Archive for the ‘dawn’ tag
This morning I found myself in a contemplative mood, a good place really, not divorced from the reality of being present in my life. As I am entering these words, I am waiting for the toast to be ready for our breakfast. And yes, I am taking care of them even as I sit here seeing the small toaster oven across the kitchen while writing. With only fort-eight hours left of our stay in Belize, and all tasks taken care of in order to be ready for the shift back to Mexico, my mind is relaxed and there is no sense of being rushed or wondering what I should be doing at the moment, other than making sure the toast doesn’t burn. [time out to eat]
Before I began my morning meditation outside in our garden, I saw the moon in the west which sent me back to get my camera and get a photo for here. After returning the camera into the villa, I took my seat and slipped into my meditation knowing that at some point the sun would rise and anoint my body with its rays. If this sounds like a spiritual ritual, it is because the ritual is about honouring my soul, about connecting with the universe and becoming at one with it. While I meditated, my wife decided to grab the camera to take a photo of the sun rising above the layer of clouds that hugged the eastern horizon. Moon setting and sun rising while I meditated. No wonder I am in a contemplative mood this morning.
Not long after my meditation was left behind, I was sitting having coffee and wondering what I would do with my time. Sitting there, the urge to write here and touch once more on Jungian psychology became strong. But, I didn’t have a clue what I would write about. However, that didn’t seem to bother me at all as I have learned that the words would come. With breakfast done, I turned to Daryl Sharp’s book, Getting To Know You, and opened it at random and found these words which were spoken / written in response to a question about Jungian psychology being soul-making:
“. . . the only way I can understand the progression of my life is in terms of soul. Soul happens when you ponder alone in the still of the night. Soul happens when you grapple with the meaning of your life. Soul is what you are, as opposed to what you seem to be. That’s not theology, it’s experiential reality. [p. 56]
With these words, I think that I have said enough here for now. More will follow in another post on another day.
There are only a few more days left for me to enjoy the best of what winter can offer on the Canadian prairies. Luckily for me, the weather has moderated allowing me to go for walks without having to be so wrapped up in layers as was needed last week. The skies have been clear for the most part letting me enjoy some much needed sunshine, and my spirits have risen with its appearance. For an hour or more each afternoon I have been lazing in a chair with the sun’s rays warming my body and bringing me a sense of contentment.
This afternoon and evening I will be in the city of Swift Current in order to watch my eldest grandson play two games of hockey in his “home” tournament. Ironically, the first game will be against my hometown team. Needless to say, I will be cheering for my grandson and his team. Grandson number two will be refereeing a game during the evening as well so there is a likelihood that I will be able to watch him as well. This is life on the Canadian prairies in the wintertime.
Sometimes it seems nature wants to make statements to humans. In the evenings in our town, just like in many other towns and cities in the modern western world, there is a dedicated effort to set out coloured lights to mark the approach of the Christmas season, or the approach of winter’s solstice. Regardless of all our efforts, it only takes a moment for nature to make a grand statement that dwarfs human efforts.
The day began with darkness as usual. I woke up from a dream and took that dream into another room where I could enter it into my journal without disturbing anyone else in the house. With that task done, with the sense that this would likely be the dream I brought to open the next round of analysis, I made some coffee, checked my e-mails and a few favourite sites such as Twitter and a few newspapers while waiting for the coffee to be ready. Finally I was able to pour a cup of the dark liquid and sit quietly in the darkness, away from the computer – just me, the coffee, and the darkness of the predawn hours – waiting.
I have been waiting for a while for this next stage to begin, waiting in the darkness knowing that the darkness would have to give way to the light. that there would be light that would begin to cautiously creep into the night. And my patience was rewarded for dawn did arrive as expected, a dawn that found a sky clear enough for the colours of dawn to be presented – a good omen for the last part of the journey to a new stage of life. And for that next stage, I must remember that it is all up to me, that I am responsible for what happens and for the results.
“As an analyst, I have found that whether or not a person progresses in therapy, which is to say matures as a human being, is a direct function of one’s ability to take responsibility for choices, to cease blaming others or expecting rescue from them, and to acknowledge the pain of loneliness however much one may be invested in social roles and relationships. (Hollis, Swamplands of the Soul, p.59)
I found these words just moments ago as I looked quickly on my book shelves at the books I will leave behind as I drive off in a few hours to begin the next process. It was a matter of opening the book and seeing what presented itself. The words “take responsibility for choices, to cease blaming others or expecting rescue from them“, reached out to speak directly to me, guiding me to where I need to go within in order to mature as a person.
As I was wondering about today’s post earlier today, I looked out my window and saw sun highlighting the new growth on the trees nearby. This new growth will turn into delicate yellow flowers before turning into seed pods in shades of gold and rust. I quickly grabbed my camera and opened the window so that I could capture the moment and bring it here.
