Archive for January 29th, 2010
The subject line for this post is called “The Transparent Self.” In a way, they share more in common that would originally be noted. The Transparent Self is a book I picked up a long time ago, a book that sits on my book shelf back in my home in Canada. The author of the book is Sidney Jourard. Since my copy of the book is thousands of kilometres from where I sit as I compose this post, I will have to make do with what I found doing e-searches on the computer.
Jourard’s book as I remember it, is about man learning to disclose his “self” in order to become whole, more capable of a healthy relationship with “self” and “other.”
“We begin life with the world presenting itself to us as it is. Someone – our parents, teachers, analysts – hypnotizes us to ‘see’ the world and construe it in the ‘right’ way. These others label the world, attach names and give voices to the beings and events in it, so that thereafter, we cannot read the world in any other language or hear it saying other things to us. The task is to break the hypnotic spell, so that we become undeaf, unblind, and multilingual, thereby letting the world speak to us in new voices and write all its possible meaning in the new book of our existence.”
“We camouflage our true being before others to protect ourselves against criticism or rejection. This protection comes at a steep price. When we are not truly known by the other people in our lives, we are misunderstood. When we are misunderstood, especially by family and friends, we join the “lonely crowd.” Worse, when we succeed in hiding our being from others, we tend to lose touch with our real selves. This loss of self contributes to illness in its myriad forms.” (courtesy of Coyote Prime)
Another sunset photo here in Costa Rica. This time, I left out the sun and the large surf and the horizon. Just a hint of the shore, a wet beach and the suggestion of growing depth in the waters. I know that above this scene is the sun, the sky and the objective world as I know it. I also know that below the surface of both the sand and the sea there is a depth of darkness, all the stuff that I don’t really know though I have some vague ideas. Every once in a while, such as yesterday, while walking along the shore, I come across something before unknown that has been thrown up by the sea. Yesterday, it was a small bright blue crab. Such vibrant colours and shades.
This thin veneer of surface between the sky and the depths of the sea is how I see my own conscious self. My ego tries to tell me that I am almost everything. Yet, I know that I am like this thin membrane that somehow seeks an identity that is to be carved out of both the depths and the heights.
At times life throws another question at me, I am learning to hesitate in giving an answer. Why? Because I know that the answer is not what is needed. Rather, it is about living the question. This is the same for most of us. Take relationships for example. When there is conflict in relationship, often the question becomes, “Should I stay and honour the other, or should I leave and honour my self?” It always seems to be a situation where either one in the relationship will be declared a winner, where for one, love overcomes will to power, and for the other will to power overcomes love.
But, it really doesn’t have to be this way. For in the end, neither side wins and both suffer deep pain. Hold the tension between love and will to power – in the relationship, both have to hold the tension until it feels ready to explode. This allows unconscious contents to be activated which literally offers a way out of the polarized choices, a third way. This is the transcendent function in operation.
Daryl Sharp paraphrases Jung as he says, “Jung advised pursuing (active imagination) in order to come to terms with the unconscious and thus to profit from the tension that naturally exists between rational consciousness and the essentially irrational, instinctive, unconscious drives that can be so disturbing if not attended to. Naturally, this is possible only when the conscious mind is motivated, as when it finds itself in a critical situation, faced with a choice between metaphorical equivalents of lady and tiger.“ (Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book One, 2008, pp 97-98)