Posts Tagged ‘Carl Jung’

Your Twin Self

February 25, 2015

20150225_172638I was taught much by an African teacher who helped me undergo ritual initiation over a lengthy period, a time when I was working hard to reconstruct myself after shattering events in my life. One concept that has been with me strongly is the notion that each of us have a Twin Self. He explained that his people in Nigeria say that our Twin Self is an aspect of us that exists outside of the constraints and limitations that we experience in our incarnated life. He told me, “You should build an altar to your Twin Self.” I have always remembered this teaching but never actually built that altar until today.

The image I have in my head is of something like an umbilical cord – suggesting that my Twin Self is mother to the self I experience from day to day in time on Earth, and energy and consciousness flow to me through that cord to support growth and development during my stay here. The purpose for building an altar to that Self would be to strengthen the connection, open the flow, nourish the “blood” with conscious intention, enhance the capabilities of that Self’s entry into my worldly life by increasing awareness of what it does and can do if I align and cooperate with it.

Two dreams that I have had speak to me of this Twin Self. One took place during the time of my breakdown, and the other occurred just two nights ago. The first dream from the late 90’s I only remember dimly now but will investigate my dream journals from that period soon. In it, many of us were standing on the side of a very deep lake. In the dream I had a twin who had drowned in that lake. Big equipment was being used to excavate her. Finally she was located — and when she was lifted up it felt like an aspect of myself being resurrected. There was work to be done to revive her and repair the connection, but now that we had found her we could begin. At the time I felt the dream to be offering to me a sense of meaning and purpose in the painful difficulties of my life at the time. Shamans might call this a soul retrieval.

In the dream of two nights ago I saw two fields of vivid energy – a variety of golden colors made each of them up. On the left field there was a dense mass of that energy in the center of it, very dense. On the right was a similar constellation of energy, but without the density, made of lightness. They were connected to each other, reflections of each other maybe, and each of them were me. After I awakened thoughts about what my Nigerian teacher told me regarding the Twin Self began burning in my psyche. I sensed the dream was telling me to think more actively on this.

And so I built an altar. I found a picture (which I posted above) taken of me at age 20 in Kyoto, Japan, in front of the great Buddha statue there. It suggests the smaller me and the larger me. I put a little bouquet of recently found feathers, a flower, sacred objects, stones and crystals around it. And now I will pray. I hope to find my voice more solidly, connect with my writing muse, feel a sense of clear direction in my personal and professional life, help people and the planet regarding issues that I feel passionate about and trained in. Like strengthening the signal that brings in more information on our computers or cell phones, I feel guided now to empower the connection with this aspect of my Spirit that sees and knows.

A recent dream experience showed me great energies and powers that we swim in and can utilize as I was “out” of my body, moving around in what might be called the dreamtime. But as I was awakening from the dream I felt myself condensing and condensing into the density of matter in the waking life that we are living in this particular time/space continuum here on Earth. It felt hard to come back, like I might not even make it, and also sad, like so much of who we are is “forgotten” here.

I offer this to you in case it inspires you to reflect and maybe connect more solidly with your own Twin Self. I think this concept is similar to what is spoken of in religions as “soul”, or the Higher Self, or in Jungian psychology as the Self. We know of it. But somehow those terms have seemed a little more vague to me than this idea of the Twin Self that is me and who lives as me in other realms, even as I am finding my way through this realm.

Our human life needs helpful perspective for the dilemmas we find ourselves in – with the complexities of modern life, the largest human population ever to live together on our little Spaceship Earth, issues of global warming – and so much more. Maybe this concept can help enlarge our view.

Finding the Natural Man Again

January 28, 2014

Our task is to return to Nature, not in the manner of Rousseau, but to our own nature; to find the natural man again. Instead of this, there is nothing we like better than systems and methods by which we can repress the natural man which is everywhere at cross purposes with us. ~C.G. Jung

I have begun in earnest writing the book that I have been pregnant with for several years; it’s the thing that feels like the rest of my life has been on hold waiting for me to deliver. I thought I had to figure out how to support myself better before I could give such time to writing. I’m abandoning that logic. If I don’t deliver this baby I’m gonna explode. It continues to feel more urgent rather than less.

I want to attempt to summarize here what the message of the book is. If I can communicate that in this short writing then maybe the longer one will unfold more simply. Certainly any reflective response would be welcome. Is this a book that you, my blog readers, would want to take in?

To set the stage will be a personal story that explains what brought me to a strong concern about finding the natural man again. Briefly, I was a minister, a wife and a mother when the unraveling of former frames of mind began. This led to my resignation from the ministry, a horrid trauma for me, for my family and for the people who were my extended family in the ministry. Not long after this, my youngest daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, which was a trauma beyond description for me. I speak for myself here and do not want to speak for her. She is astonishingly brave and smart and amazing about it. Some time later came the third and final blow that at last felled the tree that had been me – revelations that led to the dissolution of my long and previously much loved marriage. It was a cosmic one-two-three punch, barely any strength regathered before the next blow came. I was completely shattered, lost 40 pounds, didn’t know up from down, in from out, or who said what for a very long time.

