The Memory of Spring
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
April 7, 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.
Looked at from the outside, the psyche appears to be essentially a reflection of external happenings—to be not only occasioned by them, but to have its origin in them….But the truth is that the unconscious is always there beforehand as a system of inherited psychic functioning handed down from primeval times. (Jung, 1960b, p. 350)
The “external happenings” of weather and season left ghostly impressions of fallen leaves on the road. The photo is in color, but the fall colors and the leaves have gone. The oaks shed their foliage only to be “painted” on the pavement. Mother nature is an impressionist who gives me a glimpse of the beauty that has been and that will regenerate next spring. Nature is both known and mysterious to me.
In this time of the pandemic, my vibrant life is no longer experienced in the same way. The colors of connection are no longer externally visible due to social distancing, but they are present. They are held and remembered inside. It is up to me to revitalize them by reaching out to those I love. I need to breathe life into them to feel my own aliveness.
The photo reminds me of paintings found in ancient caves when images showed the story. Sometimes in meditation those kinds of images show and dissolve. I need to remember the value of ancient wisdom, wisdom that will show up from the underside of the road I travel.
Our unconscious has a memory of the past and a blueprint of the future. It offers us an image of events to come if we choose to attend to them. The present pandemic was predicted by the Shamanic individuals who are tuned into their own depths and the soul of the Collective unconscious. They have intuitions, dreams, images, art that forecasts the events and catastrophes to come. However, our society has a blind spot to these predictions. As in the myth of Cassandra, these individuals are ignored. Cassandra was cursed to utter true prophecies, but never to be believed. Such scientists, artists, activists are often ignored by those in power when it conflicts with their narrative.
The other side of this coin is the memory of the New Beginning. In middle of winter, our Psyche has the memory of the Springs past and the Spring to come. It reminds us of the cyclic nature of life. Creation, Consolidation and Destruction. However, after every destruction, there is new creation. While we must continue to deal with the current pandemic with solidarity, strength, ingenuity, courage and community, we must not lose hope of the New Beginnings. This too shall pass. We will be tempered by this experience to be a more soulful version of ourselves. This pandemic has taught us many lessons as individuals, families, communities, as a nation and a fragile global community. If we do not heed these lessons, we will only repeat our errors. If we reflect and grow from this crisis, it will a slightly better world than before the pandemic.
Some Points to Ponder
What is vibrant in your life?
What can you do to keep your life vibrant?
How do you express your experience of life during the pandemic?
What has life shown you during this stay at home time?
What have you given back to life and/or others?
Can you reflect on the Shamanic individuals who has predicted the pandemic?
Did you have dreams and images of the pandemic before it happened?
Did you take any preventive steps in response to these predictions?
What have you learned from this pandemic as an individual, family, institution and a community?
What is your image of your personal New Beginning upon the resolution of the pandemic?
Photo taken in Lake Arrowhead, CA
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.