Due to societal conditioning and cultural programming, we are mostly asleep to our most authentic self. We remain unconscious until our ‘unlived life’ burst forth from the Unconscious. We thought we knew who we are. We have developed a cohesive personality, a suitable persona and hopefully enough ego-strength to navigate the demands of the world. However, this created ‘identity’ is partly an illusion and may crumble when the call to the individuation journey is sounded.
The individuation journey pushes a person into greater consciousness of their inner world and the tension-creating polarities threatening to sometimes pull us apart. We realised we lived in a hall of mirrors. In the service of psychic survival, we have had to adjust, adapt, compromise, and even betray our authentic nature. However, the Archetype of the Self demands expression and would go through apocalyptic lengths with repeated crucifixions of the ego until there is a reconstitution of our being. Years of inner work of making the unconscious conscious with multiple initiatory experiences (suffering) brings a more expansive view of ourselves.
Wholeness is achieved by healing deep splits in the psyche when we integrate aspects of our personality of which we were not conscious of – the unknown, hidden, denied or disavowed alienated parts of ourselves. These shadow aspects fall outside of our conscious awareness and include everything we don’t know or can’t observe within ourselves - our so-called spots. Joseph Campbell (2) explains: “Jung’s concept is that the aim of one’s life, psychologically speaking, should be not to suppress or repress, but to come to know one’s other side, and so both to enjoy and to control the whole range of one’s capacities; i.e., in the full sense, to “know oneself.”
Written for @jungsouthernafrica
- CW, 7, ¶266.
2. Jung, C. G., & In Campbell, J. (1976). The portable Jung. New York: Penguin Books
Image credit: Freydoon Rassouli
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