A Bridge to the Future
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
April 11, 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 an 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.
The process of coming to terms with the unconscious is a true labour, a work which involves both action and suffering. It has been named the “transcendent function” because it represents a function based on real and “imaginary,” or rational and irrational, data, thus bridging the yawning gulf between conscious and unconscious. (Jung, 1956, p. 80)
As I stand here, I see the bridge arch over the water and connect to the path on the other side. The beauty ahead invites me to cross the bridge and come closer. I walk slowly and feel the surface of the bridge under my feet. I pay attention to the amount of time and effort it took to construct it. There are sacrifices of tree life, and human work/time/effort that built the way to move across the stream. I imagine the time before the bridge when the way to the other side was through the water. I step into that water and find myself captured by the moment. I can no longer pay attention to the vista but must carefully place each step. I feel uncertain and danger on the slippery rocks and sand. I take more determined steps until I arrive on the other side.
I appreciate all that went into the bridge construction and wonder what I would do if I had to construct it. When it was finished would I feel proud? Would I miss the effort and danger time in the water?
In this time of Covid-19, we are on this side of the bridge trying to see our future. It’s uncertain of how it will look. We are forced to be in the moment taking one step at a time. It is the time of “true labour, a work which involves both action and suffering.”
Every individual, family, community, nation and the global order has to establish an individual and a collective bridge to the future, where we must co-exist with a biologically and ecologically fragile system on a crowded planet with finite resources. This will need a conscious discernment and accessing the timeless wisdom of the Universe: Jung called this the intelligence of the archetypes of the collective unconscious and the Hindus call it the union with the Brahman consciousness or the awareness of our cosmic origins as the Spiritual beings incarnated into human experience to retire the unfinished Karma or our past lives and claim the tools for our future lives till we are sanctified to merge again with the Brahman.
So how do we claim assistance from the archetypes of the collective unconscious and the awareness of the Brahman transcendence. The Hindus follow the GPS of their Vedic scriptures especially the 195 prescriptions of the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra. (Satchidanada; White, 2014). Analytical psychology advocated the engagement with the Transcendent Function via a dialogue with the messengers of the Unconscious in a process called the Active Imagination. (Johnson, 1989; Jung, 1969)Volume 8, para 131-193.
I would invite all readers to take an image from their recent dream or day dream related to their concern or anxiety about the Corona Virus. Then give this image a form and a name. Then do 45 minutes of Journaling a dialogue with this image as a real object or creature. Insist on your own authority and ethics as you negotiate a compromise with what the image demands and what you want from this dialogue. Then write down the compromise solution. Implement your part in this solution in the next 48 hours. This is a modified version of the method called Active Imagination.
Some Points to Ponder:
- What action (exercise, journaling, meditation, connecting with others, etc.) helps you?
- How do you know if you need a bridge?
- Which bridges are already built and/or which do you construct?
- What do you envision for your future?
- How do you help others construct a bridge?
- When do you walk the bridge and when do you get into the water?
- Choose an image from your recent dream or day dream pertaining to your concerns about the Corona Virus. Then do a 45 minutes dialogue with this image after giving this image a name. Negotiate with this image: what does it want from you and what you would like to do to step into your foreseeable future to reclaim the momentum of your life?
- Archive your Active Imagination in your Journal.
- Implement your part of the negotiated compromise in the next 48 hours.
Photo taken at the Japanese Gardens, Los Angeles, CA
Johnson, R. (1989). Inner Work: Using Dreams and Active Imagination for Personal Growth New York: Harper & Row.
Jung, C. G. (1956). Two essays on analytical psychology: Meridian Books.
Jung, C. G. (1969). The structure and dynamics of the psyche, Volume 8 (2d — ed. Vol. 20). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Satchidanada, S. S. The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.
White, D. G. (2014). The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali : a biography. Princeton: Princeton University Press.