Archive for January, 2012
Sometimes there are scenes that emerge that didn’t exist prior to my raising my camera to my eyes. I saw this young boy at a road construction site only metres from large equipment in use with big holes and deep water too close by. I had been taking photos of men riding a bucket into some of these holes in order to rescue equipment and of family members watching on the sidelines, some of them holding babies, when I thought, ‘Why not?’ and took this single photo of the boy. With the photo taken his joy was soon shared by the adults including what I would assume was his mother (in the background with the baby) who smiled and nodded as though I had done something special in taking the photo.
I guess it all has to do with having someone actually see and recognize you. I think back again to Martin Buber’s book, I and Thou, and know that the eye to eye recognition is one soul resonating with another soul and knowing that this is enough, a feeding of the soul.
This boy also touched something else with me, my own little inner boy. I see in his smile, his trust, and openness, the hidden child within me who has to learn to smile, trust and be freed. Some of the most important things are the simplest things.
I spotted this lady fishing in a fresh water shallow lake behind the condo community. She is fishing for food, obviously. And that food is underwater. Makes me think of how we descend into the unconscious to grow our soul (paraphrasing Michael Meade) on a cyclical basis the same cycle as that of the planet as it heads from day to night and back to day. To stay too long in the light shrivels the self; to stay to long and the self gets absorbed into the larger collective unconscious. There is a lot to be learned from the stories of the First Nations Tribes of the Americas when one wants to move to balance between light and darkness, between this world and the inner world.
There are two balconies for the condo which we have rented in Thailand. The main balcony has become our dining room and Internet room. The second balcony faces west, faces away from the condo and villa community overlooking a bit of a garden and, in the distance, a fresh water body of water that looks more like a swamp than a lake. Below the balcony in the small area between the condo and the wall that serves as a barrier, is this tree with an old plastic table and chair which are stained with their relative age. Curiously, there is only one chair for this table which is set among the roots of a large tree. It is as though the tree has set a place for a human as an invitation to be present and perhaps converse.
I meditate on the little west-side balcony which looks down on this table and chair set among the roots.
As I walk around the gated community in which I am residing while in Thailand, I noticed this barrier that is meant to separate and to protect the residents of the gated community from the darker forces on the other side of the “wall” that is topped with broken glass. I am on the inside of the community looking out, safe within the community.
But really, is one keeping the riff-raff out, or is one being kept in place by the riff-raff. Who is imprisoned?
The image could well be a representation of the ego building walls to keep out the personal and collective unconscious. This is what the ego does in order to build a sense of self. From the chaos of the whole one needs to carve out a small space in which to have a sense of self as separate from other. When the boundaries fall, the self gets lost in the whole. Yet, paradoxically, the whole is contained within the self – the personal and collective unconscious is within the barricaded protective areas unknown to the ego.
Today’s Daily OM message arrived after the post had been written. I was amazed at this message which parallels and compliments the photo and post. One would think that it would have been the other way around – get the message and then create a post around it. Here is today’s meditative thought:
January 25, 2012
Before the World Wakes
In the first moments of day before our mind is fully awake can be a wonderful time for meditation.
Every once in a while my wife picks up my camera in order to note the fact that I am also part of the experience in a new country, or an event at home. This is a difficult task as I am usually busy with the camera or else we are busy with doing things that doesn’t involve cameras. This morning, while I was meditating on my private little balcony, she took advantage of the opportunity.
Being in Thailand is as much, if not more, about healing and dealing with the upwelling of old, repressed contents of childhood, boyhood and youth. A major part of that healing work is meditation for me, and given the opportunity, nude meditation in a private, out-of-doors location. I meditate twice a day; once in the early morning when the sound of birds becomes the background music, and once in the mid-afternoon when the full sun can fall on my body. I find it especially healing with the sun and a breeze and sounds of birds which help banish “thinking.” I try hard to become “still” inside, a rest from the other work of healing. This is the way it is and so the record now shows the truth of the way it is.
The other part of the healing process is writing. I write in two separate documents. The first document is a journal in which I record dreams, associations and bits of memories as they emerge. I also allow my feelings and intuition to take form in words in this journal. The second document is a purposeful recounting of life, my life, as I know it. I have to be clear on this “how I know it” as others might know it differently, have seen and heard and lived in very close proximity without awareness of what I have seen and heard and experienced. I have repressed much of that childhood, boyhood and youth and have been meeting with many blank spots in the process. But as I continue the work, images emerge out of darkness and fit into the story that has already been told.
This is my process and it seems to be working for me. I build, or I should say, I am in the process of recovering, rebuilding my life, remembering by putting recovered pieces back into place in search of wholeness.
I’ve decided on a change of photo type for today’s post. The number of flowering trees and plants is absolutely amazing. One of my projects is to get as many photos of the varieties as I can before I leave Thailand in early February. The presence of moisture and sunshine feeds the flowers in defiance of the season being “winter.” This moisture and sunshine is also feeding me, nourishing my soul and giving me the extra energy needed for the alchemical work of individuation.
My journey through my personal history has taken me to the age of 21 and now registers almost 75,000 words. During the process I am maintaining a dream diary as well as reflections journal which is growing with images that have somehow eluded inclusion (after-the-fact) in the main story. Of course this will mean a re-write at some point. The final version will also include psychological reflections along the way looking at how complexes find their sources and how living and doing the “work” allows resolution and individuation. Perhaps it is too large of work, but it is my ambition. Likely bits and pieces will find their way here in “general” terms in order to protect the innocent and guilty.
