Tree and its Roots

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

April 1, 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 and 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.

An image which frequently appears among the archetypal configurations of the unconscious is that of the tree or the wonder-working plant. (Jung, 1967, p. 253)

What do you see? What do you imagine it to be?

The variety of colors, textures, and shapes are reminiscent of the artist’s pallet. The closer I look the more I see. There are so many subtle distinctions within the varieties of segments. What is the interplay between the inner core and the outside influence? What facilitates it? Is inner determination or outer conditions?

The bark of this tree is majestic close-up as well as from a distance. Its outer layer is all I see, yet I know there is more life beyond the surface. It reminds me of the human condition that does show the world who I am, and there is an amazing life inside, deep inside that navigates the expression.

The tree’s life is stay home. It does not leave the place it has taken root. During this time of stay-at-home, I look to get nurtured from what is around and inside me, the external world of my home and the internal world of my unconscious.

In the current COVAD-19 pandemic, each one of us must stay steady and stay put like a magnificent tree. But to sustain its vitality, it needs to stay connected to the soil of nurturance via its’ roots. Each one of us chooses the soil of social and spiritual nurturance. We need to mobilize our roots, our tentacles to reach out to the soil. This may include maintaining online or digital contact with friends and family, with church and mentors, with your Communitas, e.g. a prayer group, an AA or NA meeting, a book club. Of course, a significant source of nurturance is your own psyche and its treasures. Do you reach out to your own depths and mystery via paying attention to your dreams and fantasies, self-reflection and journaling, meditation and mindfulness?

Some Point to Ponder

How do your boundaries keep things in?

How do your boundaries affect the outside world?

What effect does stillness have on you?

Are you grounded from below like a tree or rooted in what is above (as in some Indian prayers)?

Are you maintaining online or digital contact with friends and family, with church and mentors, with your Communitas, e.g. a prayer group, an AA or NA meeting, a book club?

Do you have a framework to reach out to your own depths and mystery?

Photo of Eucalyptus deglupta was taken on Maui, Hawaii

Jung, C. G. (1967). Alchemical studies. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.