February 20, 2021

At present the only thing we know about the contents of the unconscious, apart from the fact that they are subliminal, is that they stand in a compensatory relationship to consciousness and are therefore essentially relative. It is for this reason that knowledge of the conscious situation is necessary if we want to understand dreams. (Jung, 1960b, p. 260 para 498)

The focus of the image is the remnant structure of a tree. I can spend time exploring its textures, shapes, and colors. It seems both haunting and beautiful. The life is had above ground is missing. The life underground, if any, is unknown for it is still attached to the base of life to its left.

I can treat this photo as a dream image. In my conscious life, I was captivated by the image—much like the memory of a dream that my ego can hold. I took this photo for conscious reasons, as well as unconscious reasons yet to be explored.

The challenge of such an image is its context. What happened to it and what purpose does it serve to my imagination and creative self? What story of its life do I imagine and how does that story relate to the story of my life? What feelings emerge in its remains and what feelings are felt for what was lost?

Jung’s writings give explorative permission to my imagination, rather than a solution-oriented method which leads to a conclusion. His work promotes a living dialogue between conscious and unconscious. I am not “stumped” but rather encouraged to engage the image. I inform it with a story, and it informs me to what subtle aspects of my life I can pay attention.

We are stumped by the pandemic, the political chaos, the racial injustice, and the identity crisis of the Western civilization. It has been reduced to a mere stump of its past glory and its inherent potential. It calls for exploration and transformation. But to explore this teleological potential of our stumped state, we need the courage and the integrity to explore how we got here. What does our present circumstance and our ancestral history inform us? What was the dynamic of the fall of the Pharaohs, the Greeks, the Roman, the British empires teach us? What is the common denominator as to why these magnificent empires got stumped? What were the seeds of their discontent and dissolution?

The same inquiry is relevant for each one of us. I have yet to meet an individual who has not been stumped in some sector of their life. It may be in sectors of love, work, play, creativity or spirituality. Each one of us has our Achilles heal. Classical myths attribute Achilles’ invulnerability to his mother Thetis having treated him with ambrosia and burned away his mortality in the hearth fire except on the heel, by which she held him.

What is our personal and collective Achilles heel? Each one of us must do their own discernment on this issue. As to the fall of empires, it will be up to the historians to de code the mystery, whether it was hubris, or imperialism etc. However, when it comes to individual narrative, the material is accessible to each one of us to explore the Achilles heal of our consciousness. This material is in our unconscious, and we may be the beneficiary of the treasures of the gifts of our psyche when we explore it, honor it and implement its guidance.

We find treasure map in our Prima Materia: the issue that is most bothersome, cumbersome and tangles or broken in our life. That is the opening to the treasures of our unconscious – or rather my preferred term; Superconscious. The unconscious is only hidden because our myopic vision. When we amplify our unmanifest psyche via personal analysis, attention to dreams, synchronistic events, relationship tangles, complexes, the symbolic dimension of our medical, psychiatric and addiction problems, things that stump us, we get the bounty of the treasures of our depths.

The Eastern tradition proactively honors the Superconscious by its contemplative traditions like Yoga, Meditation and Mindfulness(Eknath & Nagler, 1988; Radhakrishnan, 2019){Eknath, 1988 #3431;Radhakrishnan, 2019 #3502}. Its goal is to engage the Superconscious, the Quantum consciousness, the Pleroma, the flow of the universe, the Brahman awareness via these practices. (Finger, 2018; Satchidanada, 1978; Vivekananda & Patañjali, 1896)

What stumps us is the key to our higher adaptation.

Psalm 34:18

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.


Points to Ponder:

  1. What are your first impressions of the image?
  2. What story would you tell about its existence?
  3. How does the content of your life relate, or not, to it?
  4. What feelings emerge with the images’ limited view?
  5. What confounds and confuses you?
  6. What issue in your life stumps you?
  7. Where is your brokenness?
  8. What is the Achilles heel of your personality?
  9. How do you engage your psyche to explore the mystery of your Achilles heel?
  10. What new soul prescriptions have your received to deal with the life challenges that stump you?

Eknath, E., & Nagler, M. N. (1988). The Upanishads. London: Arkana.

Finger, A. N., Wendy. (2018). Tantra of the Yoga Sutra – Essential Wisdom for Living with Awareness and Grace. Boulder, Colorado, USA: Shambala Boulder.

Jung, C. G. (1960b). The structure and dynamics of the psyche (Vol. 8). New York: Pantheon Books.

Radhakrishnan, S.-E. (2019). The Principal Upanishads (S. Radhakrishnan Ed. 32nd impression – 2019 ed.). India: Indus / Harper Collins India; New edition (January 1, 1994).

Satchidanada, S. S. (1978). The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.

Vivekananda, & Patañjali. (1896). Yoga philosophy : lectures delivered in New York, winter of 1895-6 by the Swâmi Vivekânanda on râja yoga, or conquering the internal nature : also Patanjali’s yoga aphorisms, with commentaries. London: Longmans, Green, and Co.

Ashok Bedi, M.D., Jungian Psychoanalyst,

www.pathtothesoul.com ,


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

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