Jungian Therapy & the Heart of Soul Work: A Quote
In the quote above, Jung tells us some very important things about the nature of Jungian therapy, and about soul work, or /a-midlife-transition, at its very deepest.
It’s important to be clear here what Jung means by “soul”. He is not concerned with the immortal, immaterial soul. He is speaking to what it is that makes us the subtle, unique and staggeringly rich individual beings that we all are.
What does he tell us here about soul and soul work?
1. The Soul is Complex; Souls are Diverse
Human beings embody overwhelming complexity. However much one learns about another human being, there is more to learn. And while we have much in common, each human being is incredibly diverse and different from the others, however much we try to hide that individuality.
2. We’re More Than Just Instinctive Reactions
There most certainly are a whole wide range of human instincts: this is something that evolutionary psychology and neuroscience are bringing home to us more and more. Yet a human soul cannot be reduced to a bundle of instincts. We relate to our instincts differently than the rest of the animal kingdom. Within us, the instincts are transmuted into another reality : the archetypal.
3. What Each Human Person Fundamentally is, is Beyond Imagining
We cannot take in the full reality of another human being. Each is an incredible mystery. We cannot be reduced to fully known or knowable quantities.
4. Each of us has Incredible Heights and Depths
There is a staggering range of possibilities that live within each one of us. There are within each of us incredible heights of nobility and wisdom to be discovered. Simultaneously, there are incredible dark recesses: feelings and possibilities that we would just as soon not face.
This is the territory of Jungian therapy and of “soul work”. To avoid turning the latter phrase into a glib slogan, we must take the soul, the inmost subjectivity of the individual in front of us, with utmost seriousness. Each encounter in soul work, is true engagement with the psyche of another, a unique journey of discovery.
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