November 13th, 2021
Today I am directly conscious of the anima’s ideas because I have learned to accept the contents of the unconscious and to understand them. I know how I must behave toward the inner images. I can read their meaning directly from my dreams, and therefore no longer need a mediator to communicate them.
(Jung, 1961, p. 188)
She watches the world in a relaxed position. When I look at her, I feel the comfort of a sigh. There is nothing to do, nowhere to go. There is only this moment.
The image engages the observer in me. It helps me step back away from the activity of the outside world and rest in the quiet inside. I place my awareness in the stillness. The only movement I feel is my breath. I notice a sense of peace and rest within. My mind is receptive to the soft qualities of life. I relax and float on stillness.
I am grateful for the spectrum of my life. I have qualities the world sees, and I have much deeper places that only I know, as well as those yet to be revealed. The lioness image invites me to accept what is, be in the moment, be who I am in my wholeness. When I sit still, my wholeness resonates with the personal and collective aspects of the known and unknown. It tells me, “Stillness is natural. The lioness rests in her moment of now.”
It takes thousands of years of human civilization to distill the simple truths of life. Some of this wisdom is embedded in our scriptures, philosophies, literature and art. This works for most people most of the time but not for all individuals all the time. Then they must find their own path through their inner work. The wisdom of the civilization may guide this inner work, but this is essentially a solitary adventure to the center of your being. Many schools of Depth Psychology provide a rough map on this path but at the end, it is an adventure with uncertain outcome. But the journey is always a reward unto itself.
In this brief communication, we cannot outline the wisdom of the scriptures and philosophies, art and literature or the nuances of the depth psychology to guide our path, but we can offer a glimpse into this mystery. For our personal quest, we may attend to our inner life by creating rituals to honor the Path via Silence, Solitude, Studio time, Journaling, attention to our dreams and synchronicities, fascinations and antipathies, and the symbolic perspective on life, relationships and our symptoms.
We may certainly subscribe to a religion or a philosophy, which gives us prefab template to follow the Path laid out by the great, old souls that have walked their Path and left their wisdom for us to harvest. Here are two precious nuggets from two great traditions.
Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra is one of the six Sutras or templates to navigate our spiritual Path to the core of our mystery. It has 196 eternal principals crystallized over thousands of years to guide the pilgrims on their Path to the Soul. The first prescription is an invitation to embark onto the Path The second prescription is the only one necessary to follow. The other 194 prescriptions are about how to optimize the prescription number two. This is the central tenet of the Hindu philosophy:
Yogas citta vritti nirodhah
Yogah (Yogas)= Yoga is
Citta= mind stuff matrix
Vritti= modification or turbulence
Nirodhah = restraint, stillness
The Stillness of the Mind Yokes the individual to the divine – Brahman consciousness. (Satchidanada, 1978), page 3, (Chapter 1. Par 2)
When we sit still, in silence and solitude, and steady our monkey-mind, our distracted consciousness, we tune into the eternal, Brahman consciousness or the Collective Consciousness – the Unus Mundus.
We may only establish this stillness if we feel safe and protected. The Psalm 46 or the Hebrew Scriptures guides us in feeling safety in the presence of the Divine.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells.
5 God is within her, she will not fall;
God will help her at break of day.
6 Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts.
7 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
8 Come and see what the Lord has done,
the desolations he has brought on the earth.
9 He makes wars cease
to the ends of the earth.
He breaks the bow and shatters the spear;
he burns the shields] with fire.
10 He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.”
11 The Lord Almighty is with us;
the God of Jacob is our fortress.
Each one of us must find their own paradigm to feel the presence of this mystery that is eternal, omniscient, omnipresent, transcendent and immanent.
The image chosen today is the lion a symbol of Christ yet in his lioness mode of Sophia, what Jung would call the missing fourth; the feminine, the Holy Virgin in the great Christian tradition, a blind spot that was addressed by the Catholic Church in 1950 thus in the acknowledgement of Assumptio Maria –
The Assumption of Mary is one of the four Marian dogmas of the Catholic Church and holds that the Virgin Mary “having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory”. The dogma was defined by Pope Pius XII on 1 November 1950, in the apostolic constitution Munificentissimus Deus.
Points to Ponder:
- What do you do with the images of your dreams?
- What moments of waking life engage you most?
- How to you balance your life?
- If dreams are the messenger and the message, as Jung suggests in the above quote, what is your response?
- Do you have a ritual to create the sacred space for solitude and stillness?
- During these moments, what is your paradigm for engaging the deeper consciousness?
- Do you Journal, record and ponder your dreams, reflect on significant events?
- Do you create a drawing or Mandala to embody your inner process?
- Do you have other rituals like Prayer, walking Meditation, or any contemplative practice?
- Do you feel the presence of the Mystery or a non-ordinary experience?
- Do you tune into the profound in the mundane? E.g., the glorious sunrise, the beckoning sunset, the soothing moonlight, the sacred sound of the flow of a spring, the magic of the birds flapping about outside your window, the innocent smile of a child?
Jung, C. G. (1961). Memories, Dreams, Reflections (R. a. C. Winston, Trans. April 1989 ed.). New York: Vintage Books.
Satchidanada, S. S. (1978). The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. Buckingham, Virginia: Integral Yoga Publications.
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