Jacob’s Ladder

Opportunity to Higher Consciousness

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

ISSN 1939-3407

June 8th,

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.

Psychic life is a development that can easily be arrested on the lowest levels. It is as though every individual had a specific gravity, in accordance with which he either rises, or sinks down, to the level where he reaches his limit. His views and convictions will be determined accordingly. (Jung, Read, Fordham, & Adler, 1953, p. 201)

I notice two things about these monkeys. The first is how they seem to be lost in their own thoughts while they have a relationship (in the photo) that seems to relax into each other. The second thing I notice is they do not seem to be engaged with the external world. Perhaps all their attention is consumed internally.

During this time of the pandemic and protests, there are some who are only engaged in how those events interfere or upset their life. The concern is a personal subjective experience without giving much credence to issues outside of their own life. The inconvenience of not being able to have the life they are familiar with is prominent.

Then there are those who have been activated by the issues of the world and participate in the external. Although social distancing is a challenge, most people participating in the protests wear mask. The desire to make a better life in the United States leads them to the streets, writing letters to elected officials, or other means of contributing to the causes.

I do agree with Jung’s thoughts above the image, and I believe its important to entertain the idea that some have not been “arrested on the lowest levels” but have been either unaware or asleep until now. (Perhaps like the monkeys, consumed with their own concerns.) The facts of the pandemic cases and the sheer numbers of protestors leave little room for minimalization or denial of either of them. The two dominant issues call for all to look up, to see the world as it is happening now. They ask each of us to move out of a resting comfort zone and pay attention to this opportunity to make life better for everyone.

In the Vedanta scriptures of Hinduism, it is proposed that the Universe is an orderly system. It is organized like a Pyramid with increasing levels of complexity and purpose. There is an analogous relationship between Universe and Human Psyche. The five manifestations of Prakriti or Material Universe are – Mineral, Vegetable, Animal, Human and Divine. The human nature is also organized at these five levels of complexity.

In Vedanta, this classification is based mainly on the degree of Selfishness.(Vedanta treatise : The eternities, 2015)

The Mineral persons are most self-centered. They are not conscious of other’s existence They are Stone like – gross and lethargic. They fail to react to the world and remain in the realm of sense gratification. They satisfy their personal needs even at the cost of their family, community or country.

The Vegetable persons are a little less selfish. They are focused on themselves and their immediate family, spouse and children.

The Animal persons are selfish: they self-interest includes their family, their class and clan. They turn bitter to these beyond their “Group”. They cause pleasure their IN Group and pain to the rest.

The Human persons are far less selfish. Some identify themselves with their nationals, others with all humanity. They act for pleasure of their chosen group and pain to other groups. So, the Nation oriented humans would cause pain to other nations.

The God persons are Self-realized and focused on the Transcendent. These individuals live by the dictums of the divine – the God of their understanding. They would include individuals like Mahatma Gandhi, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Nelson Mandela, Rev. Paul Robert Schneider who was murdered by the Nazis and Oskar Schindler.

In the current Pandemic and Global Protests to foster Racial justice, each one of us will respond true to our nature. However, it is also an opportunity to move up the ladder to a higher level of consciousness. Each one of us may have to choose whether you stay stuck into nature or respond to this call of the Universe to move up the Karmic Pyramid. Life is like the Jacob’s ladder to Heaven: each one of us must choose how high you wish to climb onto the path to the Transcendent.

Genesis 28:10-17 New International Version (NIV)

Jacob’s Dream at Bethel

10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran. 11 When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set. Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep. 12 He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. 13 There above it[a] stood the Lord, and he said: “I am the Lord, the God of your father Abraham and the God of Isaac. I will give you and your descendants the land on which you are lying. 14 Your descendants will be like the dust of the earth, and you will spread out to the west and to the east, to the north and to the south. All peoples on earth will be blessed through you and your offspring.[b] 15 I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go, and I will bring you back to this land. I will not leave you until I have done what I have promised you.”

16 When Jacob awoke from his sleep, he thought, “Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it.” 17 He was afraid and said, “How awesome is this place! This is none other than the house of God; this is the gate of heaven.”

Points to Ponder

  1. In your self-assessment, do you consider yourself a Mineral person, a Vegetable person, an Animal person, a Human person or God aligned person?
  2. Does your enterprise focus on which of the following-?
  3. Self-interest?
  4. Self and Family-interest?
  5. Self, Family and Clan interest?
  6. Self, Family, Clan and National interest?
  7. Self, Family, National and Global interest?
  8. Focused on God’s will for you?
  9. Are you willing to climb the Jacob’s ladder to higher consciousness or are you comfortable where you are on this ladder?
  10. If you choose to climb the Jacob’s ladder to the Transcendent: what change of attitude and action are you planning?

Photo taken Lal Bagh Botanical Gardens, Karnataka, India

Jung, C. G., Read, H., Fordham, M., & Adler, G. (1953). The Development of Personality. New York: Princeton University Press.

Vedanta treatise : The eternities. (2015). (17th ed.). London: Vedanta Institute, pages 35-39

Genesis 28:10-17 New International Version (NIV)

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