Archive for the ‘Carl Jung’ tag
I have written earlier that patriarchy is destructive of both men and women. It is important to remember this. It is also important to understand that in spite of many modern men becoming sensitive and heart-based, patriarchy is still thriving. Men might be abdicating their authority to their wives, to their mothers, but this abdication does nothing to dismantle the negative power of patriarchy. All one has to do is to take a good hard look at our corporations, our assemblies, our religions – any of our social and economic enterprises – and see that men are still in charge.
So what is a man to do? Jung suggests:
“. . . if the connection between the personal problem and the larger contemporary events is discerned and understood, it brings release from the loneliness of the purely personal, and the subjective problem is magnified into a general question of our society. In this way, the personal problem acquires a dignity it lacked hitherto. [jung, CW 6, par. 119]
These are powerful words for modern men to hear. The work of becoming more conscious of oneself has done a lot to bring a sense of balance between the power of the mind and the power of the heart. Being stuck in one or the other leaves us disconnected from a larger life. If we are truly interested in acquiring balance then we must see that the society within which we live is a part of us. Patriarchy is a part of who we are. We have to own it rather than see it as an enemy somewhere out there, a collective shadow that needs to be attacked and destroyed.
We need clear eyes, head and heart if we are to find a way through the darkness that is patriarchy. Patriarchy is our shadow, our collective unconscious. We need to listen to the gods and goddesses of mythology, we need to listen to our dreams, we need to listen to our children and our women; we need t listen to their pain, their arguments, their logic and heart. We need to also listen to the spiritual voices without getting caught in their webs of timelessness, a web that would have us wait with calm and abiding patience. And, we need to listen to our bodies.
It seems a task almost beyond what I am capable of doing. But it is a task that I must do, that each of us must do. Joseph Campbell has helped show the way with his book, Hero of a Thousand faces. We are each heroes bent on crossing through the darkness of patriarchy; are collectively one larger hero. Our future as men and women depend on crossing through the darkness if we are to deconstruct patriarchy before patriarchy deconstructs our very home, the planet earth.
I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew in taking on this project. In all honesty, I seriously question whether anything I could say would have validity because of my lack of experience in the teachings, the dharma, of Buddhism. However, following the response of my direct spiritual guide, my dharma teacher, I have decided to venture further into these deep waters. Behind my dharma teacher, the spiritual head of the sangha who is Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche, has suggested that I use a different text as my base. My first reaction was of pride that my first post generated interest on his part; but that pride was very quickly replaced by fear as I didn’t know anything about the suggested text. A quick web search resulted in a found translation of the text. After skimming through the first few parts of the text, anger put in an appearance (of course that has more to do with fear than anything else) and I was ready to dump the idea of following the suggestion by Lama Karma ThinleyRinpoche. I knew I would feel more comfortable with my original choice with additions from the writings of Chögyam Trungpa, Pema Chödrön and Khenpo Karthar. I resolved that I would do it my way, after all, this is my blog site.
Then I took time out to meditate.
I know that I need to step back and look at the energy that arose – doubt, pride, fear and anger – to let the energy dissipate. What I found was no surprise, a complex had been activated. I have an irrational resistance to authority which has its roots in my early childhood relationship with my father. That relationship helped forge an internal response that could best be called a father-complex. Realising that my irrational responses to Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche’s suggested use of foundational text were just that, irrational, I now could re-approach the suggestion with an open mind and heart.
I have a long history with my father-complex. When I first considered entering into psychoanalysis with male analyst as my guide and mentor, I had met with this same inner demon. That initial meeting unleashed the same negative energy that had emerged with Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche’s suggestion. My response in the heat of the moment was to decide that this wasn’t going to work out. I abandoned that effort for ten months. I wasn’t ready to confront the complex. In the end, I returned again to this same analyst and we began a serious and nurturing relationship that allowed me to deal with the illusions created within my mind. I knew that I could only grow through the development of trust in my guide. This is the same realisation that came to me after almost a full day of inner turmoil. I could only grow through trust in my spiritual guide. And so I looked again at the suggested text: Shantideva’s Bodhicharyavatara.
