The Lost Sea Weed

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

April 4, 2020

Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst

Robert BJ Jakala PH.D., Jungian Psychotherapist

In a storm, the safest place is in the eye of the storm. My colleague BJ and I will share our daily reflections on this centering process from an Analytical perspective, sharing from the repertoire of our personal and professional experience. BJ is a psychologist and a photographer and will pick and image of the day that catches him in this collective crisis. I will amplify it from a Jungian Analytical perspective. We hope that this may offer you a baby step on the path to your own unique response to this chaos.

When we consider the course of human life, we see how the fate of one individual is determined more by the object of his interest, while in another it is determined more by his own inner self, by the subject….But everyone possesses both mechanisms, extraversion as well as introversion, and only the relative predominance of one or the other determines the type.

(Jung & Bollingen Foundation Collection (Library of Congress), 1976, pp. 3-4)

The seaweed has lost its footing in the ocean floor, washed ashore, and its tip rested on a rock. I cannot think of a more unlikely connection for this plant. The photo seems available for all kinds of projections especially now with the Covid-19 issue in the world. As the plant, I feel out of my usual environment and thrown into a world where I must find new ways of being. As the beach, I have been given something I don’t know what to do with. As the water, I want to be at low tide and let the two of them figure it out. The overall scene is an unusual situation.

There are moments in this world situation that I only pay attention to my inner world, what I’m experiencing and ignore everything else. Then there are times I listen to what is happening “out there” to give me direction. I find the social distancing guideline to be out of my natural world, yet for now, essential to staying healthy. I notice how my conversations/connections seem more meaningful and important to maintain vitality. I am in discovery of how to take care of my introverted and extroverted aspects.

In the current pandemic, each one of us are feeling lost from our mooring, our roots, our context and our usual way of doing and being. While we have confusing and chaotic response from the governments and a disjointed global effort, each one of us has to evolve our own paradigm to deal with this crisis to protect ourselves the best we know how and then put ourselves in Service of our family, our community and for greater good. How must each one of us evolve this framework when we are disconnected from our roots, our support systems and in midst of the crisis of confidence in most authorities. We are like the sea weed, out of the ocean and on the rocky beach of reality. How must the sea weed survive, thrive and serve?

We can look to the outside to the limited sources of reliable data: not our politicians our medical leadership grounded in altruism, research, science and experience. We can discern which civic leadership to lend our ear and effort. We can support organizations and foundations that have earned our trust and our respect. So these are some of the outer, objective parameters we can deploy in our discernment of the “Right intention, right thought, right feeling, right action and dharmic alignment” as the eight noble truth of Buddhism would instruct us.

But when all is said and done, we have and Inner, subjective option. The sea weed may be on the rocks, but it always has the cellular memory of the ocean and its workings. It can stay put knowing that the high tide will gently return it the womb of the ocean. Each one of us has access to the cellular and archetypal memory of survival and capacity for Service. Each one of us can access this timeless wisdom through meditation, contemplation, attention to our soul’s whispers and prescriptions for the right interventions not only to survive but to thrive spiritually via Service of our family, community and towards greater good. The Right here implies aligned with our Soul’s guidance; the inner archetypal GPS that stands ready to guide each one of us in our own unique contribution. When each one of us blends the available verifiable and credible outer objective guidelines with our unique subjective soul guidance, we would have a personalized GPS to optimally protect ourselves and then be present to Serve others. That is as Way.

Some points to ponder

How has Covid-19 changed your life?

What helps you cope with those changes?

Do you experience the world as being an introvert or extravert?

What are your interests in the world? How are they affected during this time?

What community guidelines have you vetted and implemented to deal with the pandemic?

What framework do you have to tune into our subjective, soul-guidance?

Have you come up with a viable strategy to protect yourself, your family and your community?

Have you devised a paradigm to Serve others?

While you may feel like a sea weed stuck on a rock presently, do you have the memory of your home in the ocean and a GPS to return to the womb of your ocean?

Photo taken in Carpinteria, CA

Jung, C. G., & Bollingen Foundation Collection (Library of Congress). (1976). Psychological types (A revision / ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.