A Flower Blossoms for itself and the Garden
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
April 8, 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.
Although the conscious achievement of individuality is consistent with man’s natural destiny, it is nevertheless not his whole aim….the natural process of individuation brings to birth a consciousness of human community precisely because it makes us aware of the unconscious, which unites and is common to all mankind. Individuation is an at-one-ment with oneself and at the same time with humanity, since oneself is a part of humanity. (Jung, 1954, p. 108)
This springtime flower is a welcome individual amongst the vines of its life’s source. It exists because the whole plant has facilitated the blossom. It stands out in this seasonal moment. Its surrounding leaves will last long past the flower if their roots stay grounded in fertile soil. The ecosystem of life on the planet earth gives me a visual harvest.
My eye is drawn to look at the passionflower in focus. The vines’ leaves fall into the background even though they can be clearly seen. What is it that lures me? What dynamic is at play? How did that separation happen?
If my task was to find the different shapes, textures, and colors of green in the world, I would examine the leaves more than the flower. I would see how each leaf on the vine had its own beauty. I would notice the veins, its sheen, the spots and shapes each one has. In the task of looking for green, the passionflower would have less importance in my quest.
Sometimes I only see what I am looking for, and at other times I can open the possibilities by wondering what I will find rather than defining a destination.
A flower blossoms on its own behalf but also in context and because of the garden. The garden offers a milieu for the plants and the flower, and once in blossom, the plants and the flower define the garden. Each one of us is like a flower. When we blossom into our individuative potential, into our wholeness, we fulfil our individual program of unfolding. However, we also help the garden become the garden it is meant to be. So, the flower and the garden make each other possible. Their destinies are interwoven.
No individual is an island unto themselves. We are defined by Collective and the Collective is US. When each one of us cultivates their personal potential, it is only half of the equation. This potential must then be deployed in SERVICE of our family, our community and for higher, community good. Only then is our individuation valid and our blossom complete. None of us can reach the zenith of our Selfhood, until we deploy our potentials in the Service of the Collective and higher good.
Some Points to Ponder
What am I looking for during this time of Covid-19 in?
What am I giving most of my attention to?
How can I pay attention to content and context? Individual and community?
What would help me realize more of my potential?
What has supported or encouraged me to “blossom”?
How am I “at-one-ment” with myself and humanity?
How have I cultivated my personal skills, talents and gifts?
Have I deployed these skills, talents and gifts in the SERVICE of my family, community and greater good in this time of Crisis?
Photo of passionflower taken in Lake Balboa Park, CA
Jung, C. G. (1954). The practice of psychotherapy : essays on the psychology of the transference and other subjects. London: Routledge & K. Paul.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.