Archive for November 3rd, 2009
This photo was taken in Suzhou, China, at the edges of a large park area called Tiger Hill. The canal surrounds the whole park area. While travelling the length of the canal, many side canals branched off to head to other parts of the city making their way eventually to the main canal. These particular boats are for tourist, most of whom are Chinese. It is a beautiful scene; the ride was serene and peaceful. For a few moments, one entered a different world, an unreal world. For a few moments one lives an illusion.
For me as for many others, water is symbolic of the unconscious. I think that this might have to do with our pre-emergent existence within an amniotic sac in which water was home. And the ultimate source of that water was “mother.” Now, as an adult, water has a sense of power and mystery that both entices and terrifies. It is the great unknown.
Having dared a number of small journeys into the inner world in the guise of a hero, I, like so many others, have emerged a different person. Like many others who have taken these journeys, I have come to the conclusion that I am connected to something larger, yet I remain small in comparison. I feel more humbled than enlarged. A few who have dared these small journeys have emerged larger. I worry about them.
In choosing this photo, this morning, I went through my bookshelves in search of something suitable to “fit.” I didn’t really know what I was looking for. But on looking at the books, my eyes stopped at a book by David Tacey called Remaking Men. Picking up the book, I opened the book and immediately found this passage:
Jung insists that individuation is above all, a dialogue with the unconscious psyche. The ego needs to maintain its essential connection with social reality as it attempts to ‘have it out’ with the unconscious forces. As the ego makes its ‘descent’ for the sake of renewal, it must resist the ‘inertia’ of the unconscious, and the forces that would paralyse it, and maintain its human integrity at all costs. A tell-tale sign of failure is the tendency to inflate one’s insignificance … (Tacey, Remaking Men, 1997, p. 19)
It is too easy to get caught up with archetype and shadow and allow the self to become inflated. In my opinion, all who stand tall, too tall, in their self-assigned roles as shamanic figures, as leaders and guides, are lost a bit or more in their own unconsciousness. I often wonder if it wouldn’t be best to become a hermit and live a life of silence in some remote place. But then again, even this is a conceit. And so, I resist all of this and remain a flawed and confused person living as best I can in a flawed and confused world.