Feeling small

Sometimes, in life, one comes upon horrific challenges and one feels very small. Or one goes a certain distance in rising to the challenge and then one falls down. And one feels like a terrible failure. Abraham Lincoln mused a great deal on the significance of failure and success. Any man tested by history must muse on such things. Otherwise, how can he learn to play his part?

Lincoln has been a light for me, since my early 20s. He once said: "Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." Yes. I think, in part, success is the ability to fail and then to get up again, brush the dust off one's back and figure out what is the decent thing to do. Failure is the greatest teacher of perserverance. But you must be careful, it can teach apathy and a sense of being small and not up to supreme challenges. You must not be fooled by failure - otherwise you will never learn from it the lesson it would have you learn. And if you fail to do that success will always elude you.

Lincoln has more to say:

"Nearly all men can stand adversity. But if you want to test a man's character - give him power."

Adversity is part of life for all men. How we learn to face up to it, is, ultimately, down to how we mold our personality and our character. We have the power to transform ourselves. Yet, if we seek out profound change - which usually involves a profound relationship with a wise person - and if we try to build a life based on that, it is no easy task - though it is an essential one. It requires intelligence and inner simplicity. It takes determination, faith and above all love. There are challenges all along the way. Financial challenges. Familial challenges. The challenge of loneliness - of seeing something deep very clearly and having virtually no one to share it with. The challenge of silence and the challenges of being - which must be grasped - for if it is not - we inadvertantly seek solace in action - and the consequence of such misguided focus is that we become pray to boredom and misunderstanding of our true nature. We must find balance in action and non-action...but that can be tough - especially if one is trailblazer. When you go alone - who is there to temper you and reflect with you. And if you are lucky to have such a soul companion on the way - who is to say they or you are right or that your concurring and reflections are sound?

What Lincoln is saying above though is significant. All men face challenges. But the real test of a man is when he comes into his own in some way - whether it be financially or talent-wise or political power. Hamlet was not up to it. Mozart and Beethoven brinkered on the edge of madness thanks to their genius. There must be ways to deal with it.

A great yoga teacher I had the privellege to meet insists on cleaning his own toilet regularly...It makes sense - if one cannot stand side by side with the lowliest of the low - how can one ever dream to rise to a higher station and do it in a way that keeps one grounded and related to the building blocks of existence on this plane? That is not to say that all kingly or noble men must wash their own toilets - but it does point to the hidden urgencies implicit in success. Success comes with an urgent need to stay small. Not the small born of a sense of inadequacy. But the small that comes with a feeling of being united with out innate compassion and sensitivity. A loud, brash person can never listen. To listen you must be very still and very small - in order to get out of the way of yourself and in order to be party to the miraculous symmetry of real affection. One can have a vast presence and yet be small. I think that is what Tolstoy meant when he said in tribute to Lincoln that he was one of those rare men who sort not to see the world in himself but to see himself in the world. Tolstoy added that, "He was the only real giant in depth of feeling and in certain moral power."

Lincoln has stirring words for dreamers and believers. He says:

"You can have anything you want if you want, it badly enough. You can be anything you want to be, do anything you set out to accomplish if you hold to that desire with singleness of purpose."

I lived in Korea recently...and I left that country with a tinge of sadness. I hate nationalism. And Korea is a very nationalistic country. Nationalism amounts - more often than not to an unpleasant sense of place - rarely does it embrace forgiveness and a sense of our universal humanity. Korea is a country that wants to win. It is in a hurry to win.

It is ironic because in Korea people study very, very hard. They become so very tied up in academic standing and competitiveness - that they seem to become wandering robotic knowledge-bases. Education is not cultivating cleverness - that is such a shallow thing. Korea seems to raise its glass to that though and it saddens me. Intelligence has nothing to do with education. It is born of going to the root of things. Something which our education often fails to awaken us to.

The last quote of Lincoln's that I would like to share is this one:

"It often requires more courage to dare to do right than to fear to do wrong."

