Through a Jungian Lens

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Temenos – The Spaces We Live In

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My morning sea for meditation in the early morning sunshine at Casa Sorpresas.

My morning sea for meditation in the early morning sunshine at Casa Sorpresas.

This is where I sit each morning for meditation in our garden here in Mexico. This garden is alive with lizards, iguanas, geckos, birds and countless insects, and of course the various garden plants. This is a private space in which I am free to sit without disturbance, without life or others intruding into that space. I have to admit that I cherish the ability to perform this morning ritual.

In Jungian psychology, there is a word that names a safe and sacred spot where one can dare total honesty with oneself, where one can disclose to oneself as one explores the edges of darkness and shadows as well as the boundaries of light as we come to be present in that light. The word is called temenosIn many ways, this space of temenos, is a Secret GardenAnd like the priests of ancient Egypt, the medicine men of tribal peoples, for me this journey of mind, body and heart in this space is done sans vêtements. For me, it is a spiritual journey, a religious experience without religions demanding obedience. Rather, I dare listen and honour my soul, my heart and my spirit. Anything less would be about loss, about denial and fear.

I am reading a new book courtesy of my provincial eBook library called Making Space, by Thich Nhat Hanh. The first words that appeared in the introduction to the book were enough for me to know that I am going to treasure this book.

“Our minds, our bodies, and the spaces we live in are all related. Our inner space and our peace of mind are affected by our outer space. … It’s hard for the mind to be peaceful when the body is not in a physical space that is peaceful.”

Having just read these words and putting them here for you, I realise that unconsciously I have done just this, created a space, I have made space for peace of mind in my meditation practice. At home in Canada, that space is different but it does exist – perhaps not as a secret garden – yet it is a safe and sacred spot that is marked with a few things such as a triad of photos, a tiny altar with incense and a candle, and a white silk scarf that was given to me when I took refuge.

Sometimes I need to find a new space, create a space of temenos for meditation practice. Then, that space becomes one more of inner space than outer space. Have you created your space, your safe and sacred circle of temenos, your place where you can sit and enter into communion with the inner you that you have so often abandoned?


Written by Robert G. Longpré

March 11, 2014 at 9:44 am

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