Archives for September 2015

The Process of Individuation

 

Jung warns in a letter to Herr Werblowsky on March 28, 1951 about pushing the process of individuation..”I should propose a somewhat carl_jung_videodifferent wording: instead o saying ‘pushing the process of individuation’—exactly the thing you cannot do because it instantly leads into an inflation or into an identification with archetypes—I should recommend something like ‘becoming too recklessly selfish.’  The term individuation ought to be reserved for the legitimate evolution of the individual entelechy.’ (meaning the presumptuous encroachment on the rights of others, particularly the gods, leading to the tragic downfall of the transgressor).  Individuation is an ongoing process, sometimes very time consuming, sometimes even ignored.   It is a process of maturation in which the psyche ages or matures in much the same manner as the physical body. The general guidelines are summarized by Jacobi (1973) as consisting of four parts:

  1. Becoming conscious of the shadow. The shadow is our dark side, containing those things that we have repressed or ignored for one reason or another. It usually manifests to us in dreams, fantasies, or as various symbols, as an archetypal figure who is dark and ominous. Just as the persona is that part of us that we want to present to the world, so the shadow contains those things that we want to hide from the world, and from ourselves. When working with self and others in this shadow revealing connection, we look for projections, introjections,  retroflections and confluence (in Gestalt section of this site) as indicators as to the presence of the shadow.shadow
  1. Becoming conscious of the anima or animus. Basically, the anima is the feminine soul or inner femininity of every man, and the animus is the inner masculinity of every women. The individuation process is, above everything else, a process of wholeness. This includes sexual completeness. Jung (1978) wrote that the anima and animus represent “functions which filter the contents of the collective unconscious through to the conscious mind” (p.20). Thus when the ego seeks to find the inner Self, it must look through the anima or animus, which colors its perception in many different ways. Edinger (1995) distinguishes four separate progressive states of maturation in the ego’s relation to the anima: (1) the infantile state, in which the ego is totally unaware of the anima or animus, (2) the projected state, in which the anima or animus is animaanimusprojected outward into people of the opposite sex, (3) the possessed state, in which the ego is possessed or governed by the anima or animus, and (4) the conscious state, in which the ego becomes conscious of the anima or animus.  Again we look to some of the gestalt processes when listening to our inner dialogues in regards to these conditions as to where an individual or self is in the process.

 

 

 

  1. Becoming conscious of the archetypal spirit. Jung speaks to the archetype as it is contained in the individuation process in a letter written to Bernet in 1955 speaking of bringing the archetypes into consciousness, he warns: “the archetype is increasingly detached from its dynamic background and gradually turned into a purely intellectual formula.  In this way it is neutralized, and you can then say ‘one can live with it quite well.’  But you overlook the fact that the self constellating archetypes and the resultant situations steadily gain in numinosity, indeed are sometimes imbued with a archetypespositively eerie daemonism and bring the danger of psychosis threateningly close.  The upsurging archetypal material is the stuff of which mental illnesses are made.  In the individuation process the ego is brought face to face with an unknown superior power which is likely to cut the ground from under its feet and blow consciousness  to bits.  The archetype is not just the formal condition of mythological statements but an overwhelming force comparable to nothing I know.”  Working with one’s archetypes and the mana persona that often is caught up in the inflation while doing so, is a work in progress that takes great care and responsibility for one’s own visions, fantasies, dreams and projections.

 

 

  1. Becoming conscious of the Self. Jung called this final step self-realization— “We could therefore translate individuation as “coming to selfhood” or “self-realization”“ (Jung, 1977, p. 173). Jacobi (1973) says “For the conscious personality the birth of the self means a shift in its psychic centre, and consequently an entirely different attitude toward, and view of, life–in other words a ‘transformation’ in the fullest sense of the word” (p. 127). One of the most important concepts of self as involved in ego regarding one’s plight, is in a letter written to Arvind Vasavada on November 22 1954, exemplifying how Jung’s later ideas about self influenced his growing philosophy as it applied to individuation. “The ego receives the light from the self. Though we know of the self, yet it is not known.  You may see a big town and know its name and geographical position, yet you do not know a single one of its inhabitants  You may even know a man through daily intercourse, yet you can be entirely ignorant of his real character. jungSelf The ego is contained in the self as it is contained in the universe of which we know only the tiniest section.  A man of greater insight and intelligence than mine can know myself, but I could not know him as long as my consciousness is inferior to his.  Although we receive the light of consciousness from the self and although we know it to be the source of our illumination, we do not know whether it possesses anything we could call consciousness………”  He goes onto say:  “Even if the ego should be (as I think) the supreme point of the self, a mountain infinitely higher than Mt. Everest, it would be nothing but a lilttle grain of rock or ice, never the whole mountain………If the self could be wholly experienced, it would be a limited experience whereas in reality its experience is unlimited and endless.”

Becoming conscious is gradual and incomplete, at best, however the trek toward the individuation process must take this into account when one is moving toward self-consciousness and realizing that all cannot be known.  The journey is full of new and interesting dialogues…..a sort of ‘art of becoming’.