Now, to begin again. I want to look at the idea of authority and how no matter what we believe or think, there is a lineage behind our beliefs and thoughts. I am a Jungian. There is a line-up of individuals who have contributed to my Jungian way of understanding the world. At first there was a stranger on the street I met while walking who pointed me a book that he said I needed to read before he continued on his walk down the street. I had never seen this man before and found it strange that he stopped me and made his pronouncement and then quickly disappeared. Yet, I went in search of that book and discovered the world of philosophy and psychology. I was a teenager at the time. That initial contact lead me to years of reading and studying. As I read and studied I noted those “ah-ha” moments when ideas resonated, the thoughts that “I already knew this.” Somewhere deep within the essence of who I am was a hidden knowledge that was being awakened. The awakened knowledge led me Carl Gustav Jung’s books. The books led me to search for an analyst who had been trained in Zurich at the Jung Institute by those who had been trained by others who had been trained by Jung. Of course there are antecedents that fill in a deeper lineage. But the realisation of lineage and the trail that leads to awareness became obvious to me. So it was natural to see how this idea applied to my experiences with Buddhism.
I am a Buddhist. My dharma teacher is Rigdzin Khandro. Behind her is her spiritual guide, who in essence is also my spiritual guide whether I consciously know this or not, is Lama Karma Thinley Rinpoche. The trail behind him through the Kagyu lineage that began in Tibet with Marpa Chökyi Lodrö a thousand years ago. The lineage behind Marpa Chökyi Lodrö extends back into India all the way to the man we call the Buddha.
It was the realisation that nothing I can say actually has its origin within me, but that it was through the grace of those who came before me and have somehow touched me directly or indirectly that has taken the heat and energy out of my father-complex thus allowing me to listen and learn and give back to you who will read these words.
I have to admit that I am sad, heartbroken, angry and more – all at the same time. Again there has been murder with guns in another school in America, the land of guns, guns, guns. I have to admit that I am not really surprised. Owning a gun is considered a god-given right and is legal to carry to schools in certain states in America for reasons of personal safety.
Officially, more that 16% of American youth under the age of 25 are unemployed. That number doesn’t include those who have dropped out of the job search market or have yet to try looking for work in ways that would get them noticed. The myth that America remains the land of dreams where anyone can be a millionaire or become president of the country or the CEO of an organisation in spite of the fact that the “winners” of this American dream accounts for only one percent of the population. We teach our children to dream the dream then abandon them as we break up our homes through divorce or abandon our children to televisions or the latest media babysitters such as smart phones, and game consoles. When we do show up at home, we teach them that drugs and alcohol are our preferred means to numb our own fears and disappointments. We do our best to disguise, to cover up, to mask our feelings, our fears, our desperation. We do not teach our children well. To make matters worse, we disable our schools so that they can’t effectively parent in our stead. We become a nation of neurotics with the occasional psychotic episode erupting such as in Newton, Connecticut on December 14th, 2012.
In 1912, Carl Jung commented that America “will either master its mighty forces or be mastered by them.” Contemporary evidence suggests that we are being mastered by these forces. America has incarcerated more of its population than any other modern western-world country. Violent death by guns and other weapons continue to exceed that of most other countries in the world. And the violence isn’t decreasing. We seem hell bent on imprisoning as many as possible, especially those who are suffering mental illness. No wonder that Jung said that America was a neurotic nation, a nation that must learn to live with its shadow rather than trying to barricade that shadow behind bars or in mental institutions or behind a very lucrative pharmaceutical industry. What little real therapeutic help is available is, for the most part, priced out of the reach of our youth, our minorities and disadvantaged.
Access to mental health care is not a right. Whatever mental health care that is available comes at a very high cost, much higher than the purchase price of a gun. Mental health coverage, when available, is often limited to a small number of sessions with the bulk of help offered in the form of pharmaceuticals. Now, as a mental health professional, there isn’t much I or you can do about the issue of gun control outside of supporting local, Provincial/State or National initiatives, but there is something I/we can do with regards to the issue of access to mental health care. We hold the keys to our practices whether or not we are independent or in an organised practice. We have the skills and the wisdom to help with the underlying mental health factors which sometimes erupt in tragic events. The only question is do we have the will?
Yesterday, I woke up to snow falling while in Lloydminster, Alberta visiting at my son’s home. After packing up after a week of visiting, it was time to drive home through what ended up to be a small blizzard.While in my son’s house, the snow pulled a sense of well being from within me. I saw the snow flakes as soft, clean and beautiful. Yet, it was only an hour later those same snowflakes became a threat to my safety, perhaps even to my survival. I saw one car with passengers end up in a highway ditch in front of me. My response was one of increased caution. I finally got home after a few extra hours on the highway. The last part of the drive was snow-free. It was as if I had dropped out of one universe only to land in a different universe.
