Coming to Terms with the Unconscious

Yucatan Woodpecker – Mayan Riviera

It has been a long time, three months in fact, since my last post here. The only reason I can give for this extended leave is simply that I was actively resisting being pulled into speaking, thinking, and observing whatever it was that was stirring within. I told myself that I was simply “being in the moment” with life. My life was blessed with sunshine and all was well – well, at least for the most part. These words are not fabrication of the reality that I have been living; rather, they are only about what was happening at the level of consciousness. Naturally, being myself, I just had to find out what was going on, I had to dig beneath the surface just like this Yucatan Woodpecker that visited our garden to poke beneath the surface of a palm tree behind our little casa near the Caribbean Sea.

Oh, it wasn’t as if I wasn’t engaged in inner worlds, as I was busy working on a novel, a creative act that is all about imagination. My story was being peopled by both Celtic and Nordic gods and goddesses who were interacting with ordinary mortals – okay, maybe not so ordinary. When I finally sat down to write this blog post, I was re-engaging with the novel in my relocated office and library in my Canadian home. The winterlude escape was over and I knew that before I could return to the story, I had to attend to the burbling below the surface as though attending to an itch that defied being reached.

When I write, it seems that the story manifests itself through my fingers touching the keypad of my laptop computer. I am a curious bystander, not really the author. I know better than to claim credit for the work – or the responsibility for what is said. The story and the words emerge from a shadowy place, the unconscious. Somehow I get the idea that it is a combination of both personal and collective unconscious that stirring the contents beneath my awareness. Naturally, I feel somewhat slighted in the process as I feel that if left to my own wits, I could tell a good story on my own.

Jung once asked what one was to do with this problem, that of the unconscious. His response written almost a hundred years ago, seems to have been directed to me dealing with the creative fantasy novel that I am currently writing:

“The meaning and value of these fantasies are revealed only through their integration into the personality as a whole – that is to say, at the moment when one is confronted not only with what they mean but also with their moral demands.”

I found this quote in a collection that cobbles together a number of writings by Jung on Active Imagination, in the section that has Jung offer preparatory notes for an excerpt for CW 8 dealing with the Transcendent Function. Of course – the story though fantasy and fiction, is providing me with information from the depths that I need to wrestle with in order to integrate, in some meaningful and moral manner, into my personality. I am being taught while I write for I am ripe for what needs to be heard. As the expression goes when a student is ready, the teacher will appear. Little did I know that the teacher can be the unconscious itself.

About rgl

A retired Canadian educator and psychotherapist living in Mexico in the winter and in Canada the rest of the year.
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