One must relate to others, connecting and communicating in order to further one’s path toward indivuation.  Jung, reinforced this idea, a year before his death, in a letter to Mr. Robert M. Rock on 11 November 1960.

“…without relatedness individuation is hardly possible.  Relatedness begins with conversation mostly.  Therefore communication is indubitably important.”

 

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Integrating and assimilating our individuation path into our consciousness is ongoing and process oriented.  Further questions and conversations about this are welcomed on this site.

 

 

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The Body AS Shadow

 

“We carry our past with us, to wit, the primitive and inferior man with his desires and emotions, and it is only with an enormous effort that we can detach ourselves from this burden.  If it comes to a neurosis, we invariably have to deal with a considerably intensified shadow.  And if such a person wants to be cured it is necessary to find a way in which his conscious personality and his shadow can live together.”  Carl Jung: CW:11, p. 12

The old beliefs, the old lies, the old rigidity reeks havoc on our bodies. By taking inventory on these bodily manifestations, we might be able to build a new and more open body for our soul’s infusion into self.   We come to this planet through an intense energy of light vibration and as we incarnate and get closer to the earth, the magnetic field gets dense;  the thought forms manifest. Lo and behold! we land on this earth in physical form, taking on, within our bodies all the beliefs and grounded interactions that are on this planet; all the paradigms, the belief systems, the families, the personalities, the governmental and cultural structures, the place which houses our bodies…we take all of it into our body ..and then we begin processing this persona in this life.  Our body holds all of what we are and what we are to become, and reveals itself by our own relationship to it.

 We are always in a state of learning, feeling, sensing, intuiting, that which our body is telling us. What is your body telling you?  In our work with others, therapeutically, we develop dialogues within the body, which, eventually will be exemplified on this site, but until then, let’s look at the psychological processes by which we learn more about our shadows as they are reflected in our bodies, the buried periphery in our personal unconscious.

I am going to go over some general meanings regarding body armor and body shadow energy. The SHADOW is that part of you which is reflected in your relationships, projections, high energy involvements, and seems to always slip past your  energy boundaries  into your body when not processed. The body creates the actual MIRROR of your body as a temple of worship so that you have to pay attention and maintain some vigilant disciplines about the care and nurturing of your own body. After I go through these general meanings of character armor, much of which I learned through the study of Wilhelm Reich, Fritz Perls, and Alexander Lowen, but mostly just through my psychic intuition, and a alchemical approach to all of the leading psychologies.

We manifest in our bodies the following symptoms so that we can learn how to deal with this dense planet and get past the process in order to become more aware and conscious, as well as ‘response able’ to our authenticity.

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The head is the part of us that is caught up in logos, thinking, intellect, analyzing and many of us operate totally from our heads trying to make sense of all that comes to us and from us. Even as I am writing this, my head is using up all its oxygenation and I am not focusing on breathing into my head to prevent headaches…too much energy focused in one area for any length of time, will create stagnation in that area, due to no oxygen. Headaches and more head injuries create a need to get out of our minds and into our bodies..

The speech mechanisms in the throat and all around the chest area can create such blocks as laryngitis, polyps, our children who have speech defects because we have not learned to communicate our truths. Yes, even our children manifests our ‘denial of body’. Sometimes the lessons have to be given with a 2 X 4 over the head in the form of our progeny.

Our hearts get blocked, big time, due to our inability to love self, others, without limitation, judgment, and willingness to receive love and nurturance. Many people think that it is a matter of action of loving. I see it as a shutting down to receiving love unconditionally. Our inability to receive touch, care, love….all of this shuts the heart down to a screeching halt.  This is reflected in pains on the left side of the body as well as the lack of circulation and mobility at that level.

Our stomachs are loaded with the unexpressed anger .the abandonment of the mother or the unavailability of the mother/nurturance. The lactose intolerance..because we were fed with attachment and with the toxicity of the mother’s attachment or abandoning, both creating the same polarity. The over mothering is just as abandoning of the child as the mother who leaves her child on the doorstep of the ‘other’.

Our pelvises and sexual chakras are the seat of kundalini..and shock us into action through frustration, through charisma, through magnetic chemistry between us and others. The planet is going through major shifts of sexual energy and how we use it. This energy is pristine and we put thoughts/feelings/emotional dramas on this energy so that we can source our more intense selves. We refuse to own our male/female authentically. We don’t want to look in the face of our husbands, wives, and lovers, and say… He/She is ME ..I am having a sexual relationship with myself, so we manifest all kinds of problems in our genitalia.

 

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I have mentioned a few of the areas that hold our shadows, parts of self that we project on others ‘to hold’ until such time as we can hold the energy as self, consciously and fully, becoming healthy physically so that we can live longer more fulfilled lives. 

Becoming fully conscious of our shadows requires other disciplines that are necessary so that we don’t bury ourselves in our own conscious self. Jung once warned:  “If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts.  He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against.  He lives in the “House of the Gathering.”  Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world.  He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.” Carl Jung, CW 11: p. 140.