Through a Jungian Lens

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A Journey Into Maturity

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"Maturity implies not so much avoiding being abandoned but in abandoning ourselves with few illusions - If we succeed in bearing the anxiety of solitude, new horizons will open to us and we will learn finally to exist independently of others." - CG Jung

“Maturity implies not so much avoiding being abandoned but in abandoning ourselves with few illusions – If we succeed in bearing the anxiety of solitude, new horizons will open to us and we will learn finally to exist independently of others.” – CG Jung

I found this image through doing a web search using the word solitude, as I wanted something to fit with the quotation which is another one of those priceless gems that came out of Jung’s work. I was also looking for an image that would signal a universal rather than a personal reality, an image that was not bound by time. This image of man and nature, both in their purest forms seemed to fit. Who took the photo? I don’t have an answer. I am thankful that it was taken and then set free to wander in cyberspace.

As I get older, in spite of the fact that I am surrounded by family, friends and community, I am experiencing a sense of solitude that is powerful and nourishing. At one point in my life, I ran from solitude to hide myself in a crowd of others. I kept my head, heart and soul looking outward and living outward. I didn’t like what was within, perhaps even afraid of what would be found if I dared to sit still with myself. Now, I can sit in comfort whether in the light or the darkness, whether alone or with an other.I have slowly learned to be independent.

That isn’t as easy or as simple as it sounds. Like most people, I was, and to a certain extent still remain, dependent on others. I deferred to the beliefs of others. I depended on my children to be children who needed me. I depended on their loving me. I depended on my wife for organizing, planning and managing the world around me. I depended on her loving me. I depended on others in my career to give me worth. and perhaps even love me. All of that dependency.

Thankfully, I fell flat and my face and woke up to the fact that I had to grow up and abandon all that dependency. Yes, I could stand on my own two feet without clinging desperately. It’s something we all need to do at some point, but unfortunately too many never let go of dependency.

We show our dependencies in so many ways. We gather material and cling to these treasures as if they define us. We gather people around us unconsciously filling our empty spaces with them, using them as proofs that we exist. We blindly cling to belief systems that gives us all the answers. It seems that anything is better than to stand naked and alone and accountable to ourselves.

Sadly, our societies are just as dependent collectively as we are as individuals. And with the insecurity that comes with being dependent, our societies reject, mostly out of fear, anything that challenges the structures of dependency that have been built to keep fear of being abandoned and alone at bay as though those challenges were terrorists, the agents of darkness. As individuals we risk almost everything, perhaps everything, in abandoning dependency. There are no guarantees that re-approaching life as an independent being will be well received by all those who surround us as individuals. Yet, we can’t allow the fear of possible losses keep us immature. We need to dare, to risk and even trust.

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Written by Robert G. Longpré

November 17, 2013 at 8:53 am

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