I am reminded of the different universes that I meet in the inner spaces of my own psyche and how these universes evoke different responses within me. Sometimes the same inner universe presents me with a different “feel” and “awareness” than is usual. This shift of feel is a reminder that I am not yet ready to claim full awareness, not yet ready to claim that I have discovered a truth.
”Theories in psychology are the very devil. It is true that we need certain points of view for their orienting and heuristic value; but they always should be regarded as mere auxiliary concepts that can be laid aside at any time. We still know so very little about the psyche that it is positively grotesque to think we are far enough advanced to frame general theories. We have not yet established the empirical extent of the psyche’s phenomenology: how then can we dream of general theories? No doubt theory is the best cloak for lack of experience and ignorance, but the consequences are depressing: bigotedness, superficiality, and scientific sectarianism.” (Jung, CW Vol. 17, p. 7)
In my last post, I talked about how I lost my sense of being Jungian, Buddhist, Christian and whatever else I may have latched onto in an attempt to define myself, to hold as a theory of the nature of my individual psyche. That all fell apart and in the process, I began to get glimmers of self that defied any attempt I could make either with or without words. It ends up a very messy thing, but in some strange way, that messiness is freeing and I don’t have to try and force myself to fit into limited, self-created containers. I am free to wonder with a bit of awe and mystery about myself. And in the process, I find myself also free to experience the presence of others as beings of mystery.
This little guy sat still long enough for me to go and get my camera and get this photo taken. To tell the truth, when I got back outside his wings were folded and I had to wait a while before he opened them up again for this photo.
There is no doubt that I was lucky that the butterfly had remained on the tree during the time it took to get these two photos two days ago. I didn’t know if I should keep the first photo as it is a bit blurry and doesn’t have the aesthetic quality of the photo with its wings opened to receive the warmth of the sun’s rays; but now, I am glad that I did. The two photos seemed to illustrate my dream from early this morning. I guess I should explain.
My dream this morning was about dreaming. In my dream about dreaming, I was concerned about the recording of the dream and found myself recording dreams in two separate journals. The second journal contained dream fragments, those bits of dreams that indicate that there was more but defy all conscious attempts to capture the fullness of the dreams. The first journal was where the dream then got recorded in all of its fullness, a drama in full colour even though the drama has no linear structure, a fullness that almost has all the parts existing at the same time in which the ego dream-self navigates without worrying about obeying the laws of physics or rationality. Two journals; two versions of the same dreams – two photos that has one hinting at way is hidden while the second photo holds nothing back.
I know that I am always stuck with the fragments which sometimes are actually quite large running into several hundred words, but usually containing less than a hundred words. The fragments do help me in terms of “associations” with my personal past and often with incidents of the very recent past. Yet, these associations are not enough if I am to fully understand the dream. Looking for more, I turned to C.G. Jung in order to find a bit of guidance.
“Dreams, then, convey to us in figurative language – that is, in sensuous, concrete imagery – thoughts, judgments, views, directives, tendencies, which were unconscious either because of repression or through mere lack of realization. Precisely because they are contents of the unconscious, and the dream is a derivative of unconscious processes, it contains a reflection of the unconscious contents.” (Jung, CW 8, par 477)
Unconscious contents, repressed contents being “reflected” – there, I knew that there was something to even this fragment. It doesn’t take more than a fragment to point to what the fragment is a reflection of, the fuller story. Jung spoke of how dreams pointed to motifs, to themes that are often represented in myths and fairy tales, stories of the collective unconscious which is embedded within our personal unconscious. Finding the theme allows us to hear what the dream is attempting to communicate to us. Now, all I have to do is to mull upon the question of what is it that I am trying to disguise about myself, saying as little as possible in terms of self-disclosure. Of course, the clues are in what is actually disclosed, in the fragment.
I realise that this is an atypical image when it comes to talking about dreams and reality, but then again dreams and reality are more atypical than not. Lately I have been having a bit of difficulty with recording dreams. If I do get any sense of the dream after waking, it often becomes too difficult to put into words as the fragments that do rise to the surface are too scattered and too far between each other for any hope of finding meaning in the dream. At times like this, I simply accept that the dream doesn’t need my attention, that it is doing what it needs to do at a sub-conscious level. All that is left to me are just disjointed pieces of words or images, such as this image.
