Thursday, January 12, 2012

What Part of Me Believes That?

"Sometimes we are startled. Where did that come from? I didn't know I felt so strongly." -- Robert Johnson, writer, Jungian psychologist

As a student and one associated with the late Carl Jung, Robert Johnson carries on Jung's work. Jung, unlike many of his generation, was one who believed that the base root of most all personal problems is not functional, some described such as "toxic", "games," "setting fences and boundaries," but rather spiritual challenges or crises that are not limited solutions or positions; instead they are potentially limitless and as unique as the persons who pose them. These other terms have no place in the spiritual world; they are 'pop psychology' and not terribly helpful. Sometimes they are denigrating; often they indicate power seeking by the one who utters them. The Simple mind avoids thoughts like these because people are greater than the sum of their mistakenness and sometimes confusion.

We can learn by examining our issues closely. What is it about me that feels this way? Why do I think that? What part of it sets off this (intense) reaction in me? Robert Johnson takes up a small part of this issue writing, "We remember getting worked up in a conversation and blurting out some strong opinion that we didn't know consciously we held." And we are startled by this sudden revelation not only to those listening but in our self equally! There is this sudden surge of emotional energy and maybe we suddenly find we are being our self, because what constitutes our self is the totality which necessarily includes our unconscious pronouncements. These "hidden parts of our self have strong feelings and want to express themselves."

Sometimes the hidden or unconscious part of our self is zany, sometimes its out of sync with social norms; sometimes it's embarrassing, violent, or humiliating when these facets of the self, parts of our personality, abruptly emerge. Other times, points of talent or strength arise, suddenly surprising us with their skill and clarity. As we grow, we may conclude that we are a different kind of person than we previously thought. Complicating matters, our qualities both positive and negative, emotional and intellectual may or may not arrive at precisely the most appropriate moments. This can leave us feeling strongly for or against someone or something and having the intellectual thought, Why? We may not yet understand.

Into the mix, our self definition is called into play; we are challenged by it. The unconscious is a huge energy system. Like others have famously observed the heart has its reasons, and the reception of its images and messages can be deeply informative to our spiritual and growing selves.

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