How true this is! My journey to India represents for me the courage to dare to do the right thing. It's not an easy thing to do. And there are many alternatives that have come to my mind - all much easier to do - but all much, much harder to live with(the easy way out is always that way). Intuitively, I know all those alternatives are wrong and unsuited to what I must do and, being aware of that, I somehow remain sane and up for the mad challenges which my dharma is dealing me (dharma is a word from sanskrit, which encapsulates the sense of what our inner potential, when awakened, needs to do in the times into which we are born and raised - in order that we might live a balanced and fulfilling life).

I have just come back from India to visit my family in suburban England. India is colorful. India is hot and humid and chaotic and rampant. In India my life is non-stop work - with some yoga thrown in. Here in England I get to rest my way through the holiday season and rest a little. It is a very welcome break and I am very grateful for the change of scenery. It allows one to breathe. Here there are not a hundred fuming motorbikes at every traffic light. Here there is no dust to brush away in the courtyard in the morning. Here the poverty is manageable. Here there is affluence. Here there are carol concerts and chaffinches, pink and undulating in their flight against the gray sky. It seems there is more honesty here too. I don't meet people with a sense that - due to my skin and circumstances - people will rip me off. Here there is customer service that is easy to reach and does what it says it will (even though they may be in India - thanks to outsourcing!). In India, there is none of that. In India, the numbers of people seem to swell to bursting point. Here the cultural references are easier for me - but that is slowly changing as I learn the way of things amidst the mosquitos and the monsoon. India is a strain. India is culturally rich. England has orchestras and high street fashion. It has reality TV and America is not so much a distant land of opportunity and promise - it is just an extension of the Anglo-saxon culture across the pond. Bigger and more prosperous - but it is certainly not the land that has replaced Moksha - as it is for many Indians.

I recently read in a book by an American Ayurvedic doctor that England is a land of Sudras. The Sudras are a class in the caste system of India. Members of this class are the peasants and working class of the society who work in non-polluting jobs. Below them are untouchables - above them are the warriors, the business people and the priests. I found this strange when I first read it. But when I came to England it began to make sense. Yes, England has priests and warriors and business people - but there does seem to be a sense of working class equanimity here which gives a sort of evenness to life across the board - even though there are some very rich people here, as well as some very destitute people - there seems to be a common cultural smorgasbord which they all feed from - you can see this very clearly in the media and the entertainment and the literature of the land. In India religion and movies are the binding realities - but even so, there rich and the poor lack the feeling of equanimity that one feels in the European and American cultures. Perhaps this is in part due to the terrible corruption in India. Perhaps it is due to the problems of overpopulation. By and large, the ladders of possibility that one must climb in India to make a better life for oneself - are much steeper and far rarer than those that are available to Westerners.

Perhaps that is why I found the stark realities of the caste system such a trial when I first went to India. Why can't there be more evenness? Why can't there be a clearer sense of fairness across the board - England - and America even more so - has succeeded with that - why can't India? That being said, India has riches that we lack. I find that India has more lively myths - they are deeper myths (for those who are ready to dive into them) and this is a profound statement - if one is at all interested in finding meaning in life. That being said their modern myths are pretty terrible. We have the myth of the new man - a very healthy and essential myth. But they have macho women slapping movie stars - their version of Rambo...and the refined modern man is harder to find - because he swamped out by the weight of the masses and their lust for bravado and blood.

Even though the British came to India and tried to decimate India's sanskrit heritage in some ways, in other ways it introduced the technology of a modern democracy. And the weight of that experession is on "technology". India and democracy are old bedfellows - at least in the sense of dialgueing important issues. In a way democracy, in the form of enlightened dialogue, had its roots in India.