Of course images are powerful in their own right. Taking an image such as this one, I can, and often enough do, allow my imagination to build a story, a fantasy around the image – the process of active imagination. This process allows us to bring meaning to images, to tell stories. But, are these stories and interpretations valid? Do they hold any value psychologically, any value in terms of orienting or understanding ourselves? Obviously, simply in allowing these questions to be asked indicates my response in the affirmative. One wouldn’t even entertain these questions if one didn’t consider that there was value. If one was clearly of the opinion that there was nothing to be gained or learned, then the question itself would not arise, rather any hint of the questions would simply be dismissed as nonsense. I guess, for many, the whole idea that there is something of value to doing dream work is in itself a waste of time and shear nonsense.
” The first question we must discuss is: what is our justification for attributing to dreams any other significance that the unsatisfying fragmentary meaning . . . If we start from the fact that a dream is a psychic product, we have not the least reason to suppose that its constitution and function obey laws and purposes other than those applicable to any other psychic product. . . . we have to treat the dream, analytically, just like any other psychic product . . .” (Jung, CW 8, par. 449-450)
As a society, we have somehow accepted that dreams, at least some dreams have meaning thanks to the work of Freud and Jung. Perhaps even more importantly in the western world, we have the stories of the Bible which shows us the power and validity of dreams. And often, these messages are given to us as singular images. The images appear and we are told to look beyond, beneath, within the images to discover truth. We are also told not to worship the images themselves and miss the gold within the depths of these images. Children seem to intuitively know this as they create stories from images, from sculptures and from the artifacts of nature and man. And these stories are not important in literal terms, rather their importance is psychological – the moral of the story being told, the kernel of truth contained.
So, back to this image, to the fragment(s) of a dream, of a thought that somehow sticks – what story can we allow to be told? What do we need to hear? What is message from within that we project exists that needs to be heard? Therein, lies the value of fantasy, active imagination and dream work.
When I fall asleep, darkness is welcome rather than being something fearful. It is as though the night creates a nest of safety, a cocoon of protection. My mind becomes silent, even more silent than the state of mindfulness that I am able to achieve at moments during meditation. And in my hours of sleep I descend into a state of healing nothingness, a non-threatening blankness. Yet, coming from out of the darkness, there emerges images, sounds and other indications that the darkness is a full place rather than an empty place. And I get to be both a spectator and a participant in that alternate reality that comes unbidden during the hours of sleep. This alternate world is a real world as far as my “mind” is concerned during my time spent in that world. But, it is a world that I enter into as though through a different lens, where I see differently and even act differently.
“. . . dreams are not entirely cut off from the continuity of consciousness, for in almost every dream certain details can be found which have their origin in the impressions, thoughts, and moods of the preceding day or days. To that extent a certain continuity does exist, though at first sight it points backwards. But anyone sufficiently interested in the dream problem cannot have failed to observe that dreams also have a continuity forwards – if such an expression be permitted – since dreams occasionally exert a remarkable influence on the conscious mental life even of persons who cannot be considered superstitious or particularly abnormal.” (Jung, CW vol. VIII, par 444)
The idea of consciousness is crucial here. Consciousness is based on thought, on one’s mental activity. We can’t see a thought, measure a thought, use any of our physical senses to prove the existence of a thought. Yet, we all accept the “reality” of a thought. There are some physical indicators that suggest the presence of thought, the way a person looks when thinking and when not thinking, a measurement of electrical activity in the brain are just tow obvious ways of being aware of the presence of thought in others. In our own heads, we have yet more evidence, both physical and subjective. Consciousness is based on this “thinking awareness.” Body presence is not enough to denote consciousness. We all know the expression “the lights are on but nobody’s home,” an expression that indicates that one can move through life instinctively, unconsciously.
Dreams have the same nature of existence as does thought. They are just as observable to an outsider indicating that there is “something” there. Our bias against a dream as a meaningful phenomenon, is based on the fact that we can’t seem to “control” these dreams. If we are honest, we have to admit that we often have great difficulty controlling our thoughts as well. Any beginner in meditative practice quickly learns how “thinking” seems to have its own agenda and will. It takes a lot of self-training to “tame” thinking processes in meditation. Whether we want to admit it or not, there is a real connection between thinking and dreaming in terms of consciousness.
