The Power of Commitment
Begin it NOW
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 18, 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.
The unconscious is accordingly a different medium from the conscious. (Jung, 1960b, p. 187)
This image feels like the pandemic. The forefront is dry, cut, dead lumber and just beyond is a healthy forest and lake. I had never seen lumber being readied for export. When this first encounter moment happened, I felt struck by grief. All I could feel was how much life had been stopped, not only the trees but also the lives of their forest-homes. All had been dramatically changed.
As I stood there robbed of my breath, my mind went blank. It had been cut down and stripped of thought. I closed my eyes for a moment and thought, “I am so sorry for what happened to you.” Then I took a deep breath, opened my eyes, and hoped that they would be well purposed. I began to imagine an afterlife of buildings, furniture, picture frames, and carvings which gave me some solace. My brain came back online, and I remembered that some logging is done with replacement sustainability. New lives will be planted where these once were.
There is life and death in this time of the pandemic. When I get overwhelmed with its effect, when my conscious mind is lost, I take a deep breath. I ask my unconscious mind to bring forth something soothing or comforting from the other side of my awareness, to direct me towards re-establishing balance. In my wholeness, I believe balance will come back. It always has.
The image still opens me to sadness. The pandemic still overwhelms me at times. I ensure that I do not make that image the only thing I see in a day, nor the pandemic news all I listen to in the evening. I engage in life’s variety. I balance, as best as I can, a healthy inner and outer life. I make myself remember that in the world of dance, balance has thousands of positions. In my dance with life, so can I.
When we are overwhelmed in the present, we have the capacity to image the future. Experiments have demonstrated that generating mental imagery elicits a greater emotional response than verbalizing the same material . Mental imagery occurs when perceptual information is accessed from memory, giving rise to the experience of ‘seeing with the mind’s eye’, ‘hearing with the mind’s ear’ and so on . A rapidly growing number of recent studies show that imagining the future depends on much of the same neural machinery that is needed for remembering the past. These findings have led to the concept of the prospective brain; an idea that a crucial function of the brain is to use stored information to imagine, simulate and predict possible future events .
In times of crisis, we might make use of our PROSPECTIVE BRAIN. We can image the green valley beyond the wasteland. This may be based upon a past experience or future prediction. When we imagine a positive outcome, we garner the energies of the Universe to support the image. We Bluetooth with our milieu to draw out energies that support our image. We can make positive or negative outcomes happen. Our mind and consciousness is a powerful pacemaker of reality. It does not just respond to reality – it creates it!
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way.
Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now.”
― William Hutchison Murray
In times of crisis, each one of us has the capacity to imagine an outcome and commit to it.
Some Points to Ponder:
When brings balance back when you are overwhelmed?
What does balance look like in your life?
What roles in life do you have, and how do you distribute yourself to them?
How do you keep the pandemic in perspective?
What is your image of you, others and the future as you navigate this pandemic and beyond the pandemic?
Image how would you want things to turn out as you survive and master your path through the pandemic
What do you need to do NOW to support this PROSPECTIVE IMAGE OF YOUR EMERGENCE?
Imagine the support you want from others and the Universe to support your image.
Photo taken in New Zealand
Di Simplicio, M., McInerney, J. E., Goodwin, G. M., Attenburrow, M. J., & Holmes, E. A. (2012). Revealing the mind’s eye: bringing (mental) images into psychiatry. The American Journal of Psychiatry, 169(12), 1245-1246. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2012.12040499 [doi]
Jung, C. G. (1960b). The structure and dynamics of the psyche. New York: Pantheon Books.
Kosslyn, S. M., Ganis, G., & Thompson, W. L. (2001). Neural foundations of imagery. Nature reviews.Neuroscience, 2(9), 635-642. doi:10.1038/35090055 [doi]
Schacter, D. L., & Addis, D. R. (2007). The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: remembering the past and imagining the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1481), 773 <last_page> 786. doi:10.1098/rstb.2007.2087
Schacter, D. L., & Addis, D. R. (2007). Constructive memory: The ghosts of past and future. Nature, 445(7123), 27 <last_page> 27. doi:10.1038/445027a
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.