As most of my readers already know, the process that I use here is primarily that of active imagination. In each post I select a photo and then sit quiet and wait for something to emerge. I don’t worry about factual or objective reality as what I perceive as factual or objective from the perspective of the ego is quite limited in terms of the totality of who I am, of the self. Why do I do this? In my opinion, it is to allow ideas, feelings, and energy to rise up from the depths within myself thus allowing me to expand my own understanding of myself. As things, ideas, feelings, and energy rise up I am faced with recognizing this material and considering it in relation to what I already know of my self and thus engage in the process of change or transformation as Jung would put it. Here are a few words from Jung about the process:
“… transformation is the aim of the analysis of the unconscious. If there is no transformation, it means that the determining influence of the unconscious is unabated, and that it will in some cases persist in maintaining neurotic symptoms in spite of all of our analysis and all of our understanding.” (Jung, C.W. Volume 7, paragraph 342)
In other words, the process of active imagination is not to produce works of art, poetry, music or theatre, but to allow the human psyche to grow or individuate. When I have worked with my clients on issues that have brought them to me for therapy, they have all come with the idea of having something change because the status quo wasn’t working out for them. The use of various therapeutic models by any therapist is intended to assist the client in making the change. It sounds simple but it doesn’t quite work the way we would like as either clients or therapists because often the client doesn’t know what really needs changing. This is where the use of active imagination can help both the therapist and the client as it often points to otherwise hidden issues, foundational issues. More from Jung:
“… it is a question of releasing unconscious processes and letting them come into the conscious mind in the form of fantasies. We can try our hand at interpreting these fantasies if we like. In many cases it may be quite important for the patient to have some idea of the meaning of the fantasies produced. But it is of vital importance that he should experience them to the full and, in so far as intellectual understanding belongs to the totality of experience, also understand them. Yet, I would not give priority to understanding.“ (Jung, C.W. Volume 7, paragraph 342)
These final words are vitally important, the experience is vital and understanding is secondary. Why? Transformational change is not always a product of the work of the ego. Sometimes it is simply a matter of adding elements to the stew which serve as a catalyst for movement from the unconscious to the conscious.
Now, you may have noticed that I didn’t reflect on the photo above. Atypically, I am going to refrain from doing so. Rather, I am inviting each of you to allow active imagination to work within you via this image. And, if you are brave enough you could share your resonance via active imagination here in the comment section. The reflection/resonance can be as long or as short as you want it to be in posting it here. Or perhaps a reflection on what you felt or learned about using the process of active imagination. I invite your words with true interest in what you and your unconscious have to say.