ALETHIOMETER

The Truth Meter

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

ISSN 1939-3407

April 23, 2020

Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst

www.pathtotheosoul.com

www.tulawellnessllc.com

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.

Luckily for us, symbols mean very much more than can be known as first glance. (Jung, 1956, p. 302)


The eruption of Old Faithful is a result of volcanic activity beneath the earth’s surface. It has been named because of its relative predictability. The shape and height of each eruption is varied, but the event itself happens with relative regularity.

I remember visiting Yellowstone and wondering if it would really erupt. I felt anticipatory excitement, and the waiting anxiety stretched every second of every minute. I kept looking at my watch wondering how much time had lapsed and it would only be a minute or two. My desire of the outcome amplified each waiting moment.

This natural wonder began to show itself gradually until its full height was attained. It is a known and mysterious at the same time. It feels as alive as the trees in the background, yet it is not the same.

Covid-19 has both known and mysterious aspects. We can see how it is showing up in the world, but its intensity and duration vary. We wonder if it will happen to us or those we love. The symbolic meaning varies from person to person, culture to culture.

A Symbol is a mystery that points the Way to our Destination and Destiny. It is GPS that points the way to what we are meant to be. It is like and ALETHIOMETER. An Alethiometer is a fictional object from the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman which allows those who are highly trained (or gifted) to know the answer to any question. The name comes from ancient Greek (Alethia meaning truth and meter meaning measure). In this context, the crucial point is to keep the question in mind as you ponder on the Symbol to respond with a response.

Each one of us must hold a question in our mind so that the pandemic may guide us with the answer to our query: Beyond managing this crisis adaptively with the best resources I can muster, what fundamental change I am invited to make? What are my core priorities in life versus superfluous ones? How can I winnow my lifestyle to make room for my Truth?

If we maintain this dual focus of Survival and then Spiritual Reboot of our life than the Symbol would have yielded Dharmic dividends.

Some Points to Ponder:

  1. What does the pandemic symbolize to you?
  2. How to you manage your waiting time?
  3. What changes, internal or external, have you made to live through this time?
  4. How do you interact with mysterious aspects of life?
  5. In face of the pandemic crisis, what is your Survival strategy?
  6. Once your Survival strategy is in place, what are your reflections in towards your long term priorities?
  7. As you reflect on the symbolic meaning of this crisis in your life, are your long-term goals same, slightly different or radically divergent from your present plans?
  8. What is your GPS to reboot your long-term life goals once this crisis passes?

Photo of Old Faithful, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Jung, C. G. (1956). Symbols of transformation; an analysis of the prelude to a case of schizophrenia. New York: Pantheon Books.

© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.