November 13, 2020
Heaven and earth belong together, yang and yin give birth to one another and devour one another in a way that accords with the heavenly order of things. (Jung, 1964, p. 498 para 939)
There are invisible forces working the droplet of water: molecular attraction (H2O), gravity, and evaporation. Some water molecules hold together, the force of gravity pulls them down under the branch, while other molecules evaporate. The bead reflects the earth below the branch as well as the light from above. It contains both earth and sky, yet it is neither. It is only H2O and shows me a world much more than it is. It is also a world more than I can see.
This past week, after this election, has been a yang and yin of politics. There are results favorable to some and unfavorable to others. There are forces at work that are apparent and others that are invisible to us.
Just like the droplet there are things weighing me down and holding me up. I reflect the world and am so much more than the eye can see. I pay attention to my attention in these chaotic times. I, like the camera, need to focus and hold the images I want to keep and/or grow into.
The droplet has several options; it may succumb to the forces of gravity and be absorbed in the soil, it may evaporate and become a cloud in the sky, or it may be absorbed by the plant to nurture it. These possibilities are held in the nature of the water as it holds the image of sublimation to the skies, annihilation into the earth or nurture its host. Until one of these teleological trajectories are established, the droplet holds the image of its universe in its being as a reflective surface. Each one of us is such a droplet, a fractal of our universe. Each one of us is a drop of the ocean and each one of us carries the ocean in our drop. What each drop does defines the ocean.The possibilities to rise to our star nature, to regress back to our dirt origins are a choice each one of us must make.
The key to our choice is our water nature. Water is symbolic of our feeling function. It’s the quintessence of our personality. When all is said and done, what defines us is not what we think, what data we rely on for facts, what our gut feeling is but rather how we feel in our heart to be the right choice. Perhaps the heart is where the soul lives in human condition, not in facts or fiction, politics de jour or privilege of race, class, education, gender, or power. Our feelings are what defines us sentient beings, able to rise above temporal considerations to timeless principles embodied in our scriptures like Vedas, Hebrew scriptures, Bible, Quran and hard wired in the Limbic DNA of every one of the seven billion earthlings. This is our archetypal endowment that guides us onto the Path. Regrettably, few deploy this GPS via their reflective instinct but rather succumb to the Reptilian action instinct. The action instinct is rooted in our Reptilian origins concerned with mere survival. The reflective instinct is based on our Neocortical nervous system which hosts the dynamics of will power and choice. When action is guided by reflection, its leads to creation of new possibilities under the numinous direction of our Limbic archetypal consciousness – our two million years old data(Stevens, 2005) base of ancestral wisdom in each one of us.
In the current global crisis of the pandemic, racial justice, political turmoil, climate crisis, totalitarian regimes, and terrorism, each one of us must make a choice. Will we focus on our narrowest interests of reptilian survival or reflect our options guided by the timeless archetypal wisdom and subscribe to our higher angels? The choices we make may not be easy, may call for sacrifice, may have to forego expedience for altruism, but this is the crossroad for each one of us. The survival or our planet and our civilization depend upon it. Otherwise, we may have to return to our stone age psyche and restart the karmic cycle.
Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.'”
Matthew 4:4- https://biblehub.com/matthew/4-4.htm
This invites us to invoke the sacred in dealing with the challenges that face us. Do we respond with the raw masculine yang response? Do we factor in the yin feeling function? Is our action informed by our deeper sense of feelings and values or the narrowest considerations of survival in a dog eat dog culture? Until we make a choice, each one of us holds the fate of our fragile civilization in our soul. It is a tremendous burden and a unique privilege.
Points to Ponder:
- What holds me up?
- How am I reflecting the world?
- How does my view of the world serve me?
- What keeps me in balance of yang and yin?
- Are you focused on personal survival alone or consider greater good?
- Do you act reflexively or ponder reflectively before making a choice of the course of action?
- Do you consider the broader and community impact of your choices?
- Are you rearranging the chairs on the deck of the Titanic or looking to avoid the hidden icebergs?
- What deeper values guide your choices?
- Are you prepared to make sacrifices to support your highest values?
- What has been your reflection process? What considerations factor into your deliberation about your choices in the current crisis?
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, pages 77-80
Jung, C. G. (1964). Civilization in transition (Vol. 10). New York: Pantheon Books.
Stevens, A. (2005). The Two-Million-Year-Old Self, (Carolyn and Ernest Fay Series in Analytical Psychology). Texas A&M: University Press.
Matthew 4:4- https://biblehub.com/matthew/4-4.htm
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