Change of Season
Change of paradigm
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 23, 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.
The wordless occurrences which are called forth by regression to the pre-infantile period need no substitutes: they demand to be individually shaped in and by each man’s life and work. (Jung, 1956, p. 79)
A few years ago, I was at a conference in Lake Arrowhead. I arrived on Friday afternoon to a lovely spring blossom time. On Saturday afternoon, a cold front moved in and within one hour the rain changed to snow. It was a drastic shift. There is a little bit green on the tips of the bushes and on the trees mid-image. There were wet, white flakes falling and resting on the ground. I grew up in Minnesota, so my childhood through age twenty-one was filled with the experience of snow. It was comforting and reminiscent of so many memories. But the day before, I was walking around in a summer shirt. During this shot, I had a heavy jacket on.
In fact, the world I woke up to that morning was not the one I was in around noon. I was the only one outside. Everyone else was in their cabins. I was on this mountain enjoying the snow, as well as taking photos. The air was snow quiet, a kind of quiet that I have only noticed in wet snow: The air stops having sound.
The following morning was warmer, and by the afternoon all the snow was gone. The weekend felt rather dreamlike. Today, when I see the photo, I am glad to have taken a bunch of photos to document the dramatic environmental changes. It was a remarkable experience–wordless.
The pandemic is a sudden change in ecological, emotional, relational, political and spiritual weather. It is drastic and overwhelming and touches every facet of life for every human being on our planet. This crisis will pass just as quickly as it come – a new treatment, a vaccine, a random medical breakthrough will turn the tide. We may be tempted to dismiss this episode as a freak virus detour. That will be an error. The pandemic is a cry for help and change from the soul and the core of humanity and its relationship with itself, and with the earth we lease for rent. It is a symbol, calling us to pay attention to many facets of how we live, how we treat each other, how we treat other nations, how we treat the environment and how we attend to the issues that led to the genesis of this catastrophe. Unless we attend to these issues, this crisis will pale in comparison to similar biological catastrophes in the future.
As a psychiatrist, a psychotherapist, a psychoanalyst and a photographer, it is beyond the two coauthors of this humble blog to outline all the changes we must contemplate. That needs to be discussed on various platforms and contexts. But discuss it we must. Our survival depends upon it. For example, we may point out some of the issues we may need to balance going forward. These include balance our extroversion with contemplative Interiority. The other change is to balance our materialism with corresponding spirituality. There is a call for a society focused on external thrill seeking to engaging the mystery of our inner lives. These are examples. Each individual, each family, society, community, nation and international order needs to reevaluate the change the pandemic calls us to make. Our proposal is that pandemic is not the cause for these changes but rather the Necessary Change in Paradigm of our lives is the cause of the pandemic. The intensity of this call from the soul of humanity will continue to escalate until we pay attention. If we choose to ignore it, the Universe will establish to our peril that we are a small anthill in the Cosmic order and our survival means a hill of beans in the larger order of the Universe.
The Synchronistic quotes I got from my favorite scriptures to guide todays blog:
Matthew 4:4 New International Version (NIV)
4 Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.”
Arjuna, actions do not bind
A man in possession of himself,
Who renounces action through discipline
And severs doubt with Knowledge
Bhagwad Gita, Chapter 4, para 41
Some Points to Ponder:
How are you going to remember this pandemic?
What will take you back in time to remember it?
Have you done anything creative? Journaling? Photos of quiet streets?
What is the overall flavor of this time?
What memory have you made today?
Have you had experiences during the pandemic that have been wordless? Can you put words to them now? If not words, then perhaps a shape through music, movement, art, sculpture, etc.
How has the pandemic impacted your life?
What changes have you made in response to the pandemic?
What changes your family, community and nation made or needs to make in response to the pandemic?
Do some of these changes have enduring value for us as individuals, families, society and as a nation?
What are the chances that you will sustain these changes post pandemic?
Photo taken in Lake Arrowhead (in the beginning of April), California.
Jung, C. G. (1956). Two essays on analytical psychology: Meridian Books.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.