The Buoy in a turbulent Ocean

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

March 27, 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 and 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.

Only after I had familiarized myself with alchemy did I realize that the unconscious is a process, and that the psyche is transformed or developed by the relationship of the ego to the contents of the unconscious. In individual cases that transformation can be read from dreams and fantasies. (Carl G. Jung, 1961, p. 209)

The buoy is anchored in the ocean floor yet how it is held is not seen. It looks as though its is floating yet it remains stationery and reliable as a marker. It appears inanimate yet there are different kinds of life on it. One could say, “It’s just a buoy,” as well as, “It’s in process.” It is in relationship to life in the sky, weather, salt water, and life from the salt water. It is always transforming.

My relationship to the images in the photo change as I identify with or disconnect with each of them. This still photo is alive with conscious and unconscious associations. I am the host to the process of my unconscious, as well as the collective unconscious. Sometimes when I look at it, I think the water is moving. My perception in the moment is influenced by my experience of it at sea where the water is never still

Our personal life is suspended in the ocean of the local and the global community. Our individual consciousness is the buoy in the turbulent currents of life, personal and collective traumas. It is at times of such flux that we retreat to our buoy for comfort, anchor and bearings. Some of us have been tempered by traumatic life experiences, for others it may be new experience of such magnitude. For either situation, it is an opportunity to retool our buoy consciousness. As the wise ones say, do not let a good crisis go to waste. If it does not kill you, it will make you stronger.

The present COVAD-19 global pandemic is an opportunity for each one of to claim an alchemic transformation to a higher threshold of adaptation and master of life’s challenges, crisis and trauma. It moves us to highest Ego structures: Anticipation, Altruism, Suppression (of fear, not denial), Humor, Sublimation, Self-reflection and activating a symbolic and spiritual dimension of life leading to our Spiritual Purpose – our Dharma. It is a time to pay attention to our dreams and fantasies, our relationships and adversaries, our complexes and symptoms (medical and psychiatric), accidents and synchronicities, our art and creative process, leaning into our favorite movie, book, poetry, art work, making our own art or sculpture, draw a sacred circle – a Mandala or Kolum (a mandala at the entrance of your home). These are the whispers of your Soul and the GPS of the Spirit leading the path from trauma to TRANSFORMATION. Even our trauma is a gift of the Universe to invite us to a higher level of consciousness. This was elegantly discussed by Carl Jung in his essay on the suffering of Job. When we undertake this inner work, not only do we transform ourselves but also the Universe itself to its higher threshold.

Some points to ponder

How does the image affect you?

What aspects of it catch your eye first?

What is your relationship to your unconscious process-perhaps through dreams and fantasies?

Where do you find a place to rest?

What anchors you?

What keeps you afloat?

How hospitable are you?

In this time of social distancing, how do you remain connected?

Do you pay attention to your dreams, fantasies, images and day-dreams?

Do you reflect on your relationships as a gauge of your buoy?

Do you discern on the symbolic meaning of the accidents and synchronic events, your medical and psychiatric symptoms as a whisper of your soul?

Do you lean into art, literature, movies, poetry, music, a favorite novel, myth or fairy tale that intrigues you?

Do you create your own art: a painting, drawing, sculpting, a mandala or making music?

Do you journal, pray, play and meditate?

How do you contribute to the welfare of your family and community?

Photo taken in Alaska

Jung, C. G. (1958). Psychology and religion: West and East, Volume 11 (Vol. 11). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.

Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, Dreams, Reflections (R. a. C. Winston, Trans. April 1989 ed.). New York: Vintage Books.

Nietzsche, F. W., & Parkes, G. (2005). Thus spoke Zarathustra : a book for everyone and nobody. Oxford: Oxford University Press.