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This is a guest post from LaDonna Remy ~ http://perspectiveontrauma.com
From the writings of Carl Gustav Jung.
“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” ~ Carl G. Jung
Knowing and accepting oneself, fully, is a life’s work. One in which making the unconscious conscious, as Jung so eloquently states, in the above quote, is the real work in understanding and having direction in our lives.
This is not an easy journey. For Jung this meant finding one’s individual purpose in life. This individuation comes through gaining an understanding of one’s life story (that which lives in our personal unconscious) and further understanding that we are interconnected, as a people, and driven by forces held within our collective unconscious or collective conscience.
If you’re on a journey to know your own self (as Jung theorized is the purpose of this life) reading his sometimes mind bending and always thought-provoking work is a good companion in this process. Jung’s work and philosophies are deeply fascinating as they appear to merge the mystical and analytical to support one’s journey toward both understanding the self and contributing to a better world.
Carl Jung is one of the most influential and well-respected voices in analytic psychology. In reading his memoir (Memories, Dreams, Reflections) his courage and belief in doing (and living) what he believed was right, even in the face of incredible adversity, is evident.
Jung spoke of the soul (in part) as our center and the holder of unconscious material. The material found in the collective unconscious, that we are each born to our lifetime with. (Our ancestral and societal experiences). He believed that we receive messages from our unconscious that directs us in the process of individuation or finding our purpose. (In essence our higher calling.)
He recognized in his work and his writings (almost to the demise of his reputation and career) that there are larger internal and external forces at work in our lives. Further that these forces contain polarity. (Good and evil, difference and sameness, effectiveness and ineffectiveness’, beauty, and ugliness, etc.) It is this polarity that we must wrestle with, often unbeknownst to us, as we ideally find and live our purpose. This in turn, through outward manifestation, creates a better society for all.
He saw this process as identifying and accepting the polarity (good/evil) within us (through both our personal and collective history) as our work. An integration of our shadow, so to speak. It is in understanding the conflict between the poles, found here, and consciously wrestling with and choosing (for example) good over evil that we come to know and live our purpose or higher calling.
We could easily succumb to the less difficult path by not questioning or by going along with the larger masses or status quo. Within this process we unwittingly lend ourselves to further individual and collective pain. Believing this is fated. We simply accept and never struggle with the questions of our part in creating our own inner turmoil and the collective outward effects this has on the larger world.
In his memoir, Jung wrote of this process (the process of wrestling with and integrating our personal and collective shadow) stating “Such a conflict always presupposes a higher sense of responsibility”.
Jung, born in 1875, was exploring and beginning to share his theories in the early 1900’s. A time when psychiatry and psychology were in their infancy. His exploration over time (of this internal world) engaged and incorporated the work of theology, mythology, alchemy, dream analysis, symbolism, synchronicity, individuation, archetypes, paradoxical dilemma, world cultures and practices, thoughts on life after death, intuition/mediumship, and depths of the individual human psyche and collective consciousness.
It would have been easy for him to have gone along with the influential thinking of his time (where asylums were a predominate form of treatment) thankfully he did not. He explored the vast world of his clients and his own internal and ancestral self, incorporating the above ideologies, against considerable backlash. His work and personal journey gave us a much deeper and broader understanding of the human journey.
His contribution has been profound, much more detailed than what can be written here, and when understood lends much to individual and societal growth.
In one of his last writings (in 1959 prior to his passing in 1961) he summed his thinking on this matter very clearly in stating the following. “Today humanity as never before, is split into two apparently irreconcilable halves. The psychological rule says that when an inner situation is not made conscious, it happens outside, as fate. That is to say; when the individual remains undivided and does not become conscious of his inner contradictions, the world must per force act out the conflict and be torn into opposite halves”.
As written about, in previous posts, the current state of our world could be understood within Jungian concepts as could answers to many of the struggles we face individually and collectively. One would believe a considerable change might occur if we each struggled with our part, looking deeply into the eye of our own and our society’s history, and worked diligently to hold our self (through conscious thought and action) and in turn our society to the highest standard of accountability for the collective good of all citizens.
As always, I will add resources at the end of this article.
Deepest care and highest respect,
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Treatment Referral Helpline: (1-877-726-4727)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-825
Jung Carl G. and Jaffe’ Aneila: Memories, Dreams, Reflections.
Jung Carl G: The Red Book.
Jung Carl G: Modern Man in Search of a Soul.
Whitney, Mark. Matter of Heart.
To see more of this writer’s work ~ http://perspectiveontrauma.com