Ancestral Wisdom guiding us NOW

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

March 30, 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.

Our souls as well as our bodies are composed of individual elements which were all already present in the ranks of our ancestors. The “newness” in the individual psyche is an endlessly varied recombination of age-old components. Body and soul therefore have an intensely historical character and find no proper place in what is new, in things that have just come into being.

(Carl G. Jung, 1961, p. 235)

I am struck by the difference as well as the similarity of the young Flamingo amongst its elders. I recognize its youth easily. The youngster can look around and see what it can become, and how it might look if it follows the patterns of the ancestral flock. Of course, all of that is external and visual.

The therapist in me wonders how it feels and what is the soul’s trajectory. How does it maneuver in and around the flock?

While staying at home for Covid-19 prevention, there is time for self-reflection and examination of my soulful journey. What does the world see when it looks at me (from 6 feet away)? What do I feel within? How do I keep my aliveness vibrant?

Our current response to the Global COVAD-19 pandemic comes from the archetype of the Hero. That is our first reaction to the crisis – Do Something; anything! There is energy in Doing, in action, in reacting, in bringing in the Stress Management Warrior response to the crisis. The Western response to the virus pandemic is action, innovation, mobilization, management and attempts at mastery over the virus. However, we are fast learning that while these are wonderful first response – Fight, it has its limits. We need to do something different as well.

Here our ancestral wisdom and timeless repertoire of our cumulative archetypal memory comes online to help us. We need something in addition to the Hero response. While the Hero archetype is valid to put out the fire of this crisis, it does not plug the gas leaks that keep feeding the fire of virus outbreaks. To plug that gas leak, we need a different archetypal software program: we need the program of the Anchorite, the wise man and the wise woman in the forest. Other than in the hot spots of virus outbreaks, we need to stand still, stay put, go into retreat into the forest our homes to Social Distance and Self-Reflection. The extroverted, action oriented, centrifugal hero archetype-based software of our culture needs to be supplemented by the introverted, reflective, centrifugal program of the Anchorite: the forest dweller wise person. This Anchorite Spirit of the Depth needs to be deeper current underneath the Hero Spirit of the present time.

Points to Ponder

How do you fit in or stand out in this crisis?

What part of your historical character can you leave behind as the quote from Jung suggests?

What new adaptation would be helpful?

Are you responding from the program of a Hero?

How does your Hero manifest?

Do you access to the quieter, reflective, introverted parts of you?

Are you able to activate that quiet, stay put, stay centered parts of you?

How does this centered, wise person part of you manifest in the present crisis?

How do you blend the Hero and the Wise person in your response?

Photo taken in San Diego, California

Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, Dreams, Reflections (R. a. C. Winston, Trans. April 1989 ed.). New York: Vintage Books.

Jung, C. G., & Shamdasani, S. (2009). The red book = Liber novus (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co.