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Center for Action and Contemplation

Jung: Week 2 Summary

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Jung: Week 2

Summary: Sunday, October 11-Friday, October 16, 2015

Truly conscious people are in touch with their unconscious. People who try to remain simply on the “conscious” level, overly defended by their ego, end up being very superficial and thus even dangerous—to themselves and all around them. (Sunday)

No idea of God is God of itself, but the experience of God’s action in you is what grounds you and breaks you wide open at the same time. (Monday)

“Our whole unconscious is in an uproar from the God who wants to know and to be known.” —Edward Edinger (Tuesday)

Good art, poetry, and mythology tell you, without you knowing it, that life is not just a series of isolated, meaningless events. (Wednesday)

I believe we are invited to gaze upon the image of the crucified to soften our hearts toward God, and to know that God’s heart has always been softened toward us, even and most especially in our suffering. (Thursday)

The significance of Jesus’ wounded body is his deliberate and conscious holding of the pain of the world and refusing to send it elsewhere. (Friday)


Practice: Shadow Work

Our unconscious reveals itself in many subtle ways. It takes a lifetime of intention and practice to notice our shadow and bring it into the light so that we are no longer controlled by it, but can integrate the shadow’s energy and unique gifts into our conscious living.

Jungian analyst Noreen Cannon and theologian Wilkie Au offer the following ways to help us identify our shadow:

  • Projection: “When we have a strong positive or negative reaction to someone, that person is likely to be carrying an aspect of our shadow.”
  • Inner Voice: “During times of decision making or inner conflict, that other voice engaging us in an inner debate may be the shadow voicing its desires. To make good decisions, we need the views of this ‘other.’ Bad choices or errors in judgment are often the results of not listening to the shadow.”
  • Freudian Slips: When we say one thing and we mean to say another, this may “reveal a hidden hurt or anger, some feeling that the shadow has carried for us until it found an opportunity to express it.”
  • Humor: “If we examine what we say in humor as well as what evokes our laughter we can often detect our shadow.”
  • Dreams: Observing our dreams closely, “we will see our shadow played out nightly and learn much about our unspoken motives, hidden faults and failures, unacknowledged virtues and vices, and undeveloped or unrealized potential.” [1]

I hope you’ll take every opportunity to befriend your unconscious, for, as another Jungian writer says, “The individual who can manage not to be psychologically infectious—that is, free of the unconscious necessity to project all of his inferior, dark qualities onto others or onto ideologies and causes—is the individual on whom the ultimate peace of the world rests.” [2]

Gateway to Silence:
“The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are.” —Carl Jung

[1] Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon, Urgings of the Heart: A Spirituality of Integration (Paulist Press: 1995), 33-36.
[2] Vernon E. Brooks, “What Does Analytical Psychology Offer Those with No Access to Analysis?” Quadrant 8, No. 2 (Winter 1975), 127.

For further study:
Wilkie Au and Noreen Cannon, Urgings of the Heart: A Spirituality of Integration
C. G. Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections
Richard Rohr, Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality
Jungian Psychology Diagram

Image credit: Charing Cross Bridge (detail), 1903, by Claude Monet (1840-1926), Saint Louis Art Museum, Missouri, USA.
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