November 20th, 2021
The ever-flowing fountain expresses a continual flow of interest toward the unconscious, a kind of constant attention or “religio,” which might also be called devotion. The crossing of unconscious contents into consciousness is thus made considerably easier, and this is bound to benefit the psychic balance in the long run…. If attention is directed to the unconscious, the unconscious will yield up its contents, and these in turn will fructify the conscious like a fountain of loving water. For consciousness is just as arid as the unconscious if the two halves of our psychic life are separated. (Jung, 1970, pp. 162-163 para 193)
Fountains activate my visual, auditory, olfactory, feeling, and imaginative centers. I often feel cleansed as I watch and listen to the sounds of water bubbling up and cascading out of the bowl and into the pool. I encounter the here and now in a way that settles my mind. The outside world and all its issues disappear as I internalize the image. It happens in an instant as the fountain’s flow creates stillness in me.
I imagine I am the fallen blossom on the edge of the bowl. I feel two worlds. I am in the flow of the water as it shifts from the bowl and falls into the bigger pool below. I feel the air above me. I relax in the union of above and below.
I stay here until the flow moves me into the pool below. Life is a dance of the flow of the psychic energy between the conscious and the unconscious, between the individual and the universe, between the soul and the Spirit, between the Atman and the Brahman. Each one of us orchestrates this dance to our own archetypal music, our personal myth, our Dharmic trajectory, our teleological purpose in this lifetime, our destiny brought to full blossom in a lived life, fully integrated into as a spoke in the cogwheel of the maturation of the universe towards its own emergence into its fullest potential supported (or impeded) by human enterprise.
However, this dance is only possible if we find our unique musical beat to dance to. Otherwise, it remains a lower existence, not claiming our fullest innate potential towards higher consciousness. The Vedanta scriptures of the Hindus postulates that we evolve through the five stages of consciousness – mineral, vegetable, animal, human and God. (Parthasarathy, 2015)page, 36
The symphony of this archetypal music is created by the orchestra of our potentials to bridge the consciousness to our unconscious flow under the guidance of the conductor – the Self or the Soul in collaboration with the first chair – the Ego consciousness. Then the unique symphony of our life is created. Who are the musicians in this symphony? Each one of us has our own unique assembly of the orchestra of our individuation depending on our personal myth or mission we must attain in this life. However, there are certain musicians that one may consider in every orchestra.
These include making room for the dialogue between the fountain and its pool. I know I am synthesizing two analogies here, but that creates its own unique image and music, perhaps a musical fountain! These musicians include
- Creating sacred space for inner life
- Silence and solitude
- Sitting still
- Contemplative attitude
- Specific contemplative practices e.g., prayer, centering prayer, Yoga, Meditation, Pranayama, Mindfulness, Ignatian practices, Mandala construction, Active Imagination, Creative processes, Sand Tray images, Dreams construction and many more
- These may be further infused with reading the Scriptures of your own tradition.
- Jung recommends learning about other cultures, at least one, to provide an Archimedean point to attend to the blind spots in your own tradition.
- A Reflective attitude that is open to the mystery of the symbolic dimension of life. (Jung, 1976)
- Paying attention to art, artists, music, nature and esoteric, alchemic aspects of our culture.(Jung, 1966)
- Anchoring these symbolic insights through the practice of journaling our dreams, feelings, events and our discernment and reflections about the unconscious dimension of life, relationships, symptoms, synchronicities and movement of seasons.
When we tune into this music of life, and play the musical score of our personal myth, guided by the conductor Soul and supported by the first chair Ego, then we become a part of the symphony of the Universe and return the water from the fountain of our lived life into the pool of the flow of consciousness of the Universe, returning the water of life, refined by the alchemic fountain (Jung, 1968a, 1968b) of our individuation and make this world a little bit better than we found it (or more contaminated if stay at the lower levels of consciousness).
Hindus believe that it takes millions of incarnations through many life forms till our soul attains human consciousness towards its goal of merger with the Spirit or the Brahman consciousness. If we miss this opportunity, we may have to repeat the cycles – which may be fun if you enjoy the ride, but for those who are ready to go home to their source, the time is NOW, this lifetime!
Points to Ponder
- What part of the image captures your attention?
- What does the image activate in you?
- What flows in your life?
- How do you respond to the flow?
- How do the known and unknown connect in your life?
- What is the music that you dance to in your life?
- What is your personal myth: child, mother, father, warrior, lover, leader, mentor?
- Who are the musicians in the orchestra of your life? Do you pay attention to dreams, read scriptures and wisdom texts, have a contemplative practice?
- Do you live on the surface or are you curious about the symbolic dimension of life?
- Are you curious about the mystery that surrounds you: why are you in your town, with your partner, with a certain job, a particular workmate, have a certain advisor, doctor, therapist?
- Do you create the sacred space for your inner life?
- Are you tuned into the mystery of the Alchemic fountain and pool of your life?
- Are you purifying or contaminating the pool of the Universe?
Jung, C. G. (1966). The spirit in man, art, and literature, Volume 15 (Vol. 20). New York: Pantheon Books.
Jung, C. G. (1968a). Alchemical studies, Volume 13 (Vol. 20). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Jung, C. G. (1968b). Psychology and alchemy, Volume 12 (2 ed. Vol. 12). London: Routledge & Kegan Paul ; Princeton, N.J. : Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1970). Mysterium coniunctionis : an inquiry into the separation and synthesis of psychic opposites in alchemy (2d ed. Vol. 14). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Jung, C. G. (1976). The symbolic life: miscellaneous writings, Volume 18 (Vol. 18). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press.
Parthasarathy, A. (2015). Vedanta treatise : The eternities (17th ed.). London: Vedanta Institute.
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.
© Ashok Bedi, M.D. and Robert BJ Jakala, PH. D