So I am living at the intersection of two worlds and their fertile intersection can be many things. It can be overwhelming. It can be fascinating. It can give me pause for thought. Deep thought. And it can yield many frustrating and painstaking contradictions. One can also feel small. Small in the sense of inadequate. So much poverty. So many problems. How to face up to them? Sure, I know they are not my problems. It is not job to take on the weight of the world. I know that. But it is perhaps not so easy to be comfortable with that when you live in a busy city in India - with slums and desperation seemingly around every corner.

I know so many Indians that want to escape India. Hence how America has become moksha (the Sanskrit word for englightenment) to them. Some of those people who so revere America as an ideal - get to go to America and perhaps they become prosperous and liberated in many ways. I have seen that often. But I have also seen how in their lust for the West - they lose their own culture. Or - as is the case with some Indians - they become disdainful of Western culture...because though it has given them security - there is this niggling feeling in them that the West as a whole have compromised their integrity to be prosperous. They have sold their values and their families for pleasure and plastic. So there are the tradionalists and the money hungry - and amazingly - they seem to exist together as split-personalities in the Indian psyche. Because side by side their wonderful heritage their runs a river of pain and poverty which craves the order and space of places like America and Europe (speaking in relativities here).

At the end of email messages I quote the following quotes:

"Every day is a winding road"

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." -- Patanjali

The first seems to sum up the reality of existence for all of us: every day is actually a winding road. Some days are full of emotional wonders and other days are somehow more non-descript. Some days one is more philosophical - and other days there is such a blur of motion that one sees everything through fleeting comparisons and references...On other days work seems to swallow us up and one fails to seem to find relevance in anything. I could go on and on about the changing shades of a different individual day.

Living in India, and reflecting on my life in general in these few precious days of rest at my family home...I think sometimes I do feel very small. In suburban England it often appears that the madness of our world is conveniently confined to the television screen...Close enough for comfort - distant enough for us to go on with our own lives and not be too disturbed. But living in India - it is not that way. I don't have a television - and I do wrestle daily with the dirt and the inequality - and very often it is far too close for comfort and never distant enough. The contrast with the feeling I get staring out upon the estuary and the spacious fields of my family home is huge! It is a refreshing and stark contrast...When I look into my neices eyes or walk around the lake I feel a sense of wonder about this northern paradise... It is not paradise - for it is cold and the harsh, dry air makes my skin dry and faces gray. But Christmas trees come with presents and plenty of good food and everyone has so much plenty...that I wonder if they know or care to know the value of what they have. The winter can bring on harsh depressions and the monotony of life - wherever you live in the world - can be a trial to the mind.

I feel small when I think of my past and future in India. Not because it is so big...so unfathomable (and yet I MUST try to fathom it)... but because of the contrasts with the sights that greet me when I come home. There is such a cauldron of problems...such an endless catalogue of struggling and corrupt and needy stories in India - and we, in the West with out wealth and Christmas cheer seem so alien - and at time so sane (the sense of order, the electricity which is not mired in constant power cuts, the sense of things getting done; the managable numbers of things and people) - and yet at other times so insane (the way everything here seems to be reduced to jokes and sex and boose and intellectual and artistic interpretation - all of which so often lacks soul. India has its own version of these things of course - unquestioned religions and endless traditions which stifle and destroy spontaneity and freedom).

The second quote which I sign off my emails with I will repeat:

"When you are inspired by some great purpose, some extraordinary project, all your thoughts break their bonds. Your mind transcends limitations, your consciousness expands in every direction, and you find yourself in a new, great and wonderful world. Dormant forces, faculties and talents become alive, and you discover yourself to be a greater person by far than you ever dreamed yourself to be." -- Patanjali

It is this quote - which I keep coming back to. It this quote which is the thread for me behind Lincoln's line: "Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm." I don't think you can do that without believing in what Patanjali is saying. What Patanjali is pointing too is the ultimate reason why we can and must succeed...no matter how small we may sometimes feel.

