I’ve known of Carl Gustav Jung for a long time, his name and work inevitably came up in any Philosophy and Psychology classes I took in high school and college. I have even loved some of his quotes for a while, but it was recently while gathering some of my favorite quotes, that seeing them all together and realizing how many of his quotes really connect with me that a deeper curiosity about him and his work really ignited. So, I started doing a little research on him and found even more to love. His work is vast and since I haven’t read it all, I can’t claim to agree with that I don’t know, meaning I can’t surely say I’d agree with completely all of his ideas and philosophies. However, most of the bits and pieces I have read I was able to relate to, deeply. A lot of what he wrote about and believed in, I have found to be true in my own experience.
There’s a particular little excerpt from his Alchemical Studies book, one that actually wasn’t written by Jung but by one of his patients, that reading it felt as if I had written it myself, which is why I decided to share it here with you:
“Out of evil, much good has come to me. By keeping quiet, repressing nothing, remaining attentive, and by accepting reality – taking things as they are, and not as I wanted them to be – by doing all this, unusual knowledge has come to me, and unusual powers as well, such as I could never have imagined before. I always thought that when we accepted things they overpowered us in some way or other. This turns out not to be true at all, and it is only by accepting them that one can assume an attitude towards them. So now I intend to play the game of life, being receptive to whatever comes to me, good and bad, sun and shadow forever alternating, and, in this way, also accepting my own nature with its positive and negative sides. Thus everything becomes more alive to me. What a fool I was! How I tried to force everything to go according to the way I thought it ought to!” An ex patient of C. G. Jung (Alchemical Studies, pg 47)
Many other authors, including one of my favorites, Eckhart Tolle, have written about this kind of experience before, which it’s often considered an awakening of a deeper consciousness, one that goes beyond our rational awareness. I know a lot of people might not even agree with the existence of such thing, and believe our rational consciousness is the highest form of awareness there is, but I am not one of those people. However, I cannot dogmatically assure you that this deeper consciousness and awakening does in fact exist, and that it exists in and for everyone. I don’t know that. I choose to believe it does, but all I really know is what I have personally experienced and has seemed true for me… and what might be true for me might not be the case for someone else.
What I can tell you about my experience is that it has indeed felt to me as an awakening, both rude and slow at the same time. It has felt sudden and unexpected at times, like finally discovering something or seeing it with a new set of eyes, that even though it might just be entering my awareness at a certain moment, doesn’t necessarily feel new but rather it feels obvious, like it has always been there and I can’t believe I had missed it so far, and now that I am finally grasping that piece of information everything starts making sense. Yet, it also feels slow at other times, because even with the newfound information and understanding, incorporating it into everyday life, allowing it to fully replace old habits and reactions that had become almost automatic in my behavior is a slow, and sometimes painful, process. One that it’s worth it, that’s for sure! Because no matter how painful it is, it’s a healing pain and not the suffering that comes with being stuck in old, unhealthy and unconscious patterns.
Still, that it’s just a tiny part of my experience, especially since I have been going thru it for years and still am, so I won’t try to get into more of it here. Even just trying to put it into words is overwhelming, so you can imagine the experience itself! I’ll take the sharing of it slowly, and hopefully you’ll tell me if any of this sounds interesting or familiar to you so far, and we can continue this conversation on a future post.
For now, I’ll leave you with another favorite quote from Jung that I hope helps you open up to new ideas, in particular to those that suggest there’s more to comprehending than just our rational understanding of the world:
“We should not pretend to understand the world only by the intellect; we apprehend it just as much by feeling. Therefore, the judgment of the intellect is, at best, only the half of truth, and must, if it be honest, also come to an understanding of its inadequacy.” C.G. Jung