Living between realms: Embodying

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embodying

Second in series of three articles ‘Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering.’ – Carl G. Jung, from Psychology and Religion: West and East   In the first article, we saw that what Carl Jung viewed as the path of becoming an authentic individual, involves much more than changing our philosophies, beliefs or correcting our ‘errors of thought’. Deep and lasting transformation of our being involves processes that shape us at the core. Such change has to be imprinted on a body level; it has to be embodied to be lasting. We saw that for this to occur, requires that we ‘stay close to […]

Living between realms: Individuation

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Between

First in series of three articles ‘The effect of the death experience is to bring home at a crucial moment a radical transformation.’ – James Hillman, from Suicide and the Soul Castaneda’s Don Juan taught that ‘death is the only wise advisor we have.’ Even though Castaneda’s path is fundamentally different from ‘a path of soul’ in many ways, his ideas often touch authentically into the realm of archetypal images, and so resonate with profound meaning. Whether death is our only wise advisor, may be a worthwhile enquiry. But is there not something deeply profound about the idea that death is our ‘advisor’? It is […]

Invoking Sophrosyne

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sophrosyne

‘Sophrosyne is the greatest virtue, and wisdom is speaking and acting the truth, paying heed to the nature of things.’ – Heraclitus, fragment 112 It happens fairly often. Inside ourselves or in others while in conversation with them, or when we’re alone. Suddenly a light goes on, a flash of insight hits home. With relief and perhaps a satisfied smile, we feel and we say, ‘ah, so it’s all a matter of balance then.’ As if we have found the one key that is so essential. As if in the end, the freedom of ‘enlightenment’ can be had if only we may have that one […]

Underworld of shadows

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shadow

‘What has no shadow has no strength to live.’ – Czeslaw Milosz, from his poem Faith ‘Love crowns you and crucifies you’ Shadow is the darkness that my simple act of being here casts across the earth. The more I walk in the light, the starker my shadow. It is the evil I am, but which I don’t see. The vehement energy with which I deny my evil reveals its presence in me. Especially, the evil in others that pains me so, reflects its hidden shadow in my own being. Sometimes I catch a glimpse of it. But usually, without noticing, I cover over what I […]

Encounter in the forest

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encounter in the forest

‘Do not say the moment was imagined Do not stoop to strategies like this As someone long prepared for this to happen Go firmly to the window, drink it in Exquisite music Alexandra laughing Your first commitments tangible again … As someone long prepared for the occasion In full command of every plan you wrecked Do not choose a coward’s explanation that hides behind the cause and the effect’ – Leonard Cohen, from his song  Alexandra Leaving High up in the forest, early morning. No-one else around this high up, so early. Space to breathe. A tender layer of clouds stretching across the flowing hills […]

Visitation

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visitation

Back-ache swoops in for a visit. My old friend. His intensity more explicit as he grows older. As we near our inevitable end. Why is it? When first comes his knock (and ‘I’ decline) my soul present spirit is ‘me, an old man’. Stuck. Hard as rock.

meanwhile … life fades away

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white wall

late winter’s afternoon sunlight dapples the white wall little jump spider rushes across the lazy light’s play jumps on a fly, ricochets back one step. pauses. fly flies off late winter’s afternoon light sadly flits here and there on the white wall. spider stands still. i wonder: while she now stands there, so still, is little jump spider carried away by her struggle with severe self-criticism? arguing with herself ‘did i do something wrong?’ ‘what exactly happened there?’ ‘how could i let that happen?’

Ruminations on ‘God’

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On God

‘Theology takes Gods literally and we do not. In archetypal psychology Gods are imagined. They are formulated ambiguously, as metaphors for modes of experience…. They are the lords of the soul’s realms of being…. The soul cannot be, except in one of their patterns. All psychic reality is governed by one or another archetypal fantasy, given sanction by a God. I cannot but be in them.’ – James Hillman, from Re-Visioning Psychology When we truly hear the above quote from James Hillman, we ‘see’ that we cannot speak of soul without attending to the meaning of ‘God’. It means Psychology inevitably dances intimately with Theology. […]

On the inside of God’s face

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archetypes

‘Religious experience is absolute; it cannot be disputed. You can only say that you have never had such an experience, whereupon your opponent will reply: “Sorry, I have.” And there your discussion will come to an end.’ – Carl Gustav Jung, from Psychology and Religion Archetypal Psychology The psychology infusing the culture from where these pages are written is called Archetypal Psychology. Therefore, a central question is, ‘what are archetypes?’ Some say they are really no less than ‘the gods’ or different aspects of God. Others emphasise that they are ‘patterns for life and death from which all that exist are born’. That they pre-exist […]

Longing from a vanishing world

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the message

‘We must allow ourselves to be disappointed, which means the surrendering of me-ness, my achievement. We would like to watch ourselves attain enlightenment … with miracles and earthquakes occurring and gods and angels singing and so forth. This never happens. The attainment of enlightenment from ego’s point of view is extreme death. It is the ultimate and final disappointment. Treading the spiritual path is painful. It is a constant unmasking, peeling off of layer after layer of masks.’ – Chogyam Trungpa, from The Myth of Freedom Blessed evening It was a beautiful autumn evening. We were sitting outside on the patio under the trees in […]