Devour what he says. Let what he is saying impregnate your consciousness. How dare you put yourself down! How dare you boost yourself up! Be still with what is...and perservere...Never, never give up. And what's more, you might get to be a new man (or new woman for the politically correct!) my son; a man adapted to the times and yet reverent of the profound and perennial wisdom of the ancients - a wisdom which went to the heart of the challenges of the human condition. No matter the problems it found in that inner journey, it resolved to make sense of them and triumph. As Buddha once asked the question: "Is there an end to suffering potential in the human mind?" - so must you...and you must go into it deeply...until no verbal answer appeases; until no emotional response, no loss or gain... has the power to conquer and corrode you - until you recognise yourself - he who is Master over his own mind and heart - he who is related to everyone with equal sensitivity, whilst remaining compassionately detached and aware at all levels of one's being. It is no small challenge and consequently, as I am learning, one is bound to feel small at times.

Reflections on religions

It is true that religion is by and large a form of prejudice. It is funny to visit my family and to see my parents and their friends. My mother declares herself an atheist. A lovely neighbor, who is a very talented musician enthuses over classical music with me - but when I broach the question of Buddhism - he goes stone cold.

I remember as a child looking for rhyme and reason in things. I found rhyme and reason in writing. I wrote my first poem at 4. I still do. I also was fascinated by the natural world and I wanted somehow to decode it. Over the years, I was given a tour of the great cathedrals of Europe and I was entertained with visits to museums and homes and studios of great artists. I remember to this day going to Beethoven's home.

As I grew - the beauty of my childhood - which was one swamped in a meticulous study of ferns and redshanks and fossils...all came together in Darwin. Evolution made intrinsic sense. God seemed to be something for madmen. And funnily enough, to this day I feel that is pretty much the truth. But there are different brands of madmen.

Organised religion is madness. And I would not recommend it to anyone. It will destroy all that is organic and valuable in a man. But evolution points to something - it points to a spiral effect; an unfolding of something. And that begs deeper questions...how does natural selection account for Beethoven? How does natural selection account for apparent acts of altruism? How does natural selection account for a saint?

I remember in my 20s a mentor (of sorts) of mine - once said: "Pearls before swine" in response to something I was harranguing over at the time. It hit me powerfully.

Some things cannot be conveyed to certain individuals. Certain individuals are totally lost in delusion - certainly most so-called "religous" people for sure. But equally - anyone who is so wound up in an ideal - be it atheism or selfish genes. Theories can clarify many things...but truth is unique in that it destroys all ideas, all beliefs, all cherished misnomers.

I don't believe in God. I don't not believe in God. What a nonsense! What is actually true is not an idea of what is actually true. It is the clock ticking on the mantlepiece; the war waging in Sudan....or wherever it might be. Truth is toothache and laughter. It is undeniable. It is what is actually there. That is not to conclude that that which cannot be seen or heard is not true...is not actual. For what if their are subtler levels which the intellect cannot verify? As silence became more important in my life - then those subtler levels began to reveal themselves to me.

Christ did not save me. Jesus is not the way and the light. Drop all of that. And look in the mirror of experience at what is. Some settle for Elvis and chocolates. And die with out looking any further. Some accept Jesus into their hearts - and cling to their own private madness. Not I.

I look at the oak. I look at the war. I look at the moments of depression and the moments of deep happiness. And I listen and try and learn from it all. I neither brush the possibility of God aside nor am I fooled by the loneliness that invents God in the first place. I stay with what I am...and go slowly into its fold...prizing sacred secrets from the realm where the frantic clammers of ego drop away and NOW takes over. Gratefulness and a strange disembodied reality is Here...and that is what I feel we are here to discover. But who am I to make definitive statements on this? What is definitive except self-discovery? Throw everything else someone tries to sell you into the garbage heal of experience! All I can do is listen and learn. And if you reckon you are any different - then I beg to differ...but I beg to differ silently - for why should I bother picking a fight with a mad evangelist who is so blinded by their own rhetoric that they have not the space to see their own delusion...Indeed, why should I pick a fight with anyone bound by any conclusion? - love is born of attention - it does not spring up from the dry, bitterness of conclusive ideation.

