to become whole.

When we are whole, we can rejoin the collective, demanding nothing but giving freely and being present and serving as guideposts for others on their personal journeys of self discovery.


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