To Everything there is a Season
On Appointed Time
In the Eye of the Storm
An individual response to the Global Crisis
May 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.
Youthful ongoing for the world and for life, for the attainment of high hopes and distant goals. Is life’s obvious teleological urge which as one changes into fear of life, neurotic resistance, depressions, and phobias if at some point it remains caught in the past, or shrinks from risks without which the unseen goal cannot be attained. (Jung, 1960b, p. 406)
As a child I learned to ride a bicycle with training wheels. They helped me keep my balance while I learned to pedal and steer the bike. I wanted to ride a bike without them, like the big kids, but I had some skills to attain before that could happen. With training wheels on, I found I could stand and pedal, something I never did on my tricycle. I increased my abilities enough that at some point the training wheels came off. I then had to rely on myself to stay in balance while going up and down hills, as well as making turns. It was a lot of fun. I even got to the point of “no handlebars,” when I would let go of them and pedaled fast then put my arms out, pretending to be a bird. There was so much freedom to go places on my “big kid” thanks to those training wheels.
In today’s Covid-19 environment, we have skills to gain before moving freely in the world. There are elements to keep us in balance until we have the skills to “be on our own”.
When all is said and done, life and nature are about balance. There is a balance between day and night, summer and winter, fall and spring, sky and earth. There is balance between the elements: fire and water, earth and air.
In the healing system of the East; Ayurveda, there is balance between your three Doshas or natures. There is Rajas or activity and Tamas or passivity. There are times to be active and time to be passive. The optimal balance between Rajas and Tamas for a given situation is called Sattva or lucidity. It is the correct balance of activity and passivity for a particular problem. For instance, the pregnancy experience has to be essentially Tamas, learning to gestate and let the embryo grow. The Rajas is the active prenatal care to support the gestation. So 80% Tamas for honoring the gestation and 20% activity to secure good prenatal care would be the Sattva for pregnancy experience.
Conversely, in the Emergency Room treating a COVAD patient would have to be 90% Rajas to provide active, brisk, urgent medical care and then 10% Tamas for body and nature to do its’s healing magic – that would be optimal Sattva balance in a COVAD emergency.
This balance is well articulated in the book of Ecclesiastes
On Appointed Time
1 To everything there is a season,
and a time to every purpose under the heaven:
2 A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;
3 A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
4 A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
5 A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
6 A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
7 A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
8 A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.
In this pandemic, each one of us is confronted with balancing our individual Ecclesiastes in the bigger picture. Some parents are celebrating new babies, others are mourning death of a parent, some are planting or creating new enterprises to facilitate online education, commerce and medical care, others are plucking the old plants like brick and mortar business, it is time for the virus to kill but the medics to facilitate healing, tome to break out international barriers to exchange of information and time to build up collaboration in vaccine and COVAD -19 treatment trails, a time to weep our brothers and sisters we may lose to the pandemic and time to laugh at flattening the curve and return to some communal life, a time to mourn our losses and time to dance as we evolve new treatments, new wave of Altruism, of international collaboration my most civilized nations, a time to embrace withing our safety bubble and a time to refrain from embracing physically in the Social Distancing, a time to keep our silence about blaming and shaming each other and a time to speak about things we can do together, a time to love our humanity and a time to hate what we do to destroy our environment, a time of war against the common threats like pandemics, terrorism, climate change and a time of peace so that together we can participate in making our great mother Earth and safe place for ALL her children.
Some Points to Ponder:
What gives you balance during the pandemic?
What is the evidence that you are in balance?
How will you increase your sense of safety?
What new skills have you acquired during this time? Are they now a habit?
In the present pandemic, do you see your individual role as passive or active?
In what ways are you being active and passive?
Do you feel that you a right balance between necessary activity and required passivity?
How does it feel to balance your activity versus passivity compared to your baseline personality of Type A or Type B personality?
What do you have to do or not do to achieve a New Sattva or Balance between your active and your passive nature?
Do you feel that this new balance works better in the other sectors of your life or worse?
In what ways does this new balance make your life worse?
In what ways does this new balance make your life better?
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.