June 22nd, 2020

As a rule, the life of a young person is characterized by a general expansion and a striving towards concrete ends; and his neurosis seems mainly to rest on his hesitation or shrinking back from this necessity. But the life of an older person is characterized by a contraction of forces, by the affirmation of what has been achieved, and by the curtailment of further growth. His neurosis comes mainly from his clinging to a youthful attitude which is now out of season. Just as the young neurotic is afraid of life, so the older one shrinks back from death. (Jung, 1954, p. 39)

The image shows vegetation in various stages of life. The desert is an environment of extremes. You can see young plants beginning and the old drying up. It is a reminder of desert life. Environmentalists say let nature do its thing. A desert landscaper would want the dead plant removed. The action will be determined by the rules of the land.

The pandemic and justice protests provide opportunities for the competing agendas (Jung wrote in the above quote) to join forces to make life better in the moment as well as the future. There are old ideas and structures that require revision or repair. Some may even need to be removed to give space for new ideas or structures.

The protestors are of all ages that want the United States to address social justice in policing matters, health care, employment, etc. It is a unifying activity that demands the ideals of the constitution be brought forward for all. The dynamics of recent events have caused a lot of people to move out of their usual coroners of life and into the ring of change. Perhaps we are seeing how “a cause” motivates action from all no matter what stage of life.

While this change of guard is in the air, it is only possible if each one of us involved in the drama of current events makes an individual transition. The Old guard representatives must honor the great achievements of our civilization but step away from the driver’s seat to make room for the younger generations to step in. There is a role transition in our generations. It is apparent in the leadership matrix of the world that the older generation is reluctant to let go of power and make room for youthful new leadership to emerge. The Older leadership is afraid to death of their power, the younger leadership is fearful to experiment with bold new ideas,

Presently, we are in an Alchemic vessel of transformation. There is Massa Confusa in the vessel. There are many ingredients in this vessel of change and transformation. There are many generations, the Baby Boomers, the Generations X, Y. Z etc. There are many ingredients in it including the Pandemic, the Protests, the chronic issues of Racism, Terrorism, Immigration, Globalization, Poverty, Environment, Refugees, Health Care etc. The Pandemic and the Protests add lot of heat to the vessel quickening the Alchemy of Change.

In the ancient art of Alchemy, which is a symbolic process of transforming lead into gold – an allegory of making Soul out of Shadow. It is not about Gold Making but Soul Making. In the alchemic method, there is the vessel, the ingredients, the Alchemist, the heat and most importantly at Dove or Spirit presiding over the process. We must trust that if we are on the right side of history, ethics and destiny, we will get the tail winds of the Universe to support and guide us. But these changes will call for the Sacrifice, the death of the old attitudes and the creation of new consciousness that will respond to the perils and the promise of our time.


Some Points to Ponder:

  1. How have the pandemic and protests influenced your emotional environment?
  2. What old rules do you align with and which need to be changed within you?
  3. What parts of you are in conflict?
  4. How does inner conflict get resolved or do you shrink back without change?
  5. What beliefs need update?
  6. Are you at a life stage where you need to relinquish control and make room for the new leadership in your matrix?
  7. Are you at a life state where you feel the tug of stepping up to the plate?
  8. Are you prepared to step up to the plate?
  9. Do you feel tailwinds from the Universe as you let go or step up?

Photo taken in Palm Desert, California.

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., 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.

ISSN 1939-3407

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