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  • Jungian Therapy & the Heart of Soul Work: A Quote

    jungian therapy

    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.


    PHOTO:  Attribution Some rights reserved by mattwi1s0n





    1. Maureen Purcell
      July 1, 2012 at 10:35 am -

      I especially like these key points in your blog:
      1) We are uniquely individual
      2) We have a “staggering range of possibilities”

      Indeed our soul’s work is to identify that which is uniquely ours and then to express it and serve others with our unique gifts. It is truely the hero’s journey that each of us will traverse if we are willing to answer the call.

      Thanks for the blog post!

      1. Brian C
        July 1, 2012 at 11:47 am -

        Thank you for your comment, Maureen. I heartily agree with your comment, and would only add that there is so much of ourselves in the unconscius, that we have yet to meet. The undiscovered country is vast, and some of it is wild, but it contains an incredible richness and depth.

    2. Mary Alice Long, PhD
      July 2, 2012 at 1:56 pm -

      Brian, thank you for your post on the ‘Heart of Soul Work’. I am featuring your posts on ‘The Play=Peace Daily’, and while scanning articles I saw your post and had to comment. I am writing today in my studio and musing about what I am being called to write as I move forward toward the completion of my memoir, ‘I Would Have Named Him Peter: How to Create the Life You Want’. My own story is full of a ‘staggering range of possibilities’–I was a surrogate mother for a couple in 1987, the wife was my psychotherapist. I was 34-years-old at the time and the mother of 3 children, working full time as a staff nurse, in graduate school. Making conscious some very deep seated roots to my story is both powerful and daunting. Writing my story, digging into un-minded territory again and again, and sharing what I have learned in the ‘postpartum’ period following the birth of my surrogate son, 1987-2012, is heart-full, and soul-full. I began my re-search while as part of my doctoral work–writing my dissertation on surrogate mothering and also producing a dance video entitle, Love’s Way: ‘The Joy and Pain of Surrogacy’ and have continued to write and share my story. Thank you Brian for offering yourself so fully.

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