All of this is perhaps elementary to any sensitive human being. The question that follows though - and it is a very interesting question indeed is this: What is authority? Not the authority of external disciplinary action...not that which is imposed. But that which is born of some deeper level of insight? That question is seat of my quest in life.

Who am I now?

Birth and Death

M: What is it that had birth? Whom do you call a human being? If, instead of seeking explanations for birth, death and after-death, the question is raised as to who and how you are now, these questions will not arise. You are the same while deeply asleep, in dream and in the waking state. Is the "I"-thought jiva, or the body jiva? Is this thought our nature? It is the body that feels pain; there is no pain in the Self.


Taken from http://www.clas.ufl.edu/users/gthursby/fonda/jung03.html

Consciousness is described as developing in an evolutionary process. The ego is considered the centre of conscious personality and with it the individual is born. Jung considers it to be less developed in preliterate cultures (Shades of Evolutionism) as he considers these persons to have less concentrated reflection (What of the demands of oral traditions?) and have a smaller "area of consciousness" (Jung must mean structurally--how can one say this, he just didn't have the right tools to measure it within its own context). Thus he concludes that preliterate cultures are more easily influenced by the stirings of the unconscious that those of the West.

under the conscious realm, is the unconscious. the unconscious is considerd to be the matrix out of which consciousness emerges in each succeeding generation. Immediately below the consciousness is the personal unconscious whose character is determined by the personal past. Its contents are the personal experiences of the individual's own lifetime, some of which have been repressed and others which have simply been forgotten. Within the personal unconscious lie the complexes. Complexes are emotionally coloured ideas that are split-off from consciousness as a result of traumatic influences or incompatible tendencies that may help or hinder conscious activity. A complex--e.g., the mother complex--can become an autonomous and fragmentary personality that seems to live a life of its own, dominating the individual's thoughts, feelings and actions. Usually disturbing or harmful, complexes can act positively by challenging the individual to seek new possibilities. To Jung such unsolved problems are essential for psychic activity.

Deeper in the psyche, beneath the layers of the personal unconscious, are other layers that have been formed over the millennia and in every member of our species. Here, Jung says, lies deposits of the experience of pre-human evolutionary forms. All of these layers form the collective unconscious, which is the most important and controversial of Jung's theories. In the dreams and fantasies of his patient's Jung found ideas and images whose origins, he felt, could not be traced to the individual's personal experiences. The resemblance of these ideas to religious and mythical themes led Jung to refer to them as primordial images or archetypes.
The archetypes, Jung thought, are not memories of past experiences but "forms without content" representing the possibility of a certain type of perception and action. They offer a certain kind of readiness to produce the same or similar mythical ideas over and over again. To Jung they are "the ruling powers, the gods, images of the dominant laws and principles, and of typical, regularly occurring events in the soul's cycle of experience." They are responsible for the human quality of human beings, are on the effects and deposits of experience but are also active agents that cause the repetition of these same experiences.

Because we can only know of the manifestations of the archetypes--historical and individual--we can say very little about them. Jung speculates that there are as many archetypes as there are typical persons and situations in human experience. Because a fluid interpenetration is part of their nature, however, they cannot be clearly circumscribed or reduced to a formula. Thus to Jung reductive explanation is neither desirable nor possible.

From years of psychiatric work and phenomenological research in religions and mythologies, Jung identified several key motifs that the archetypes can take. The ones that he felt were especially important include: the persona, the shadow, the anima/animus, the mother, the child, the wise old man, and the self. To Jung, abstract figures, situations, places and processes can also give expression to them.

THE PERSONA: is the mask we wear to make a particular impression on others; it may reveal and conceal our real nature. It is called an artificial personality that is a compromise between a person's real individuality and society's expectations--usually society's demands take precedence. It is made up of things like professional titles, roles, habits of social behaviour, etc. It serves to both guarantee social order and to protect the individual's private life. That is, when the ego identifies itself with the persona, the individual become particularly susceptible to the unconscious.

