The Aesthetic Experience
Echoes of your Soul
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 25, 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.
Since antiquity, our general attitude to art has always been empathetic, and for this reason we designate as beautiful only those things we can empathize with it. (Jung & Bollingen Foundation Collection (Library of Congress), 1976, p. 291)
There are moments when beauty focuses my mind. It grabs my attention and holds me captive to it. My eyes stare without blinking. My breath is silent. I am grounded in admiration without movement, except maybe my mouth dropping open. The world has disappeared except for the object of my attention.
The science of nature blends with individual expression in the art of a blossom. There are so many aspects to notice and admire. It is gracefully living its way; in the way it “knows”. In this time of the pandemic, I know I need beauty to fortify me. I take time everyday to notice beauty, whether outside on a walk, the images created in a poem, music or in the voice of a friend.
In this time of social distancing, I have grown to find beauty through my ears. My search for a friendly, loving voice also needs to be satisfied. I can always revisit a photograph I have taken, but there is also beauty in the art of the human voice. When I empathically hear it, it focuses my attention, and holds me captive to it. The voice images of friends are seen in my heart. I am delighted my ears let me “see” my friends.
On this Memorial Day, it might be helpful to remember the voices of those who have nurtured your life. They have helped you blossom into the person you are.
The aesthetic, the beauty, the grace you may perceive in others, in art, in poetry, in nature in friends is objective; i.e. it truly reflects their grace but it is also subjective: it is an echo of your Soul’s grace and beauty. Nothing objective may touch us until it also has a subjective synchronicity. So, when you perceive that grace, joy, bliss – Ananda in Sanskrit, remember, that it is also mirroring your Soul. Now you Soul is in continuum with the Sprit – Brahman – the absolute. When you perceive this Ananda – the Bliss and Joy in Nature, flower or a loved one, you are experiencing the grace of your own soul and the yoking with the Brahman or absolute consciousness. It is literally a COSMIC Moment!
Tat tvam asi, (Sanskrit: “thou art that”) in Hinduism, the famous expression of the relationship between the individual and the Absolute. The statement is frequently repeated in the sixth chapter of the Chandogya Upanishad (c. 600 BCE) as the teacher Uddalaka Aruni instructs his son in the nature of brahman, the supreme reality.
This article was most recently revised and updated by Matt Stefon, Assistant Editor.
In times of trauma and crisis, we need this connection with the Source. It nurtures and replenishes us. Here is another rendering of this Collective Consciousness
Matthew 5:48 New International Version (NIV)
48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
Some Points to Ponder:
How can you safely take a holiday from the pandemic?
What beauty can you find today?
How do you empathically connect with others?
What helps you build resilience?
Whose voice gives your comfort?
What gives us a subjective sense of joy and bliss?
What is blissful about this experience?
How do you relate this to your sense of Self?
Photo taken in Victoria, Canada.
Jung, C. G., & Bollingen Foundation Collection (Library of Congress). (1976). Psychological types (A revision / ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.