At a Crossroad

In the Eye of the Storm

An individual response to the Global Crisis

ISSN 1939-3407


April 6, 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.

But, just as our free will clashes with necessity in the outside world, so also it finds its limits outside the field of consciousness in the subjective inner world, where it comes into conflict with fact of the self. And just as circumstances or outside events “happen” to us and limit our freedom, so the Self acts upon the ego like an objective occurrence which free will can do very little to alter. It is, indeed, well known that the ego not only can do nothing against the Self, but is sometimes actually assimilated by unconscious components of the personality that are in the process of development and is greatly altered by them. (Jung & Hull, 1959/1968, pp. 5-6)

The bifurcation calls to make a choice, since I cannot go in both directions at the same time. So rather than choose quickly, I spend time in the moment of choice and photograph it. I listen to visual mind as a photographer that considers the potential of the interplay between subject and light. I hear my ego as it justifies the best way. I reflect from a deeper place that gives me the idea that I will be led to where I am supposed to be.

In this time of stay at home, I make the time to listen more deeply. I listen from that deeper place before the ego, from the source of the ego, so that I may incorporate more “unconscious components”. I can dedicate time to realize and strengthen my inferior functions. I make use of what has “happened” in life’s circumstances.

It is important that I remember I contribute to the collective during this time by staying healthy on the outside as well as inside.

Each one of us must confront this crossroad between our individual preference, our deeper wisdom and the needs of the Collective. While some of these may be aligned, others may be in conflict. We may prefer to socialize, go to work, exercise our freedom to pray communally, while a deeper part of us may caution that caution is the better part of valor. We may prefer to stash food, cleaning products, masks, medicine, but a deeper part of us compels us to restrain our survivalist instincts in service of altruism and collective welfare. Both instincts may be usurped by the demands of the collective, e.g. imposed self-quarantine if in doubt about the potential virus exposure. Each one of us must navigate these choices; balancing the conscious preferences, deeper guidance and collective demands. May the Source be with you.

Points to Ponder

How does your free will clash with the outside world?

What will you do, or have you done today for physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual nourishment?

What moments of choice have you seen today?

What path have you taken, and how do you assess your choice?

What conflicts do you experience between your conscious preferences, deeper intuition and community demands?

How do you balance these conflicting demands?

Photo taken in Los Angeles, California

Jung, C. G., & Hull, R. F. C. (1959/1968). Aion : researches into the phenomenology of the self (2nd ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.

© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH.D.