THE SHADOW: Is a step further towards self-realization when one recognizes and integrates it. It is the negative or inferior (undeveloped) side of the personality. It is said to be made up of all the reprehensible characteristics that each of us wish to deny, including animal tendencies that Jung claims we have inherited from our infra-human ancestors. It is said to coincide with the personal unconscious and because all of us has one it appears to be a collective phenomena.

The more unaware of the shadow we are, the blacker and denser it is. The more dissociated it is from conscious life, the more it will display a compensatory demonic dynamism. It is often projected outwards on individual or groups who are then thought to embody all the immature, evil, or repressed elements of the individual's own psyche. (Symbols of the devil and the serpent contain elements of the shadow).

ANIMA / ANIMUS: following a person's coming to term with their shadow they are then confronted with the problem of the anima/animus, the archetype which is said to personify the soul, or inner attitude. It is usually a persona and often takes on the characteristics of the opposite sex. The anima is said to represent the feminine in men, and come from three sources: 1] individual man's experience with women as companion; [2] man's own femininity--rooted presumably in the minority of female genes and hormones present in man's body; and [3] the inherited collective image that has been formed from man's collective experience of woman through out the centuries.

Anima often appears in dreams, as long as she remains unconscious. She may also be projected outwards onto various women--first the mother, then lover and wife as one grows. This projection is said to be responsible for the passionate attraction or aversion and a man's general apprehension of the nature of women. Should a man mistakenly identify with the anima, Jung says, she can produce effeminaty or homosexuality. The anima remains in an compensatory relationship with the outer, conscious attitude. The more a man identifies with the masculine persona, the more he will be subject to the projections of his anima. In all men the anima is responsible for moods and is a complication in all emotional relationships (rather a stereotypical statement, certainly reflects no attempt to remove himself from cultural assumptions).

After the middle of life, according to Jung, the anima is essential for vitality, flexibility and human kindness. She appears in a variety of manifestations which reflect her bipolarity. She can be both positive and negative from one moment to another, young and then old, mother and then lover, good and them evil, and so on. She is an ambivalent image and has occult connections with the ancient mysteries and hence a religious tinge.

The animus is the comparable counterpart in the female psyche. (Naomi Goldenberg's critique points out that Jung provides emperical evidence for anima, but the 'animus' is just a postulate opposite. See: Changing of the Gods and Returning Words to Flesh). It is said to be the woman's image of a man. Unlike the anima, the animus appears in a plurality of forms. To Jung this reflects the differences in male and female conscious attitudes. He says that the woman's consciousness tends to be exclusively personal and centred upon the family, the man is made up of various worlds of which the family is only one. Thus he finds the anima and animus to be the opposites of each of these conscious attitudes, plural and singular respectively. (Again we find stereotypes of male and female. The fact is that men are trained to be more sinle minded that are women in Western Society. Things have changed dramatically since the last century and the roles of men and women have altered drastically. Jung's response to women who work, unfortunately, is that work too much are too masculine and undesirable, if not suffering from pathology.)

For the anima Eros is the undifferentiated unconscious principle (the root of all emotions), for the animus it is logos (which in the woman's mind is said to be responsible for unreasoned opinion and critical disputatiousness). Animus manifests itself most often in words and not images (Emma Jung), typically as a voice that comments on a person's situation or imparts general rules. When it does take a form, usually in dreams, it appears as a "plurality of men, a group of fathers, a council, a court, or some gathering of wise men," etc. It may also manifest itself in the single figure of a real man--father, lover, brother, teacher, judge, sage, etc. It is in short a manifestation of a man distinguished in some way by mental capacities or other masculine qualities (since when is thinking a purely masculine quality?). Its positive forms are characteristically benevolent, knowledgeable or understanding; its negative aspects are cruelly demanding, violently tyrannical, seductive, moralistic or censorious. It can also function, like that anima, as a bridge between the inner and outer worlds.

