Without depth, I do not have the heights. I may be on the heights, but precisely because of that I do not become aware of the heights. I therefore need the bottommost for my renewal. If I am always on the heights, I wear them out and the best becomes atrocious to me. (Jung & Shamdasani, 2009, p. 262)
The palos verde blossoms create a yellow and orange carpet on the dirt. They are thick enough that hardly any ground can be seen in the image. In the beginning of summer, my tree bursts of yellow and orange. The blossoms are one of the first things to show up at daybreak and tell the world sunrise is here. It is stunning to see such bright colors in the tree against the morning sky. .
When the blossoms fell this year, I asked my gardener to leave them on the ground rather than rake them up. I enjoyed the blossoms in their fallen state as well as in the tree. In fact, when the tree was bare of blossoms, and only had its tiny green leaves, I could still enjoy the blossom colors as they dry under the umbrella of its branches. I saw them on the ground and remembered them in the heights.
In the Jung quote above, he tells the value of the spectrum. It helps me have perspective of the world at large. When I attend to the full spectrum, I have a greater appreciation for the value I notice. When I keep the spectrum in mind, I have less chance of getting locked into a particular point of view.
Trees need roots. For the personality to blossom to its highest potential, it must cultivate the roots in the soil of the soul and the sunlight of the Spirit. The manifest personality – the persona, the ego complex, the nature of our relationships, the vitality of our physical and mental health is fed by the latent dimensions of our personality – emanating from our soul. When we are unconscious of our bipolarity; the ego and the soul, we become lopsided, neurotic, emotionally lightweight and superficial. When we get caught in our depths, we risk becoming psychotic and self-absorbed. When we hold the tension of our ego and our soul, our conscious and our unconscious, our manifest and our latent personality, we live a fuller, spiritually informed and purposeful life. Such a life is now primed to connect with the Spirit and the higher consciousness – the Brahman or the Holy Spirit and called to fulfill the program of the Universe and its well-being; a state of Unus Mundus – the world soul.
There are two major paths to claim our wholeness: a Collective path and an individual path. The Collective path is offered by the great religious traditions of the world including Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The Individual path is the cultivation of personal spirituality. The depth psychology of Carl Jung offers one such paradigm for the individual path which he called the Individuation process. The ancient Hindu tradition of Tantra(Venkatraman et al., 2019; John Woodroffe, 1974; John Woodroffe, 2014) offered a precursor of this process where an individual carves out own’s unique paradigm for available religious and spiritual systems to connect with the soul and the Spirit. When we connect with these latent, deeper, higher aspects of our personality, we experience as sense of mystery, awe, a feeling of the numinous, meaning and purpose. The great theologians (Otto & Harvey, 1950) and philosophers (James, 1929) have opened the pathway to the exploration of this mystery.
Points to Ponder
- How do you keep perspective when confronted with difficulty?
- How do you keep perspective when things are going well?
- How do you give perspective to your thinking?
- How do you give perspective to your feelings?
- How do those perspectives contribute to your renewal?
- Do you feel a sense of a deeper part of your personality that supports your daily, outer personality?
- How do you experience this latent part of your personality?
- What system do you use to connect with your latent personality?
- What guidance do you get from this latent dimension of your personality?
- How do you implement the guidance of your depths?
James, W. (1929). The varieties of religious experience : a study in human nature, being the Gifford lectures on natural religion delivered at Edinburgh in 1901-1902. New York: Longmans, Green and co.
Jung, C. G., & Shamdasani, S. (2009). The red book = Liber novus (1st ed.). New York: W.W. Norton & Co.
Otto, R., & Harvey, J. W. (1950). The idea of the holy : an inquiry into the non-rational factor in the idea of the divine and its relation to the rational (2nd ed.). London: Oxford University Press.
Venkatraman, A., Nandy, R., Rao, S. S., Mehta, D. H., Viswanathan, A., & Jayasundar, R. (2019). Tantra and Modern Neurosciences: Is there any Correlation? Neurol India, 67(5), 1188-1193. doi:10.4103/0028-3886.271263
Woodroffe, J. (1974). The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga. New York: Dover Publications; Revised ed. edition (June 1, 1974).
Woodroffe, J. (2014). Introduction to Tantra Shatra. USA: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (December 24, 2014).
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