May 31, 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.
What happens within oneself when one integrates previously unconscious contents with the consciousness is something which can scarcely be described in words. It can only be experienced. (Carl G. Jung, 1961, p. 287)
When I was a child, I learned that London Bridge was falling down in a song. A few years ago, when I visited it, I was shocked at how good it looked. In fact, I still look at it and wonder where the damage is? The tune was still living in my unconscious as a reality of disrepair and the kinds of things needed for it to be whole again. There is a gentle collision of history with the current reality. It seems like the early impression still wants to be current, when in fact, it is obviously not falling down. A message deep in my unconscious lingers, and I am unclear what to do with it as it is called back into consciousness.
Also, as a child, I watched monster movies, read science fiction, etc., where in the end humanity defeated the attackers. For the most part, problems were solved in the theatre or between the covers of a book. I did not have to spend months living through the story. I learned how repair or solution came rather quickly. So now, with the pandemic, I am thinking that unconscious messages of quick repair still reside below my awareness. Perhaps some of my impatience comes from history when I believed a hero or heroine would save the day.
We are a crisis in search of a Hero. Where are all the heroes gone? Perhaps it is time to search into the depth of our unconscious to search for the HERO WITHIN (C. G. Jung, 1956, 1959; C. G. Jung, Hull, & Jung, 1966). Each one of us has embedded in our Psyche the archetype of Hero/Heroine – Heroism. It is natural to project this onto a leader or a role model. Often, our leaders and role models have feet of clay. This is not necessarily a failing but human. It is time to claim that HEROSIM WITHIN.
It is tempting to be content with the Heroes amongst us. These are our first responders, our medical and nursing personnel, our civic workers, grocery store workers, truckers, delivery personnel, police, firefighters, the National Guards assisting in civil duties, and countless others. But let us not be content in just celebrating their Heroism – add to the that illustrious list by your lived life.
Go back into the archives of your implicit and explicit memory for chapters in the book of your life that attest to your heroism. Reclaim that energy. If you cannot find a chapter on Heroism; this is our moment to write that chapter. What is your IMAGE of this chapter on your Heroism? How does this play out in your fantasy? Now do your due discernment as to how you can implement this Heroism in the current chapter of your life. Then: JUST DO IT!
The anatomy of Heroism calls for Courage and Sacrifice. They are the two legs that Heroism stands on, spiritual purposefulness to Serve the family, community and humanity is the brain of Heroism, Love and Forgiveness is the Heart and the Soul of Heroism, Initiative and Innovation are the two hands of Heroism. What else would you add to the image of your Hero/Heroine?
Some Points to Ponder:
What influence does your history play in your response to the pandemic?
How do you cultivate patience as you learn a new normal?
When you experience conscious/unconscious integration, how do you express it? (Jung’s quote notices language is not readily available)
In the book of your life, what is the most Heroic chapter you can remember?
How do you fantasize the image that energy of the Hero/Heroine within?
What can you do to implement that image of your inner Hero/Heroine in the current pandemic in a meaningful manner?
How do love and forgiveness factor into your Heroism?
How do Courage and Sacrifice play out in your Hero/Heroine chapter?
What would be purpose of your Heroism?
What Initiative and Innovation do you imagine and plan in the debut of your Hero/Heroine in the present pandemic?
Photo taken in London, England
Jung, C. G. (1956). Symbols of transformation: an analysis of the prelude to a case of schizophrenia, Volume 5 (2 — ed. Vol. 5). Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, para259, .390, 421, 433, 460, 613
Jung, C. G. (1959). The archetypes and the collective unconscious (Vol. 9, pt. 1). London: Routledge & K. Paul, para 350,356, 418, 515, .
Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, Dreams, Reflections (R. a. C. Winston, Trans. April 1989 ed.). New York: Vintage Books.
Jung, C. G., Hull, R. F. C., & Jung, C. G. (1966). Two essays on analytical psychology, Volume 7 (2 ed. Vol. 7). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, para 28, 261/477, 283, 306, 310, 377.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.