Connect with your Roots

The Tree and her Roots

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

ISSN 1939-3407

May 19, 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.

Plurimi pertransibut–but he who is rooted in the soil endures. Alienation from the unconscious and from its historical conditions spells rootlessness.(Jung, 1964, p. 49)


Erosion reveals roots that transform grounded nutrition. They are exposed in a way that gives a better understanding of what it takes to keep a tree alive and vibrant. I seldom get that view of entangled feeding messengers. They are hardened and dark, no longer tender or pale, as I expect them to be while buried in the soil.

The tree is still standing and looks healthy (although you cannot see it in the photograph). I do not know how long it has lived this way or how it might look different had the erosion taken place. I only the present tree with its life in the present.

In the pandemic, some of the foundations of social freedom, health, and economy are threatened and some have eroded. I can not just walk outside and be with other people. I must wear a mask to prevent droplet contamination. Social distance is to be maintained. A lot of businesses are closed. The news reports numbers of sick and dead from the virus. I must find ways to ensure I still have and get what I need to survive and flourish. I must strengthen the things that ground me even more.

The grounding of our consciousness is rooted in the personal and the collective unconscious. We survive and flourish through the thick and thin of life via the nourishment we get from our soil of the unconscious. It is drawing from the wisdom of our personal life experiences as well as from the collective memory archives of our ancestors and our civilization. Jungian Analytical Psychology calls this our Archetypal memory stored in the Limbic DNA of our Triune Brain. (Bedi, 2013) Some Jungian researchers estimate that we have access to at least 2 million years old ancestral memory data base(Stevens, 1993). Hindus believe that we have the encoded cellular memory in every one of our thirty million cells since the beginning of time. This is elaborated in its wisdom literature including the Hindu creation mythology of Sankhya Sutra (Kapila, Vijñānabhikṣu, & Garbe, 1889; Sovanī, Īśvarakr̥ṣṇa, & Kapila, 1935)and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (Finger, 2018; Patañjali & Hartranft, 2003; Radhakrishnan & Moore, 1957; Satchidanada, 1978) ,Carl Jung called this substate of our Collective Memory the “Unus Mundus”.

While there are specific spiritual and analytical methods to access this Archetypal memory under the guidance of a trained master, guru or an analyst, most of us can get a preliminary scan and guidance from these sources with some deliberation and practice. I have outlined some of these methods in some of my publications.

Here are some personal resources available to a serious seeker. These include your

  • Medical & Psychiatric symptoms
  • Complexes
  • Relationship tangles
  • Dreams and Day Dreams (Bosnak, 1998; Jung, 1974, 2010; Mattoon, 1978; Whitmont, 1992)
  • Fantasy and Imagination
  • Reading of Scriptures

At a collective level, we can access the Unus Mundus via

  • Art
  • Literature
  • Myths of a culture (Campbell, 1993; Campbell, Brown, & Cousineau, 1991; Campbell, Moyers, & Flowers, 1989)
  • Fairy-tales (von Franz, 1990)
  • Movies
  • Poetry
  • Classic literature, e.g. Goethe’s Faust (Goethe von, 1998)

We may connect with our unconscious via

  • Journaling
  • Silence
  • Solitude
  • Prayer
  • Contemplative practice
  • Yoga
  • Pranayama
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • Centering Prayer
  • Active Imagination
  • Mandala drawing
  • Dreams

In the pandemic, we could do better by replenishing our connection with our unconscious roots as a source of support, nourishment and guidance.

Synchronistically, two of my patients presented their connection with their unconscious roots: via a dream and another patient via her art drawing trees! One of her trees is from today’s session and another image of roots she drew in 1992!

Here is the dream of the first patient presented here with her kind permission –

I am at school. I am stressed about my relationship with my mother who is emotionally distant. Then my friends comfort me. (She associated this with feeling distant from her support system esp. her family during the pandemic, but feels supported by the memories of her supportive friends in her high school days).

And here are the two images of trees, roots and her connection with her soul roots via her art, as she deals with her sense of isolation (living alone) during the pandemic. They are presented here with her permission.

This tree Mandala is from this week-

This is her previous Tree Mandala from 1992; the center depicts the stem of the root and also the inner eye – looking into your soul.

Some Points to Ponder:

  1. What in your foundation has eroded during the pandemic?
  2. How have you compensated? Or if not, how will you?
  3. What needs tending to prevent further exposure/erosion?
  4. How has your unconscious helped you?
  5. Have you made an attempt to connect with your unconscious roots?
  6. What methods have you engaged to make a vibrant, active connection with the Source?

Bedi, A. (2013). Crossing the healing zone : from illness to wellness. Lake Worth, FL

Newburyport, MA: Ibis Press, a division of Nicolas-Hays, Inc.,Lake Worth

Distributed to the trade by Red Wheel/Weiser.

Bosnak, R. (1998). A Little Course in Dreams (Later Printing edition ed.). USA: Shambhala;.

Campbell, J. (1993). The hero with a thousand faces. London: Fontana.

Campbell, J., Brown, S. L., & Cousineau, P. (1991). The hero’s journey : the world of Joseph Campbell : Joseph Campbell on his life and work. San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco.

Campbell, J., Moyers, B. D., & Flowers, B. S. (1989). The power of myth. New York ; London: Doubleday.

Finger, A. N., Wendy. (2018). Tantra of the Yoga Sutra – Essential Wisdom for Living with Awareness and Grace. Boulder, Colorado, USA: Shambala Boulder.

Goethe von, J. W. (1998). Faust: A Tragedy (Norton Critical Editions) (Second Edition ed.). New York, London.: W. W. Norton & Company.

Jung, C. G. (1964). Civilization in transition. New York: Pantheon Books.

Jung, C. G. (1974). Dreams (Published by MJF Books, N.Y. ed.). USA: Princeton University Press.

Jung, C. G. (2010). Children’s Dreams: Notes from the Seminar Given in 1936-1940 (Jung Seminars). USA: Princeton University Press (September 12, 2010).

Kapila, Vijñānabhikṣu, & Garbe, R. (1889). Sâṃkhya-pravacana-bhâshya, Vijñânabhikshu’s commentar zu den Sâmkhyasûtras. Leipzig: In Commission bei F. A. Brockhaus.

Mattoon, M. A. (1978). Understanding Dreams (Spring Editions 1984 ed.). Woodstock, Connecticut: Spring Publications.

Patañjali, & Hartranft, C. (2003). The Yoga-Sūtra of Patañjali : a new translation with commentary. Boston, Mass.: Shambhala Publications.

Radhakrishnan, S., & Moore, C. A. (1957). A source book in Indian philosophy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Satchidanada, S. S. (1978). The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.

Sovanī, V. V., Īśvarakr̥ṣṇa, & Kapila. (1935). A critical study of the Sāṅkhya system on the line of the Sāṅkhya-kārikā, Sāṅkhya-sūtra, and their commentaries : being the research paper submitted to the University of Allahabad with the addition of an English and Sanskrit introduction and the texts of the Sāṅkhya-kārikā, and the Sāṅkhya sūtra. Poona: Oriental Book Agency.

Stevens, A. (1993). The two million-year-old self. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.

von Franz, M.-L. (1990). Individuation in fairy tales (Rev ed.). Boston ; London: Shambhala.

Whitmont, E. C. P. S. B. (1992). Dreams, A Portal to the Source (1 ed.). London and New York: Routledge;.

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

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