October 10, 2020
If the world of the senses and all thought of it are completely extinguished, then the inner world springs into relief more distinctly. (Jung, 1969, pp. 571, para 938)
The window acts as a mirror to the external when there is no light inside. The glass is not treated. It is a plain and simple window. The external conditions, time of day, position of the sun, and amount of light do not allow the camera to photograph what is inside. The visual sense is dominant, yet my knowledge of this house informs me there is more in this scene than meets the eye. There is an internal world not revealed in this image.
The photograph exemplifies a moment of life when the only view is external. In these changing times, it is vital for me to remember to turn the light on inside. I must not let the external be the only view I have. I need to activate my internal sense abilities and resources to keep balance. As Jung suggests the inner world can provide a place of relief. It is more effective what I turn off the senses to the outside world.
There are individuals who do not turn on the inner light to harvest the mystery of their personal unconscious as a guide. While there are others who by design turn off the inner light or have worked through their personal issues – they become light. Such individuals who do not turn on their inner light or have no more need to turn on the lights are the most precious resource for the community. They become a mirror that reflects the collective. These are the old souls that become a reflective mirror for the issues that confront us. They give a face, a voice and manifestation to the collective issues of our times. They add a view, not just of the ground but the heavens; what we must confront and the forces of the Universe that guide and support us. The image reflets a feeble fence that divides us and the magnificent sky that unites us. We are all the children of the universe under the glorious heavens though at the ground level we are divided by fences, walls, and artificial divides.
”If you ask what percentage of your genes is reflected in your external appearance, the basis by which we talk about race, the answer seems to be in the range of .01 percent,” said Dr. Harold P. Freeman, the chief executive, president and director of surgery at North General Hospital in Manhattan, who has studied the issue of biology and race. ”This is a very, very minimal reflection of your genetic makeup.”
Did you know that at the base-pair level your genome is 99.9 percent the same as all the humans around you.
In my clinical experience, three groups of individuals represent these old souls. They have minimal personal Samskara or turbulence and primarily become the mirrors to the soul of the society. These include children, artists, and so-called schizophrenics. In the East, the schizophrenics are often considered old souls, holy men and women who channel the archetypal wisdom. In my experience, the same applies to children and artists.
Some of my best inspiration has come from these three groups of individuals. When I was stuck in completing one of my books, I got crucial guidance during my walk with my grandson Signe which helped me complete my work in short order. (Bedi, 2013).
During my visit on a teaching tour in Moscow a few years ago, I was intrigued by the story of Saint Basil- fools for Christ,
When he was sixteen, the saint arrived in Moscow and began the difficult exploit of foolishness for Christ. In the burning summer heat and in the winter’s harsh frost, he walked about barefoot through the streets of Moscow. His actions were strange: here he would upset a stand with kalachi, and there he would spill a jug with kvas. Angry merchants throttled the blessed one, but he endured the beatings with joy, and he thanked God for them. Then it was discovered that the kalachi were poorly cooked, and the kvas was badly prepared. The reputation of Saint Basil quickly grew, and people saw him as a holy fool, a man of God, and a denouncer of wrong.
In 1547 he predicted the great fire of Moscow; through prayer he extinguished a fire at Novgorod; and once he reproached Tsar Ivan the Terrible, because during the divine services he was preoccupied with thoughts of building a palace on the Vorobiev hills.
During the current global pandemic, environmental catastrophes, and racial injustice, we would do well to listen to reflections by our children, our artists and the fools who could guide us from darkness to light. Greta Thunberg born January 3, 2003 is one such soul.
In our personal Odyssey, we should seek out and honor such individuals if we are so blessed by their presence. They carry the wisdom of the depths. Perhaps, we could start listening to our own children and grandchildren. They are our best mirrors to reflect to us not only our face but the face of God that stands behind us.
Points to Ponder:
- What view of the outside is in focus in your life?
- How does the view influence your mood?
- Do you have a clear boundary between the internal and external? If yes, how did you create it? If no, does that serve you?
- How do you experience your internal view? How do you change it when appropriate?
- Which individuals in your life become your source to channel the wisdom of the universe?
- Do you listen to your children and their concerns about the world events?
- Do you pay attention to artists, writers, musicians that reflect to you the angst and issues of our times with prescriptions to heal these?
- Are you blessed with the presence of the fools who tell it the way it is?
- Do you resort to a solution focused approach to the present crisis or pay some attention to the deeper issues that will impact your great grandchildren?
- Do you believe in just putting out the fire or repair the gas leaks?
Bedi, A. (2013). Crossing the healing zone : from illness to wellness. Lake Worth, FL
Newburyport, MA: Ibis Press, a division of Nicolas-Hays, Inc.,Lake Worth, Distributed to the trade by Red Wheel/Weiser.
Jung, C. G. (1969). Psychology and religion: West and East (2d ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
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.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH. D