Only in nature did I feel sane and at peace, sometimes miraculously as if nothing had happened. There, an ancient part of me knew exactly what was going on. The architecture of my own civilization, the person I had become through education, enculturation and religion was gone, seemingly without a trace. I barely recognized myself or the world around me. All of the training and assumptions from that former world had not even remotely prepared me for this. Who is this being who survives? From whence emerges this archaic, natural (wo)man?

I said aloud to myself, before I had ever heard it said by any other, that an indigenous person dwelt inside of me and had been awakened. That person, like indigenous people the world over, has modes of perception, ways of knowing and being that had never been taught to me, they were just there. Innate. The messages of birds, wind, rock, stream, trees were coming in. The non-human world is full of intelligent, lively communication that speaks a very discernible language. I experienced myself as a thread in the fabric of everything, a cell in the big body of the cosmos, one with all things, awake to the song emitting from the stars. It was mystical, but not; mostly just natural. I knew that this indigenous person inside of me, like indigenous persons the world over, had been conquered, colonized, marginalized, shamed and suppressed; yet here she was, surviving.

Outwardly during that period it seemed like I had lost my mind; my daughters said I kept repeating things, and asking the same question over and over. I have suspected that I might have had a stroke. Inwardly, however, it felt like I was finding my mind for the first time. This mind I have come to call “the indigenous mind.” I developed a conviction that over centuries of developing the thinking that has produced our modern world we threw the baby out with the bathwater. The primal mind was over-ridden, considered unnecessary, outgrown. Because of this loss, we now upset the balance of nature; toxify our water, air and food supply; destroy personal, social and planetary health and well-being without even knowing what we are doing, why things have gone awry, or imagining what we might do to rectify damage when we do recognize it. As Einstein said, “a problem cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that produced the problem in the first place.” Another level of thinking entirely, another mind, is needed.

Just last night, January 27, 2014, on NBC Nightly News in a light-hearted little piece about ice-fishing in Minnesota words were used describing “man against nature”, humans proudly declaring themselves as “conquerors” of nature. Language is a powerful tool. Such wording concerns me that collectively we unthinkingly separate ourselves out and forget that we ARE nature, nature is us, and by such posturing and language we place ourselves at war with our own self, and in this may lose the possibility of our own survival. This is a war we are not going to win.

Recovery of the indigenous mind may be imperative. How to integrate it with the mind we have developed is difficult work.This is a rigorous journey that I have committed myself to utterly. I completed a doctorate in Depth Psychology, my dissertation topic being “Reawakening Indigenous Sensibilities in the Western Psyche.” I have worked extensively with shamans from a variety of indigenous cultures, as well as engaging in-depth and long term work with gifted Jungian analysts. In 2004 I moved to a wilderness location in the mountains of Western North Carolina where I started a retreat center to work with people around these concerns – leading retreats, vision quests and sweat lodges. I lived alone in nature for more than 8 years.  

Now I am down from the mountain, in town, ready to write and to begin a new phase of my work. I do dream analysis and depth psychological work with private clients in my office in downtown Asheville. My commitment to continue personal work as well as work with others around recovering the indigenous mind continues unabated. I await further insight – what does this work want from me going forward?

Regarding our future on this planet, I continue to be concerned and want to do whatever I can to assist. The human psyche is my study, finding the natural man again my quest. Jung articulated his concerns clearly, and I am with him in the following statements: 

We need more psychology. We need more understanding of human nature, because the only real danger that exists is man himself. He is the great danger, and we are pitifully unaware of it. We know nothing of man, far too little. His psyche should be studied because we are the origin of all coming evil.

Can we not understand that all of the outward tinkerings and improvements do not touch man’s inner nature, and that everything ultimately depends upon whether the man who wields the science and the technics is capable of responsibility or not?
~C.G. Jung

My book will speak of my own journey of awakening, offer research, describe ideas and methods for recovery, and will add my voice to the body of literature being written now addressing a broad mutual concern over the future of our planet, the human’s relationship with the natural world and with our own natural selves. I share with you now this focus and intention.

My Carl Jung Action Figure

October 4, 2011
Carl Jung Action Figure

Carl Jung Action Figure

I have numerous totemic items around my house that fortify the environment with their imagery, energy, artistry and energetic properties. Many of them had to be stored safely away to clear the area for other activity while 115 people, including lots of children, came through my house during the weekend wedding event in September.

One figure that remained, who has been catching my eye and capturing my imagination through the past month, is the wonderful little piece of plastic that my youngest daughter Arlene gave to me, my Carl Jung Action Figure. The original packaging had a huge shadow of the figure behind it with scary graphics, “Beware of the shadow.” There’s Carl in his suit with his pipe in hand; like, “I’m just sayin’!”

In the dimensions that human consciousness seems to exist within, there is a back side and a front side to everything. An up side and a downside. An inside and an outside. A you side and a me side. A his side and a her side. This world and the otherworld. The living and the dead. There is what we do know and what we don’t know. The sayable and the unsayable. We live in a world of opposites that cannot be separated. Like the light side and the dark side of the moon, they are one thing. But we so often forget about or deny the back of everything, what we don’t see and remain unaware of.

