Mind and Mirror

We have not understood yet that the discovery of the unconscious means an enormous spiritual task, which must be accomplished if we wish to preserve our civilization.
-C.G. Jung

The Dialogue training that I took and taught for many years began with the tenet, “Are you willing to change your thinking?” This is a bigger question than we realize.

The unconscious Jung refers to is everything we can’t see – about ourselves, what influences us, what makes up our personal and external reality.  Buckminster Fuller often remarked that 99.9% of what we think is reality is undetectable to us so far. This is a very major thing to realize.

Jung believed that our task as humans is to make the unconscious conscious. There are methods ancient and modern for pulling into consciousness that which resides outside of it  — deep silence, meditation, dreams, shamanic journeys, vision quests, trances, plant medicines, poetry, art, music; we do have helps.

One of the major helps for us as humans, often unrealized, is that which comes to us through relationships. Since the unconscious is UN-conscious, we can’t see it ourselves. It’s like trying to look at our own back. We need a mirror. Fellow humans hold up mirrors for us so that we can see what we are missing.

The glitch is this; when the other holds up a mirror and says look at this, see what I am seeing about you, since we have never seen it or thought about it before, and since we become identified with ourselves from another view, we tend to reject the vision shown to us. That other person doesn’t get it or understand.

I have witnessed this problem vividly in personal experience of late, and in talking to others in relationships who tend to reject out of hand the mirrors being held up for them – not because they want or need to, but because they just CAN’T see it.

Especially if we have someone to hold up a mirror to us with love and non-judgment, accepting what is shown in that mirror is one of the greatest gifts life can give to create a window into the unseen about ourselves and universe.  The human mirror in many ways is the most refined, patterned for us and by us.

We haven’t figured out relationships yet as a species. As scientist Brian Swimme says, in terms of earth evolution, if we were to scale that evolution on a 24-hour time map, relationship between organisms only showed up on the scene in the last few seconds.  They are new to life on earth. But when we get it, when we begin to get the magic in it, evolution for our species will surely quicken, and the relationship between the unconscious and the conscious mind will develop more fully.

As Jung said finding that relationship is a great spiritual task. As yet, it is not for the weak of heart or mind.

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2 Responses to “Mind and Mirror”

  1. Scott Atkins Says:

    I’m reminded of the scene on “What the Bleep” where the natives couldn’t see the ship ‘The Mayflower’ when it was in front of them

    And then there’s Robert Moss’s admonition that “dreamwork isn’t a spectator sport”

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