October 17, 2020
The center is the goal, and everything is directed toward that center. Through this dream I understood that the self is the principle and archetype of orientation and meaning. Therein lies its healing function. (Jung, 1961, pp. 198-199)
The pandemic continues to spread. The number of cases and deaths increase every day here in the United States. Sadness and grief can be overwhelming at times. Sadness stems from the fact that some of the numbers would be reduced if more people followed CDC guidelines. Grief comes from the loss of connection to normal life and the changed families/friends of lives that ended.
One morning as I wiped away the tears, I noticed how casually I used the tissues and discarded them. I treated them as an inconvenience or annoyance. I stopped to notice the subtleties of what I was doing. I remembered stories I heard as a young adult about how upon the pharaoh’s death, criers were hired to fill little glass vials with tears and buried with them. The practice was done so the gods on the other side would know how much the pharaoh was missed. The morning of that image, I changed discarding my tears (my connection to humanity) as if they had no value.
Each time I become aware of sadness and/or grief I acknowledge my humanity with gratitude. I look towards my center that gives meaning to my values of human life. I add perspective to my experience and look to what I can do to make the situation better: I cherish my tears; I practice CDC guidelines and encourage others to do the same; I protect myself and others from becoming another statistic of this pandemic. I will vote safely and ensure my vote is counted by good turn in practice. I want my voice to be added to the count in this country. I encourage everyone to vote.
Tears are the elixir of the soul and a gift of the spirit. Tears baptize us to birth new consciousness. Tears are about letting go but also beckon us to new beginnings. Tears symbolize sadness, grief and at times serious depression. When we are depressed, what is depressed? It is our ego that is depressed. Our old attitudes and behaviors become redundant and sink into the unconscious. There, our ego meets up with our soul, our true center. Here, it is in-formed by the wisdom of the depths under the guidance of the soul. Our temporal consciousness is reformatted by the timeless flow of collective consciousness which is the matrix of cumulative human experience over the eons. This is our archetypal memory, the best and the cautionary guidance of at least two million years of play book of our ancestors (Stevens, 1993). Tears are our highway to this source of wisdom and guidance. Depression thus properly understood and honored in the alchemic vessel of psychotherapy is a baptismal initiation into new attitude.
The tears of the pandemic and civil pretests for racial justice, rights of women, refugees and other marginalized sectors of our society are a call to descent into our souls, be in-formed by the timeless spirit, so that we as individuals and our society in general may reexamine our values, our priorities, our ethical responsibilities to each other and the global community and emerge worthy of being called human. It is not the color of our skin, our gender, our nationality, our wealth, our transient privileges that define us but our compassion, our fairness and awareness of the spirit of the depth.
Greece, Rome, Britain, and countless other empires have come and gone, fortunes of peoples and races rise and fall, many great religions are now extinct, but something deeper moves us and unites us. That deeper current is our humanity. If we do not reclaim it, we will be extinct like the dinosaurs and the other great ones who have perished on this fragile planet. Perhaps that is of little consequence in a cosmic context, but it is up to us to save our little anthill of humanity for a little bit longer. It is not the material mastery but spiritual ascendency that is the path out of this abyss. The answer to our present predicament is not looking out but looking within as to what each one of us can do in our personal attitude, choices, and conduct to be part of the solution rather than be the problem to resolve the grave challenges that confront all of us.
Points to Ponder:
- What feelings arise regarding the pandemic?
- Are those feelings expressed? How so?
- What meaning do you give to the current situation?
- How do you add perspective to circumstances you are in?
- What to you do to find your center?
- Do you dismiss your fear, sadness, grief, and depression or honor it and try it decode its message?
- How do you incubate your sadness and depression?
- What must you let go because of your sadness and depression?
- What prescriptions you have from your inner work to make new beginnings?
- How do you plan to implement your soul guidance?
Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, Dreams, Reflections (R. a. C. Winston, Trans. April 1989 ed.). New York: Vintage Books.
Stevens, A. (1993). The two million-year-old self. College Station: Texas A&M University Press.
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