July 11, 2020
While the contents of a personal unconscious are felt as belonging to one’s own psyche, the contents of the collective unconscious seem alien, as if they came from outside.(Jung, 1960b, p. 312)
A threshold has significance. It is a place of division and union. I am inside protected from the elements and have only a partial view of the outside. I am limited by my position in relationship to the threshold. The door reminds me of the boundary between inside/outside worlds.
The photograph itself shows a visual range of light and shadow, texture, and dimension. As a photo, the major flaw is in the floor of the archway. It is so light you cannot see the bricks. As an image, it demonstrates the importance of threshold knowledge: what are you stepping on, or what are you stepping into? It is not clear what would happen if I took a right-hand turn at the doorway.
My personal space in the photo appears easy to navigate. I am unclear about the outside/collective. I have some ideas about what is outside from its limited view. I have choice about how much of the outside I want to see in this moment by my position in relationship to the threshold. provides a reminder of a mechanism to barrier when closed.
Today’s breaking news is filled with drama of a pandemic, social injustice, and governmental turmoil. The remote control, radio, and newspaper are thresholds of outside news. How much of it do I step into? How do I balance inside and outside influence? What does my threshold of outside news do? How informed am I of my inside world? What lets me know how I am? Certain complexes arise on account of painful or distressing experiences in a person’s life experiences of an emotional nature which leave lasting psychic wounds behind them.
Another perspective on the relationship between the Personal and the Collective Psyche is that the Personal Psyche of every individual is a bubble within the ocean of the Collective Consciousness, the Brahman Awareness, the Spirit, the wisdom of the Universe. It is above us, below us, around us, outside of us and within us. Any of these dimensions are a source of deeper wisdom. As a matter of fact, every one of about thirty trillion cells in a human body has its own cellular memory of remembered wellness and its’ ancestral, archetypal memory, always on the stand-by to inform us, guide and help us navigate the troubled waters of life and assist us in staying centered in the Eye of the Storm, if we keep the portal open to its archetypal GPS; the timeless wisdom of the Depths available in the transient troubles of life.
Now remains the issue of how we keep our portals open to this “Source” of deeper, higher, inside and outside Flow of Collective consciousness that is all around us and within us. The divine within (Antar-yamin; Antar = inside, Yamin = Divine) guides us onto the path. This source is available to us when we login to it via Staying Still, Silence, Solitude, Being in the Present Moment, listening to the Whispers of our Soul via fantasy, dreams, synchronistic events, relationships, complexes, medical and psychiatric problems, via myths and fairy tales and creativity: drawing, painting, sculpting, writing etc. Meditation and Contemplative practices.
Those who have experienced the energy, bliss and wisdom at the threshold of the personal and collective consciousness are blessed with the guidance of the Wisdom of the depths, of the transcendent, the timeless flow of the Spirit that is the heritage of every sentient being. Let us claim it. Here is a description of one of these states of higher consciousness
Nothing of nonbeing comes to be,
Nor does being cease to exist;
The boundary between these two
Is seen by everyone who see reality.
Indestructible is the presence
That pervades all this;
No one can destroy
This unchanging reality.
(Miller, 2004), Bhagwad Gita, Chapter 2, para 16-17
Points to Ponder:
What regulates the influence of the outside world?
Describe the thresholds of your thoughts, feelings, behaviors, inner beliefs. How are they different? How are they similar? Which threshold has the largest opening? Which smallest?
How do I know when to approach the threshold?
How do I choose between an internal and external invitation?
Which world do I explore more internal or external?
How do I respond to the unknown—when the threshold is unclear?
Do I have the courage and the wisdom to step across the threshold?
What is my paradigm to step into the unknown?
How do I implement the guidance that I get from across the threshold?
Jung, C. G. (1960b). The structure and dynamics of the psyche. New York: Pantheon Books.
Miller, B. S. (2004). The Bhagavad-gita : Krishna’s counsel in time of war. New York: Bantam Books.
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