I took this photo in Calgary, not because of any historical significance though there is a lot of historical significance for the Canadian prairies, but because it made me think of a fantasy world filled with hobbits, elves, trolls and other magical beings created by Tolkien. When I taught the book, The Hobbit, many years ago to grade ten English students, I found that talking about the story in terms of its dream-like quality allowed the reluctant students to begin to make some connection to the story. Of course, the story was too linear for being a dream story, but the conceptualization of darkness and light as well as characters that defied our notions of intelligent life was definitely the stuff of dreams.
Dream work is a vital part of my process here in Calgary. I have a fairly deep history with dreams and dream work, the first formal venturing into dream work happening about twenty-five years ago at the University of Saskatchewan. This initial training with dream work was focused on a Gestalt approach and was based on working within a group, more of a psycho-dynamic approach rather than a psychoanalytical approach. Of course I had worked with my own dreams much longer than this, not for a psychoanalytic reason, but simply because the dreams had imposed themselves upon me and gave me no peace until I addressed them.
Today, recording my dreams has become an automatic response. Recording the dream allows me to re-enter the dream later, even feel the presence and the weight of the dream while still being able to objectively observe the feeling tones as well as the content and flow of the dream. I want to bring some of G.G. Jung’s words here as he talked about dreams so that perhaps you will get a better sense of what it is about dreams that is vital for the process of getting to better know oneself.
“Dreams have a psychic structure which is unlike that of other contents of consciousness because, so far as we can judge from their form and meaning, they do not show the continuity of development typical of conscious contents. They do not appear, as a rule, to be integral components of our conscious psychic life, but seem rather to be extraneous, apparently accidental occurrences. The reason for this exceptional position of dreams lies in their particular mode of origin: they do not arise, like other conscious contents, from any clearly discernible, logical and emotional continuity of experience, but are remnants of a peculiar psychic activity taking place during sleep. Their mode of origin is sufficient in itself to isolate dreams from the other contents of consciousness, and this still further increased by the content of the dreams themselves, which contrasts strikingly with our conscious thinking.” (Jung, Collected Works – Volume 8, par. 443)
Necessarily one has to understand that consciousness is about becoming aware of, that something becomes “known” in some way. Being aware of something does not mean that one understands that something or that one is correct in what one understands about it. For example, I can be aware of a person’s existence without in the least having any knowledge of who that person is or anything about the character of that person. Just because I don’t know anything more than the fact that I “saw” this person does not mean that person is a figment of my imagination. I am aware of his or her existence because one or more of my senses tell me this. I accept this as proof enough. But of course, this is all in my mind and we do learn as we move through life that our mind isn’t always the most reliable of ways of knowing something. Our minds do play tricks on us. That said, our mind tells us and we become aware. So it is with dreams, our minds tell us and so we become aware of something else which emerges out of the darkness and into the light of awareness. It then is up to us to do something with what has emerged into our consciousness.
I am back with a photo of a little, common bird that more often than not gets overlooked. There is a tendency to focus on colour, on what is striking and different when taking photos and even on how we regard our lives. The common, everyday things are lost to our vision because they are common. It is hard for any of us to associate uniqueness and specialness to ourselves and the lives we live. Meaningfulness appears to be vested in others. Thoughts of superstars, actors, singers, musicians, artists, politicians and religious leaders come to our mind when thinking about having meaningful lives.
I am as guilty in this thinking as anyone else. I project the notion of a meaningful life onto others such as the Dali Lama or famous Jungian writers such as James Hollis, Robert Johnson, John Dourley and past great people such as Nietzsche, Dostoevsky, Tolstoi, Jung, Christ, Mohammed, and so on. When looking at myself I see ordinariness. I discount my individuality as being a deficit rather than as being a unique and meaningful version of a human. To harbor the least thought of being somehow special and having significant meaning as a human, is viewed by myself and often those who are in my world as hubris. I quickly knock myself down before another will knock me down – of course, this is all projection as I don’t really know anyone who would actually denigrate me or discount me as a person.
