October 2nd, 2021
All conceivable statements are made by the psyche. Among other things, the psyche appears as a dynamic process which rests on a foundation of antithesis, on a flow of energy between two poles. (Jung, 1961, p. 350)
Spanish moss (Tillandsia usneoides) is not actually a moss but rather a bromeliad. It is an air plant that is in the same family as pineapples. It gets its nutrients from air particles. It does not harm its host or use the host’s nutrients. It can even grow on telephone, electric, and cable company wires. When examined closely there are often tiny yellow-green flowers.
It reminds me of the individual psyche. There are so many different threads of life in it. There are aspects that congregate and others that reach out into the unknown. It seems to have a “body”, yet its form is not predetermined. There is freedom and attachment as it hangs from the branch. Its life is guided by experience, but not constricted in its shape. It grows yet is under the influence of gravity.
In world, fundamentally, there are two types of relationships. One, in which the two partners are intertwined in a symbiotic at best and parasitic at worst relationship. The parasitic relationships are win-lose relationships where the parasite depletes the host of their soul energy. The co-dependency and living with a narcissist are two examples of such a relationship. At the end, this becomes a lose-lose relationship, since the predator accumulates a lot of negative karma which must be retired in this or future lifetimes. Unless the narcissist/predator undergoes a profound transformation in their personality, this relationship must end for the prey to reclaim their soul.
The symbiotic relationship is a win-win relationship, where the two partners become value added to the other in their personal and spiritual growth without depleting the other. These relationships are having unique characteristics.
They convey a sense of equal partnership where each partners needs are recognized and represented on their shared relational space.
- There is culture of dialogue, respect and negotiation to make room for each other.
- There is a willingness to make sacrifice for the other. Each partner is able to suspend their priorities temporarily for a while to make room for the other at strategic crossroads.
- The most significant aspect of this symbiotic relationship is that each partner gets their inner guidance from the “Voice” of their soul
- The soul gets its orientation and instruction from the numinous, spiritual dimension of the universe – symbolized by air – pneuma – the numinous, the archetypal dimension of the collective flow of eternal consciousness. The purpose of the soul journey of every individual is union with this flow of this eternal consciousness – the Brahman in a state of Samadhi outlined in the Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.(Bryant, Patañjali, & Patañjali, 2018; Finger, 2018; Satchidanada, 1978)
- Not only does this Voice guide us in our individual journey of soul maturation but it guides us to the optimal rules of engagement with our soulmate via symbols of coniunctio or sacred marriage of an alchemic union with the other.
- The partner is never a random person but one that the universe has chosen to be our soulmate in our unique journey of individuation. The Eastern spiritual systems postulate that soulmates travel as partners in many lifetimes via reincarnation to support each other’s soul work.
- Each one of us has the capacity to amplify this “Voice” of our soul via attention to the whispers of our soul manifest in our dreams, fantasies, daydreams, creative process, relationships, complexes, symptoms, fascinations, art, poetry, and unique symbols that circumambulate to define our personal myth at this point in our development. (Bedi, 2000, 2013)
- Each partner in a symbiotic and eventually a symbolic relationship achieves their personal best threshold of spiritual growth that the parameters of present lifetime permit.
- The pyramid of spiritual growth has evolved and matured over the history of human civilization in its phylogenetic history which replays in our ontogenetic narrative. These are archetypal stages of development we go through if we live out a reflective life tuned into the symbolic dimension of life. The Kundalini Yoga system of India has outlined this progression over several thousand years.(Bedi, 2000, 2013) I have discussed these in my several publications. Erich Neumann explores this masterfully from a classical Analytical perspective in his masterpiece, “The Origins and History of Consciousness”. (Neumann, 1954)
- The best description of such a relationship is only possible in a poetry. Kahlil Gibran offers us a timeless rendition of a sacred marriage –
Then Almitra spoke again and said, And what of Marriage, master?
And he answered saying:
You were born together, and together you shall be forevermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
Ay, you shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
And let the winds of the heavens dance between you.
Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
From The Prophet (Knopf, 1923).
Points to Ponder:
- What holds you yet gives you freedom?
- How are the parts of you connected?
- How do you know which direction you are to grow?
- What internal clues to you follow?
- What influence does the external have on who you are and who you will become?
- What is your most significant relationship?
- How would you characterize this relationship? Win-win, win-lose or lose-lose?
- How do you negotiate the boundaries and priorities of the relationship?
- Are you able to suspend some of your priorities to make room for the strategic priorities of your partner?
- Are you and your partner able to make the necessary compromise and sacrifice to facilitate the crucial priorities of your partner?
- Do you feel enmeshed or autonomous in your core relationship(s)?
- Do you feel that when all is said and done, you have a sense of a direct connection with the spiritual realm?
- Do you feel that your core relationship is a one-sided relationship, a mutual relationship, an institutional arrangement or a soul relationship?
- Do you feel blessed to be with your partner in this lifetime or does it feel like a golden cage that you feel stuck in?
- How do you amplify the “Voice” of your soul?
Bedi, A. (2000). Path to the soul. York Beach, ME: S. Weiser.
Bedi, A. (2013). Crossing the healing zone : from illness to wellness. Lake Worth, FL, Newburyport, MA: Ibis Press, a division of Nicolas-Hays, Inc.,Lake Worth, Distributed to the trade by Red Wheel/Weiser.
Bryant, E. F., Patañjali, & Patañjali. (2018). The Yoga sūtras of Patañjali : a new edition, translation, and commentary : with insights from the traditional commentators. New Delhi: Macmillan.
Finger, A. N., Wendy. (2018). Tantra of the Yoga Sutra – Essential Wisdom for Living with Awareness and Grace. Boulder, Colorado, USA: Shambala Boulder.
Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, Dreams, Reflections (R. a. C. Winston, Trans. April 1989 ed.). New York: Vintage Books.
Neumann, E. (1954). The origins and history of consciousness. London: Routledge and K. Paul.
Satchidanada, S. S. (1978). The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.
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.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH. D