Individual and Community
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
April 13, 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.
Since, in accordance with the laws of mass psychology, even the best man loses his value and meaning in the mass, it is doubly important for him to be in secure possession of his good qualities in order not to damage the community of which he is a member. Instead of talking so much about the team-spirit it would be more to the point to appeal to the spiritual maturity and responsibility of the individual. If a man is capable of leading a responsible life himself, then he is also conscious of his duties to the community. (Jung, 1976, p. 586)
I had just spent a few hours in a rose garden taking photos of flowers, foliage, thorns, etc. when this ant caught my attention. The self-paced journey shows determination as it acrobats up, down, and around the petals. There is no help available and it seems motivated by some unseen force within. It answers its instinctual sense of duty to gather information about this flower.
There are times when I see a trail of ants that act in community between a food source and the nest. But here, perhaps it is a scout sent out to get information about the roses. This ant is on its own taking care of the business of the moment. It is an individual carrying out its instinctual responsibility.
In focusing of the forest, we loose sight of the tree. There is no forest without the trees. There is no community without a individuals. Often, we get obsessed by what the community needs and how it could function optimally, if each one of us focused on what each one of us can do for the community, we may great an authentic community.
So how does each one of us decide how we can play a viable role in Service of our community. The discernment process is a dialogue between us and the God of our understanding, second, a self-reflection and finally consult others. In my clinical and personal exploration, that would be algorithm of discernment.
I have found that when we follow this algorithm, there always is an Answer. It prescribes for us what we NEED to Do, not what we WANT to do. Then we must have the courage to follow the Path.
Some Points to Ponder:
What is your journey?
How do you connect to the source that informs it?
How do you balance self-responsibilities with obligations to others?
What are your community obligations?
How do you maintain your individuality in a crowd?
Do you struggle with how you can serve the community in the current pandemic?
How do you arrive at a conclusion as to your contribution to your community?
Photo taken in Los Angeles, CA
Jung, C. G. (1976). The symbolic life : miscellaneous writings. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.