“Shadow” in Jungian terms is the parts of self and life that we are unaware of. That, in my estimation, is 99% of what is going on. If we think we know, we are probably wrong.

Looking into a mirror, we see the front side of what we present to the world, with a little twist maybe the side view, or with a hand mirror the back view. Without a mirror we don’t see ourselves at all. Think about it. Everyone else sees us coming and going, sideways and all ways, but we don’t ever see our self ever without a reflecting tool. This doesn’t mean someone else knows us by seeing us, but – think about it  – we don’t even see ourselves. This is a metaphor for everything, really. We don’t see the “other” dimensions of almost anything we are looking at. There is a whole lot of shadow going on. “I’m just sayin’,” says Carl.

To “know” is a virtue, something rewarded by teachers and parents and peers and public all through life. To not know – you failed that “course”. Embarrassment. Pain. Shame.

What? NOT knowing is the truth! Knowing is so, so, so, so limited and limiting.

We gotta get over it. I’m just sayin’.

Domesticated and Undomesticated Mind

May 19, 2011

Living between town and mountain presents challenges at nearly every step, impossible to anticipate before I stepped into this adventure a few weeks ago. For the past many years while living on the mountain, most of the dreamwork I did with people took place in telephone sessions or during retreats, where I had more full access to the spirits that inhabit that place. As people told me their dreams I would look out the window at vast uninhabited spaces. Trees, clouds, winds, forest and silence supported my musings. I walked into the dreamtime landscapes almost without obstruction.

In my office in Weaverville much of the work that I do is still on the telephone as I build up a base of interested dreamers to come for sessions personally. I sit at my desk and look out at trees in a lovely landscaped garden while taking in the dream reports. Zoom, a car goes by. Joggers run through. Wafting sounds of people talking. I haven’t had these sights or sounds around me while doing this work for 7 years. They startle me out of the dreamspace, but I am learning to hold the dreaming mind as steady as possible. This is a learning curve.

I take walks from here and see carefully landscaped outdoor spaces. On the mountain all of my walks are taken in wild places. Undomesticated. The trillium are now blooming on the forest floors, soon will be blue bells, then the rhododendrons. These present every year not because any human cared to plant or arrange them. They just come. I look at in-town gardens that are gorgeously designed by human minds and LOVE them, but they make me feel confused. I have maybe been away too long.

I have been remembering terms used by French social anthropolgist Claude Levi-Strauss, the scientist who foresaw human doom through culture’s stripping of the mind from it’s primary or primitive sites. He described what he called Domesticated Mind vs. the Savage Mind, and thought culture’s demands for training the mind are moving us rapidly toward extinction. He was accused of severe pessimism, and did not think our species was headed in a sustainable direction. I know that Buckminster Fuller died with concerns about the Critical Path (his book title) humans are on. Jung wrote a brilliant essay entitled “Two Kinds of Thinking” elaborating on the advancement of “directed” thinking over mythic and dream states of thought. Heidegger called the inclination “technological thinking,” which he saw as manipulation of mind.

I have been using the term “the indigenous mind” to describe what I believe to be capabilities of mind excluded in our thrust toward modernization, to the demise of human and planetary balance. My coming down from the mountain now after living for nearly 7 years as a near hermit, my mind given freedom to live in an intentionally undomesticated way as largely as possible, presents me with challenges for real integration of these states of mind.

I believe that these worlds can and must be bridged. I do not believe one state should be demonized or eradicated by the other. I am seeing this is a mountain to climb for us. Difficult, but I truly believe, doable.

Making Consciousness

February 9, 2010

Carl Jung suggests that the purpose of our lives as humans is to make the unconscious conscious. We all go about it in our various ways, but that is the theme. Buckminster Fuller said something along these lines that having heard it helped shape my life, I believe. When I speak of it I call it “Bucky’s ruler.” He held out his arms maybe a yard or two apart saying  “If the spectrum of everything that affects us at any given moment is this long, that which we can pick up with our sense and technologies is only this long.” He then held two fingers together so closely that there was barely any space between them. My young mind was blown. You mean I, and we, are 99% unconscious? I think this set my path.  I wanted to figure out how to be in relationship to the rest of what is on that ruler. The quest took me through drugs, and God and then into depth psychology.

This committment of writing a blog piece every day for 40 days is good for the project of making consciousness. Every day I go about my day doing what I do, and then at some point I know I will sit and try to pull something out of the diffuse material floating around in my head, find a thought or an idea, then put some words around it. After I finish there is the satisfying feeling of having given birth to a little piece of something. Something that wasn’t there now is there. Something that I wasn’t necessarily conscious of I’ve just pulled into consciousness. It’s good.

I just shoveled the last batch of snow off the porch to get ready for the next batch that is coming in tonight. As I worked I felt the frozen earth and trees resting, but pregnant and gestating. Soon spring will come and everything will explode with new life. I could feel myself and my fellow humans similarly pregnant with 2010, ready give birth to new life and consciousness. What will unfold from us? We are involved in such an interesting project on this sweet little planet.