September 19, 2020

Under normal circumstances, every conflict stimulates the mind to activity for the purpose of creating a satisfactory solution. (Jung, 1969, pp. 489, para 780)

The image shows a moment natural engagement. The ocean crashes into the rocks, breaks into a variety of droplets, and falls back into itself. The force of that encounter is determined by the stability of the rocks and the speed of the ocean as it comes to shore. I admire the site and sound as I witness the upward splash and its reunion into the ocean pool. It is invigorating and soothing much like inspiration and exhalation of my breath.

So many things in today’s world present forceful conflict. The news is full of vigorous political, social, and medical disagreement. It is as though we are only at high tide and have forgotten that a full cycle of engagement includes simple discussion and opinion without making the other the enemy.

I believe Jung is correct in the quote above when he uses the phrase “satisfactory solution,” but lately is seems like winning is the object of discussion rather than negotiation to both sides of the topic.

Every conflict is a crisis and an opportunity. From the perspective of our consciousness, a conflict is a crisis. From the lens of our inner eye or the unconscious, it is an opportunity for a higher and more evolved resolution, consistent with the voice of our soul. However, several conditions must be met for such a soul resolution.

  1. Firstly, we must accept that our present consciousness and logical discernment has its limits in getting our hands around the conflict.
  2. This then activates what the Buddhist’s call the “Beginner’s mind” to deal with the conflict without preconceptions. As Krishnamurthy famously said, “not knowing is the path to deeper knowing.”
  3. Such a beginner’s mind is primed by humility and controls its hubris to make room for a deeper consciousness to constellate a symbol or an image to guide us towards a higher resolution of the conflict.
  4. This symbol or image may manifest spontaneously as a creative product, an image or a dream.
  5. When we use this image as a guiding symbol, it opens up new possibilities.
  6. The archetypal guide to successfully negotiate the conflict is the Trickster Hermes; it is a god of negotiation and offers a win-win outcome rather than a win-lose situation, which is always unstable till a win-win solution is established.

Points to Ponder:

  1. How do you engage conflict?
  2. How do you experience disagreement?
  3. What resources encourage you to address disagreement?
  4. If you avoid conflict is it time limited or everlasting?
  5. How do you resolve inner conflict?
  6. In this image of the waves crashing onto the rocks, do you see beauty, energy or destruction?
  7. Does this image remind you of the rhythm of nature or futility of trying to create a peaceful image?
  8. What new possibilities of new creation do you imagine as you amplify this wave crashing into the rock image? A wave energy harvest system?
  9. What other creative outcomes do you imagine following this image?

Photo taken in Hawaii.

Jung, C. G. (1969). Volume 11 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