When we choose that which is not best for us,
there can be a deep seated part of us
that does not want to heal.
These words from Daily Om help me to spot the resistances and will help me fill out all the empty spaces hidden in darkness.
In the late afternoon, less than an hour from full sunset, these crabs were seen running around on the exposed sand bars of a receding tide. They are called Sand Bubbler Crabs or as they were once called, Cancer Sucatus. As the tide recedes they mine the sand for bits of detritus which becomes their food. There is something in this image that also talks to me psychologically, of how we mine what is often appearing to be sterile wasteland for those bits and pieces of past life (detritus) which becomes valuable, becomes essential food for psychic life. It reminds me of the analytic process where one rummages through ancient images in dreams and via active imagination in search of the same things. Of course, being a Cancerian man, I have an affinity to all things related to crabs as my readers already know.
Just as an aside, here is a write up about a Cancerian Man from Keen.com:
A Cancerian man can make a wonderful long-term partner for the right woman. He’s ruled by emotion and matters of the heart, and not by his intellect. Because of this, he’s usually very affectionate, thoughtful, and intuitive of the feelings of others, especially of those he cares about. Home and family are of utmost importance to a Crab, and he can be fiercely protective. Cancer thrives on stability, security, and comfort. You’ll always feel loved, safe, and well cared for with a Cancer partner. Most Cancerian men make faithful, supportive husbands and kind, patient fathers. His relationships are well tended, and he’s often incredibly romantic, while having a great sense of humor at the same time.
Sounds like the perfect man, huh? Before you drag out your Crab pot, you need to hear the rest of the story. Cancer men are emotional. They’re ruled by the moon, and as the moon goes through frequent changes, so do the Cancerian’s emotions. He demands complete and utter love and devotion, and he won’t like sharing too much of your attention with friends, work, hobbies, or anything else that takes time away from him. You might find Cancer to be jealous and controlling. He’s a hard worker, and he’ll expect the same from you. He’s also a homebody, so if you’re a party girl, you’re wasting your time on a Cancer dude. Some signs find Cancer too needy, too clingy, brooding, and boring.
Ouch! Way too much truth in this description, especially the needy, moody, emotional parts.
I took a walk on the beach as sunset was approaching. For a change I took my camera, a habit that has fallen to the side here in Thailand. As some of you may already know, this is a reflective time for me. My limited posting, the choice of images and words may hint at what is bubbling beneath the surface. I do want to say that this is a process of choice for the most part. I want to be honest in saying “for the most part” as there is an internal, unconscious push at work as well. The process is alchemical in most aspects.
The process has me risking self-analysis, taking myself on as a patient, watching the process from the sidelines and recording data and then daring to ask my “self” some tough questions about what my “self” has said and seen. If this sounds a bit like “dissociation” you are correct. Dissociation is at work, but it has always been at work to some extent for all of us. There is a bit of difference for me in this work as I am “aware” of the dissociation. This isn’t about multiple personalities, it is about carving out a space of safe distance to monitor my “self.”
And in case you are wondering, I am safe.
In working through the stages of developing masculine identity as presented in Monick’s book, Castration and Male Rage, I seem to have run into a roadblock, one that deflected me from following through with the process of exploring and reflecting on these stages. Something said in the book, “booted me out” as a techie would describe it. My unconscious has its own firewalls built in for what it assumes in the protection of my psyche. Now, realising this, it becomes my task to return to the words – off blog – and find the hot spot that needs attention.
I hope that this kind of explanation indicates something of what is actually happening. In my own way, I am trying to re-approach analysis using my “self” as the primary case of study. Jung did somewhat the same thing as he took his moments of retreat into his tower at Bollingen. Freud, however, did it in such a direct and fairly complete way that I don’t think has ever been dared or duplicated. As I try this, I have the benefit of a safety net of colleagues, analysts that I can call on to haul me back in if I wander too deep into the water. As I see it, I am walking along the edges of the unconscious, aware of its presence just as I walk along the edge of the sea, aware of both the sea and what has been thrown up onto the sand, disgorged by that sea -disgorged by the unconscious for the conscious self to see.
Any questions? Well, just ask. I might even answer them.
Another photo with not much to add today. I am deeply engrossed in the “work” as it is called. I do have one interesting article that I think might be of interest to my readers: The Psychological Impact of Sexual Abuse, by David Lysak. On another note, one of my good friends and participants here, John Ferric, tells me:
I am attempting to provide a venue: http://jung2.org/JungRedux/ for people to read Jung and discuss what they read.
John goes on to explain that participants ”will need to register, then I will activate their account. I am using “Man and His Symbols,” generally and Jung’s section “Approaching the Unconscious” specifically in this first experimental attempt.”
I encourage my readers to take advantage of this opportunity to talk together in a discussion forum that promises to be a place of value.
I found this amazing tree on the beach at Pattaya, Thailand. It appears as if the tree had drunk once too often in the waters of the unconscious and in doing so, has lost its sense of self, its will to live. In the realm of psychoanalysis, one is tempted to explore too intensely the unconscious. The attraction of the realm that ultimately belongs to the gods of the underworld, is cloaked in the mystery of fantasy places and figures. One is tempted to drink their water, to join in their heroic interplay and if possible, become a godling. One risks possession by archetype, by the primordial energies that know no boundaries between right or wrong. All is one, all is none.