April 4, 2021
The stairway represents the passage of the soul.(Jung, 1970a, p. 404 para 578)
This image reminds me of freedom, support, and potential. The stairway is an invitation to movement and stillness. This one provides a handrail to ensure safety as I move up and down the path. It is a visual and physical guide to the different levels. At the top, there is a threshold structure that provides shelter as well as a physical reminder of the fact that I am stepping into or out of a space different than what has been experience before.
The scene constantly changes at the different elevations. I have choice as to the rate at which I walk the stairway. It is my freedom and responsibility to myself that guides the pace of my journey.
In the Christian tradition, today is Easter, a day of transformation or resurrection. How do I treat what it represents psychologically or spiritually? What steps have happened or what steps have been taken since Friday when death occurred, and a new kind of life began when an empty tomb was discovered?
Death and birth, crucifixion and resurrection, destruction and creation – that is the cycle of every event, relationship, life, culture and the universe and time. The intervening baptismal process lends its hand at the new birth. So, each one of us must bear their cross and struggle with the central question – what in my life, relationships, enterprise and worldview calls for destruction to make room for the new creation. What intervening baptismal process is in place to guide this transition. What baptismal vessel has emerged to incubate the alchemy of such a transformation.
We need to attend to this question as an individual and a society. What changes are calling me and a society, what do need to change. America is a land of contrasts. It has a history of genocide, slavery, bigotry, misogyny, patriarchy and also the pioneer spirit, land of laws and ethics, a solid constitution which is the envy of the global community, a land of immigrants from all corners of the world that bring their unique narrative, history, potentials and tragedies to bear on our collective narrative. It is the alchemic space for different races, religions, ethnicities and cultures to blend and create a unique synthesis.
While our history has shades of light and shadow; one thing is consistent about America – its capacity for self-reflection, as imperfect as it may seem. We change in fits and start, but consistent with the image, we keep moving upwards on the spiritual ladder of fairness, brotherhood/sisterhood, tolerance, compassion and forgiveness. True to the alchemic dictum, “solve at coagula”, dissolve and coagulate,(Jung, 1970b), we keep dissolving the old structures, add ingredients of self-assessment, usually the young guiding the old order, and crystallize new structures. It is an imperfect process, but the best the civilization has at the present time. We must honor the alchemic vessel of transformation – our constitution, not just by the letter but by its intent and purpose to create a shining city on the hill that can be beacon for the struggling humanity to find its path to the mountain top.
But this cultural transformation is only possible if each one of us nurtures their own individual opus. The macrocosm is a result of each microcosm doing its work. Every strong chain is only as secure as its weakest link. A lot rides on each one of us. Each one of us must bear their cross, crucify the old and make room for personal and collective resurrection. That is the way.
Points to Ponder:
- How do I see my life moving?
- How do I engage a stairway? One step at a time or is the stairway only bottom to top?
- What changes from winter to spring in me?
- In the spirit of Easter, what needs to be crucified in your present life story?
- What is your image of what must replace what you let go?
- What process do you have in place to make this discernment, letting go and build new life structures, goals and priorities?
- Do you pace the process in sync with the guidance from your soul and the universe?
- How do you sync with your inner guide and the signs from the universe?
- Do you pay attention to your dreams, relationships, synchronistic events, symptoms and creative strivings?
- How does your own change process dovetail with the cultural and global dynamic?
- Do you feel you are connected to the change process or alienated from it?
- Is this process painful, joyful, both?
Jung, C. G. (1970a). Mysterium coniunctionis : an inquiry into the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites in alchemy (2d ed. Vol. 14). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1970b). Mysterium coniunctionis: an inquiry into the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites in alchemy, Volume 14 (2d — ed. Vol. 20). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, page xiv
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