THE MOTHER ARCHETYPE: range of images of mother archetype are almost inexhaustible--usually some from of maternal aspect, the underworld, womb-like, etc. Most important of this archetype is mothers of the literal sense followed by those of the figurative. It may also be symbolized in a variety of impersonal forms (paradise [of birth], Kingdom Of God, church, university, city or country, earth, woods, sea, moon, gardens, caves, cooking vessels, certain animals--cow, hare). Evil symbols include, in the Western context, dragons, witches, graves, deep water, and death.

THE CHILD ARCHETYPE: Also takes many forms--child, god, dwarf, hobbits, elf, animals--monkey--or objects: jewels, chalices or the golden ball (trickster like). It represents original or child like conditions in the life of the individual or the species, and thus reminds the conscious mind of its origins and helps to keep them continuous. A necessary reminder when the consciousness become too one sided, too willfully progressive in a manner that threatens the sever the individual from the roots of his or her being. It also signifies the potentiality of future personality development, it anticipates the synthesis of opposites and the attainment of wholeness. Thus it is said to represent the urge and compulsion towards self-realization. This is a reason that so many of the mythical saviour gods are childlike in their nature.

THE WISE OLD MAN: is the archetype of meaning or spirit. It often appears as grandfather, sage, magician, king, doctor, priest, professor, or any other authority figure. It represents insight, wisdom, cleverness, willingness to help, moral qualities. His appearance serves to warn of dangers, provide protective gifts and so one (Gandalf in Lord of the Rings). As with the other archetypes the wise old man also possesses both good and bad aspects.

THE SELF: this is, according to Jung, the most important archetype. It is called the "midpoint of the personality" a centre between consciousness and the unconsciousness. It signifies the harmony and balance between the various opposing qualities that make up the psyche. It remains basically incomprehensible, as ego consciousness cannot grasp this supraordinate personality of which the ego is only one element. The symbols of the self can be anything that the ego takes to be a greater totality than itself. Thus many symbols fall short of expressing the self in its fullest development. Symbols of the self are often manifested in geometrical forms (mandalas) or by the quaternity (Any figure with four parts). Prominent human figures which represent the self are the Buddha or Christ. This archetype is also represented by the divine child and by various pairs--father and son, king and queen, god and goddess, or by a hermaphrodite.

Theriomorphic symbols include powerful animals such as the dragon, the snake, elephant, lion, and bear, etc. It is also expressed by plants--lotus and rose--and various mythic objects--the holy grail, philosopher's stone. To Jung the self is a representation of the "god within us."


To Jung individuation means becoming an in-dividual, it implies becoming one's own self. We could thus translate it as "self-realization." The aim of individuation is nothingness than to divest the self of the false wrappings of the persona and the suggestive power of the archetypes.
Individuation must not be confused with individualism, which over-looks collective factors and seeks some peculiarity valued by the ego. Although Jung calls individuation an "ineluctable (not to be avoided) psychological necessity" he also says that its nature is aristocratic, and that it is available only to individuals who are predisposed to attain a higher degree of consciousness and who are called to it from the beginning (elitism). To Jung the average person is content with limited horizons that do not include knowledge of the collective unconscious. (What does this mean? Is reading Jung enough? Must one go through a crisis?) Still he presumes that wider consciousness may be a universal capacity.

For Jung the process of individuation takes place in two stages: youth and middle age. The time of youth requires and extroverted attitude when one's libido (cf., Freud's) which is directed to outward and material things--marriage, career, education, etc.
The transition from this first stage to the next occur, says Jung, between 35-40. Along with it is supposed to come an urgent need to re-examine accepted values and to appreciate the opposites of earlier ideals. This stage is marked by Introversion where a person's concerns progressively become centred in the internal world and the fuller development of the psyche. This is a time of culture and wisdom and is governed by its own principles which are directed toward the end of self-realization through the union of opposites.

