The Creative Instinct
A New center of soul in midst of the Chaos and Crisis
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
April 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.
Instincts are not creative in themselves: they have become stably organized and are therefore largely automatic. The reflective instinct is no exception to this rule, for the production of consciousness is not of itself a creative act but may under certain conditions be a merely automatic process.(Jung, 1960b, p. 118)
I love to watch animals being themselves. When I first saw this squirrel, I thought it was eating grass. However, it was only holding it in its mouth and not using its paws or chewing. With a little further observation, I discover it was gathering nesting materials to take back to its nest near the top of a huge tree. It is following its instinct to build a home in a safe environment.
During this time of the pandemic, I have time to make my home more comfortable and safer. I can follow my instincts to have a place to live and add the creative act to make it “home”. This idea also applies to my spiritual life. I must bring myself to it and listen deeply to what else might help make it “home”. It will be work, that is time and effort, and valuable to my wholeness.
The Creative instinct is an autonomous psychic function of human consciousness. It unfolds spontaneously and reflexively. We don’t have to cultivate it, just let it happen without squishing it. Our Ego or routine consciousness tends to trample on the creative process because by definition it is outside of our box of life as usual. It feels an alien impulse from the edge of our consciousness in the liminal or the transitional space, a bridge to our higher consciousness and unique perspective on a life problem or crisis. It we do not get outraged or fearful when we encounter this creative edge, it bears soul dividends of new possibilities to deal with life’s challenges.
In the current pandemic, each one of us may experience this crazy seeming but creative impulse. Instead of rejecting it outright, we would be well advised to welcome it like an honorable guest and dialogue with it. What is this image calling us to do or be? You may draw this image, journal it, cultivate it further like a movie director and image how you could be an actor in that drama. Now the dance with the Soul begins. Then the gods provide the background music to amplify the creative drama or our impulse.
Explore if you had any such creative musing in the present chaos. What is the anatomy of this impulse? How might it manifest in your present crisis management and future emergence and plans? How does it alter your life goals and plans? When each one of us does this inner work, the pandemic has fulfilled it teleologic purpose and sooner it will move on. A nightmare continues to recur until we confront and assimilate its message. Once we have retired the traumatic memory and its impact on the psyche, the trauma loses its grip on our consciousness. Then we are free to bring in all the resources of our consciousness as well the infinite resources of the personal and collective unconscious to bear on our adaptation and mastery over life’s challenges, crisis and trauma.
Some Points to Ponder:
- What is needed to make your residence “home”?
- How can you use this time of stay at home to activate your creative abilities?
- What to you bring to your spiritual life?
- What meaning have you given to the pandemic?
- Has your meaning shifted? How has it changed?
- What new creative possibilities have you imagined and experienced during the current pandemic?
- How do you honor this new creative impulse, idea, image?
- Do you cultivate this new impulse further by cultivating it further: if this was a drama script,
- how would be further develop the script as a director?
- How will this new script impact your life 2, 5 and 10 years from today?
Photo taken through the rungs of a park bench in New York City.
Jung, C. G. (1960b). The structure and dynamics of the psyche. New York: Pantheon Books.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.