WRITINGS AND MUSINGS FROM THE COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS

TRUST THE IMAGE By Tim Swisher, MHR, LMHP, LADC Certified Analytic (Jungian) Psychotherapist

When we use the term "seeing with the minds eye", what are we really saying? In his new book The Secret History of the World, author, Mark Booth points out that early humans developed a "third eye" or better known to us as the pineal gland in order to "see" and understand the mysterious world they inhabited. To see the spiritual as well as the material world. It was the body's link to the inner world. The world behind the "real world". People who meditate regularly can know this world as people who have had spiritual experiences and near death experiences know this world-if even for a brief moment. We all have access to this realm but fail to see it or pay attention to it. Dreams, synchronistic experiences, intuitions, even hunches can indicate we are entering a realm of psyche that transcends normal ego functioning. Modern people have moved away from using this faculty since the birth of science. Since Dr. Flood stated that the heart was just a pump, not an organ of the body that was thought by earlier generations to think, feel and perceive. (In fact modern science has discovered the heart has its own neurotransmitters just like the brain). So maybe we can die from a broken heart after all or heal a broken heart through love and connection.

When Freud developed the theory of the unconscious and Jung developed his theory of the collective unconscious they were opening the door to the inner world that the ancients knew better than we do. But psychoanalysis wanted to be a science and be respected. We have moved away from what they opened up by our focus on the scientific and less on the gifts that come from the unconscious aspect of our personal lives and the collective. Our present day psychotherapies some of which only focus on cognitive/behavior modification and the use psychotropic drugs only really helps to keep the population "normal". And what is normal and who has the authority to state that and back it up? I'm not saying these approaches are not helpful but what about the deeper aspects of the psyche that moves us and changes us in ways we still don't understand very well.

For those of us who work with the psyche to ignore this aspect of our deeper selves is like a physician who would examine the surface of the body but not its inner organs. Henri Corbin the Islamic expert introduced to Jung the concept of the "mundis imaginalis" or the imaginal world. This is the world between the intellect and the senses. The world of the image. According to Corbin the imaginal world is just as real as this world and in actuality forms this world. intellect and the senses. In other words we imagine something through the "minds eye" first. The image starts to develop from the psyche and takes shape inside of us and then is projected into time and space. Think of it this way-when pre-historic man would hear a sound he had never heard before at first had no image to go with that sound. His mind would start to develop an image and the process of developing theses images would in essence be the beginning of creating the inner world of archetypes and the imaginal realm. We can see through cave drawings how early man shared his inner world and passed along that information through images.

Jung knew through both clinical observation and his own contact with the archetypal inner world that one of the psyche's most important and primary functions is to create images. How can working with images in psychotherapy help us to know what is going on in the transference/countertransference field? It brings the unconscious into the room. Images can be the crack in the door that we need to move from staying on the surface to doing psychodynamic work. To where we enter the interactive field and work directly with material from the unconscious. Thomas Ogden writes about the analytic third. The space in the room that is created by two people. This is in Corbin's lingo is the world of the imaginal. Where the image is worth a thousand words. Where paying attention and working with the image can bring both patient and therapist to a transcendent, expansive experience of how the inner world can help us heal and gain new consciousness. A type consciousness that places the ego consciousness in its proper relationship to deeper levels of the Self. In this process the ego is humbled by experiencing the unconscious on a more profound level with the effect being the client/patient witnesses more and deeper aspects of themselves and therefore defenses, resistances, regression and dissociation can be seen with some objectivity.

In working with the natural occurring images that arise from the mind we can gain the understanding that the unconscious is not a scary place that hides monstrous feelings, thoughts and nightmares but is a part of the whole human being and has gifts to give. If we learn to trust the image. I would invite the reader to an open and searching discussion of this topic. Feel free to contact me at timswisher@aol.com. The discussion will be posted on the Omaha Friends of Jung( omahafriendsofjung.com )web site.

Afterthoughts By Yeshim Oz, MS

I have been pondering upon individuation for quite a longtime now. I have heard so many different views on what it is and I started to think that what it means is an "individual" thing also -because of its numerous manifestations.

After OFOJ meeting on March 13, 2009, which was solely reserved for discussing the individuation, my thoughts were reinforced. For there were as many ideas on what individuation could be as the number of people in the room. One idea stood out for me, though: being/staying connected while standing up for who you truly are!

Couple days later when I was driving to work as usual, I was listening to an old album of L. Shankar (with Jan Garbarek), Song For Everyone. As the sound of Garbarek's saxophone dashed out of the rest of the music, a sudden image struck me: That must be "individuation". It is a beautiful, harmonious part of the music, yet it asserts itself so clearly that you have no choice but pay attention to. Because there is something that only the sound of this saxophone can tell, not Shankar's violin, nor Hussain’s' percussions - although they have their own stories.

I now muse* that a music* piece with a strong individual instrumental tone can teach us a lot about individuation; it can inspire us in our effort to live our lives like Garbarek's saxophone or Ian Anderson's flute or Miles Davis’ trumpet (examples are endless); one that has a strong, unique voice without overshadowing others in the whole symphony, yet without which the Whole would not be the same.





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