September 6, 2020

Life is born only of the spark of opposites.(Jung, 1953, pp. 54, para 78)

I am struck by the impact of this image. I find it difficult to simply admire the qualities of gray, brown, and various textures. My mind instantly breathes more color and life into it. I wonder what it looked like as it was growing. I want to know more of what was and not fully accept the present state shown in the photo.

My experience of this image parallels what I am seeing/hearing on the news. The remnants of a full democratic life are more of a memory than available in the moment. The news focus is on unrest, corruption, death, and financial decline. The American dream feels faded from the reality of waking life.

There is a part of me that wants life to go back to the way it used to be. However, that is impossible because it would deny what has taken place especially in the last nine months. So, I experience the challenge of instilling hope into the moment. The values of this country need to be reconstructed and inclusive of everyone not just the powerful or wealthy. It is about seeing the moment, remembering the past, and envisioning a future of a robust democracy that protects the environmental resources.

As I review Jung’s quote, it reminds me that when I encounter the opposites, they inspire a struggle to create life. In these challenging times, I need to till the fertile soil of my imagination for hope to spark new life.

When all is said and done, the questions that confronts our soul is not what we were, how we are now but where we are going? On this issue, we have several options. The thin threat that connects hope and despair is faith. We must have faith in our own goodness and the healing grace of the Universe. Such an attitude of faith in the virtue of the Universe – the Brahman awareness aligns us with the numinosity of the archetypal matrix and counter the Faustian bargain we have made for expedience, material ascendency and power for the wicked. This Faustian bargain has come with a price tag; this price is racial inequity, environmental decay, spiritual bankruptcy, a divided humanity, terrorism, misogyny, rampant microaggression and a titanic culture that is rearranging the chairs on its deck! So, we must align with faith in our higher nature and claim access to it.

So how do we support the dynamics of hope? To support the faith in our return to grace, we need an imagination. We need to imagine a future worthy of our higher nature, our celestial origins, our place in this Universe which had been around for billions of years and will continue unto infinity long after we are gone. What is our station in this time in that flow of time? How do we imagine such a future? At this juncture of our process, we need the power of imagination to vision such an image. Imaginatio is a function of the Soul. Our mind thinks, our heart feels, our soul imagines. We must make room for such an imagination of a virtuous future worthy of our humanity and then create our unique individual image as part of the mosaic of such a future. We may write a reflection to capture this image in words, we may draw it, we may compose a piece of music to capture its energy, we may create a collage to convey it, we may sculpt a clay image to embody it, we may dance it, we may create a ritual to honor it. Often, we project it onto a leader or an individual we idealize. However, there is a danger in such a projection, since the energy of transformation stays objectified and the responsibility of change onto the object of admiration. We may admire the other, but we must take responsibility for reflection and action to implement our vision. Here Mahatma Gandhi’s words ring true, “Be the Change.”

Points to ponder

  1. What despairs you about your present predicament as an individual and a society?
  2. What is your assessment of the Faustian bargain we have made?
  3. What is the prize of our Faustian bargain?
  4. What is the price of our deal with the devil?
  5. What is your hope for a better future worthy of our higher nature?
  6. What is your image of such a future?
  7. How do you sustain faith in a future worthy of your humanity?
  8. How do you symbolize your image?
  9. Journal, draw, sculpt, sing, dance, collage your image of such a future.
  10. Do you project this image on someone you admire?
  11. What personal actions you plan to take to be part of such a future?

Photo taken in Joshua Tree National Park, CA.

Jung, C. G. (1953). Two essays on analytical psychology (Vol. 7). Princeton New Jersey Bollingen Series/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