A further pair of basic types that Jung outlines are those of sensation and intuition. These are two differing modes of apprehension. Sensation refers to the process of perceiving physical stimuli from both outward events and inwards organic changes. Its opposite is intuition: which is said to mediate perceptions in an unconscious way. Intuition yields a content that is said to be whole and complete, a knowledge that possesses immediate certainty and conviction (Kant's a priori). Both sensation and intuition are called irrational as they deliver perceptions which are not based upon reason.

The next pairs of types that Jung points out is concerned with the conceptual relationships of psychic contents. He divides the means of doing this into thinking and feeling. Active thinking is directed and undertaken intentionally toward the end of some judgment. Passive thinking is called intuitive and is a case in which conceptual connections seem to establish themselves of their own accord and may lead to judgments that are contrary to one's intention. Both of these forms of thinking are to be distinguished from associative thinking, which produces ideas that form no connections and yield no judgments. Jung, it must be noted, considers only directed thinking to be rational, as the undirected thinking lies in unconscious processes and the idea of associative thinking is not really thinking at all.

Thinking is viewed as an opposite to feeling. It is a process that responds to psychic content with a subjective judgment of values. It is considered rational insofar as it is influenced by reflection and is in accord with the laws of reason.

The ideal situation to Jung is one in which the individual develops equally each of the two attitudes of extroversion and introversion, as well as the four functions of sensation and intuition, thinking and feeling, and also the two modes of apprehension, perceiving and judging. Every one, however, is considered to prefer one or the other opposites that from these pairs. One of the three sets of pairs ailing themselves to the person's aspect of extroversion or introversion. When one function is singled out it becomes superior and remains in conscious behavioral patterns, while the other, less favoured opposites, falls into unconsciousness--called the inferior function--here it remains inaccessible, undifferentiated and autonomous (but not dormant). The remaining two functions become secondary and operate in the service of the superior function.

each of these represents pairs of opposites and the conflict between them provide the psyche with its energy. They are also necessary for renewal and self-regulation. This theme of opposites is the most persuasive and problematic in Jung's writings. That is, conscious/unconscious, rational/irrational, feminine/ masculine, matter/spirit, etc. To Jung's understanding of the unconscious, however, the unification of these pairs of opposites is always possible. Thus Jung sees individuation a never-ending process of differentiation and integration which repeats itself on higher and higher planes. One's analytical abilities function to distinguish, develop, and contrast the individual components of the individual psyche. The creative forces of the unconscious, on the other hand, provide symbols that bring the divided and one-sided elements into unity on a higher level. This is a process which Jung calls the transcendent function, i.e., it is a complex which brings conscious and unconscious together and allows for an organic transition from a 'lower' attitude to a 'higher' one.



The whole nature of man presupposes woman, both physically and spiritually. His system is tuned into woman from the start, just as it is prepared for a quite definite world where there is water, light, air, salt, carbohydrates etc..
"Two Essays in Analytical Psychology" In CW 7: P. 188

The more remote and unreal the personal mother is, the more deeply will the son's yearning for her clutch at his soul, awakening that primordial and eternal image of the mother for whose sake everything that embraces, protects, nourishes, and helps assumes maternal form, from the Alma Mater of the university ot the personification of cities, countries, sciences and ideals
"Paracelsus as a Spiritual Phenomenon" (1942) In CW 13: Alchemical Studies P.47

What can a man say about woman, his own opposite? I mean of course something sensible, that is outside the sexual program, free of resentment, illusion, and theory. Where is the man to be found capable of such superiority? Woman always stands just where the man's shadow falls, so that he is only too liable to confuse the two. Then, when he tries to repair this misunderstanding, he overvalues her and believes her the most desirable thing in the world.
"Women In Europe" (1927). In CW 10: Civilization in Transition. P. 236

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Mind is the closest thing to our Reality...Be careful how you use it. Businessman, yogi, teacher, addicted to laughing...