Yet, like this little bird, I want to fly, to soar and have meaning – meaning that I can understand and honour. I can’t find this meaning in the outer world and have that outer world acknowledgement of my worth actually stick into my psyche. I need to believe in myself. I have just read a book I bought on Friday, The Essence of Jung’s Psychology and Tibetan Buddhism. I want to bring one quote from the book here which I found in the Epilogue for the book written by Radmila Moacanin:
“. . . psychological health requires a meaningful life. The quest for meaning i the innate and spontaneous urge to self-realization and wholeness or completeness, to become true to one’s inner nature; this is the task of individuation, the path to the heart – to freedom. The urge toward self-realization, as aspiration to buddhahood, is also the central concept of Buddhist psychology. It is the urge of the mind to awaken, to become conscious, which is what the word buddha means: awakened one. Jung points out that the task of individuation – which involves paying serious attention to the unconscious as well as the conscious contents off our psyche – is imposed by nature.” (pp 110-111)
So what is stopping me? Well, it is my mind that discounts what is already present within me. The mind, not others or my body, stops me from acknowledging my worth, the fact that simply in existing I have meaning. In living in community, I bring meaningfulness to those around me as teacher, as principal, as counsellor, as father and grandfather, as husband and friend. Others see what I don’t and they value what they see. Of course, this isn’t just what happens to me, it is what happens to all of us if we dare to admit it. During those quiet moment when we are left alone to our own thoughts, we listen to those thoughts that come from deep within, a place that knows our personal secrets, our personal shame and guilt.
And it is this, this habit of listening to the negative voice of the unconscious, which spurs me to become more conscious, to take the sting out of voices of the personal unconscious. With consciousness I learn to accept the reality that the kingdom of heaven or nirvana lies within me.
Today is the day. This afternoon I join into a community of like-minded souls that have adopted a Tibetan Buddhist (mahayana) view of the world. This act of taking refuge is not about becoming Tibetan, or a monk, or a lama or about becoming anything more than myself. Taking refuge is in a way, finding that space within myself that is the bedrock of who I am as a spiritual, ethical and whole human that recognizes that I am not alone but am held within the collective of humanity, a child turned adult of a culture that extends back millenia carrying the heritage of the past into whatever the future holds for myself and all of humankind. Of course, I have had to think long and hard on taking this step. I had to come to understand exactly what taking refuge meant both within the Buddhist frame of reference and within the frame or through the lens of how I see and know the world and myself.
Taking refuge – refuge being a physical place of safety, or a mental state of being in which one can find protection. Why do I need to take refuge, to find this place both internal and external in which I can be safe? I guess I would have to say that it is about creating a space and place for my soul/psyche to nurtured and mature, a place that will act like a protective shell in a world that has little concern for the truly spiritual and psychological well-being of individuals. In psychological work, there is a need for a place of temenos, a sacred space/place/container in which one can risk facing inner demons with the purpose of finding personal healing and mental and spiritual health
Today I will take refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Taking refuge in Buddha is a state of mind, not some external God to whom one prays. The Buddha is that state of mind that “enlightened” or in Jungian terms, one in which the psyche has individuated into a state of wholeness (holiness) where self and other are seen as inseparable parts of a whole. Dharma is the path – the teachings and practice. One can’t know everything or how to get there on one’s own. If there was a book with all the questions and answers to guide us through every situation in life, it would be a big help. But information is not enough, we also need help in developing the practices to make our lives better and to heal our souls which enter the world bruised. Tibetan Buddhist teachings come first from the work and the words of Siddhartha Gautama (Shakyamuni Buddha). These teachings have one goal in mind, that of waking up to the fullness that is enlightenment or nirvana. C.G. Jung is not in the same league as Buddha, but he did work and put forth his ideas within the context of a modern western world culture for the same purposes. The goal, consciousness a consciousness that is both personal and universal. Sangha is the community that exists within which one finds support for this journey of dharma towards awareness, consciousness, wholeness. Community is important in helping one stay strong as well as helping us get back up off our knees when we fall on our journey. In spite of the fact that the journey is individual, the fact that one can know that in spite of doing this lonely work, one is connected to others and held within a family of spirit, a family of intention. In Jungian psychology, there is a hint of this when one joins within a collective such as a Jungian Society, when one takes part in workshops and seminars where the spirit is uplifted and the hard work of individuation is supported.
So, in a way, taking refuge is like adding another layer, adding another dimension to the work within which safety and support are held sacred.