I love the early morning hours. The light is rich and allows me to wander with my imagination into a more magical world, a mythical world. The light also provides me with a portal to my interior world as strange as that might seem. I find it interesting that in Canada which is night when China is day, I would get up usually between 5 and 6 without an alarm clock. It was as if my body sensed that the magical time was approaching and I needed to get up. When I changed from my home on the prairies to two weeks in Toronto, (two hours earlier in time according to the clock) I again was getting up at the same time. And now, twelve hours difference in time from Toronto, I again was getting up between 5 and 6 in the morning. Interesting. Jet lag fatigue is almost banished, but jet lag didn’t prevent me from waking just before dawn breaks. It is as if my spirit needs to be present at this magical time.
Lesson preparation for a new year at the university is keeping me busy and focused for the most part. Once the main preparatory work has been done I will wander more with my camera to look again at China and this city of ChangZhou through my camera lens, with a Jungian filter.
I had the luxury of being able to sleep in this morning, but the body decided that I had been in bed long enough. I have been dreaming again. The dreams last night were different than usual and are worth a comment here.
I found myself in a “tense” situation in which I had to perform rituals of an unknown nature, movements that I can’t recall. I do remember my having to speak words in the process and the words were not in a language that I currently know. My mind tells me that the words are from some southern Asian country. I do know that I was fluent in the language and had no problem saying the words that needed to be said for the ritual. At the same time, I was aware that I was speaking a tongue that my mind couldn’t translate – it was as though a part of me was able to watch a scene from a different place and time, one in which I was still present.
I woke about three times during the night only to fall back asleep and continue to take part in the same story over and over again. Finally, it was as if I simply accepted the event as real and was able to let go of the dream. It was at this time that I “rose” from sleep and became alert to the fact that dawn was about to break.
I waited for an appropriate amount of time and was rewarded with the appearance of the sun. All is well and as it should be.
Just a side note for all those interested in the photograph – the only thing I have done to this photo is to crop it to fit this post. The photo as it is, is an unedited effort. I was lucky.
This is the scene I was greeted with as the car pulled into Chhong Kneas where I was to board the fast boat to Phnom Penh. The image of the rising sun was a welcome one and I wasted little time in taking too many photos, something that seems to be a growing problem. Since I began this journey through IndoChina three weeks ago, I have taken more than 9,000 photos. I have created a nightmare task for myself in trying to reduce the images to those that are “keepers.” The biggest problem is that I don’t yet know what to use as criteria to make the decision. I guess the best bet is to leave most of the images in the archives until “time” has worked within me as a sort of distillation process so that I can “see” more clearly. That said, this image has no worries about surviving the cut.
I can see why people in other cultures and even my own culture have found the sun to be so compelling. In the past few days leading up to the taking of this photo I had bee having vivid dreams that allowed very little rest. As I mentioned earlier, the bombardment of images on my psyche has left me exhausted and almost adrift. Since taking this image, I seem to have calmed down within so that last night I was finally able to sleep and wake up rested. It is as though, like the sun, I have ascended out of the underworld, a place of sensory and psychic overload, in order to find a bit more clarity in my life.
On the boat ride down Tonle Sap Lake, I talked with a young British man called James. The conversation was curious as it seemed to avoid all the typical tourist talk of sights seen and places visited. Rather, we talked of purpose and meaning, relationships and projections, and psychology. Part of our talk centred on the work of Viktor Frankle and Martin Buber. The meeting was definitely one of those precious “I-Thou” moments. Parting was made without parting words as they weren’t needed. The ripples of the meeting will work their magic for both of us for a long time. Interesting. It was as if I have woken up again, just like the sun has risen again.
I took this photo a few moments, a scene of the skyline off to the east from my apartment living room window. Tomorrow morning I will be up earlier and will have already left the city by the time dawn begins to break. With classwork done, exams marked and pertinent documents submitted, it is time for winter break; it is time for another journey into the unknown.
I want to quote from John Ferric (nom de plume), one of my readers here who talks about Jungian Psychology and those practicing Jungian Psychotherapy in some fashion or other. Of course, I would have to include myself in that group even though I have retired from that role
“Robert, my friend, what are we to think of those, alleged Jungians, who treat people in order that they might go out into that insane social order and fit in? So many Jungian sites offer “Life Coaching” that seems aimed toward making the individual more adaptable to the insane social order rather than developing that individual into the unique human being he naturally is. Are these Jungians really what they claim?”
My first thought was that C.G. Jung once remarked that he was glad that he wasn’t a Jungian. Am I a Jungian? Well, I don’t have the stamped approval of the various centres that issue Jungian analyst status, nor do I hold a graduate degree in Jungian Psychology. What is a Jungian? In truth, I don’t know. What I do know is that I have a difficult time joining any group and adopting a group identity. John, your comments are valid, even poignant in response to my post of yesterday, a post that grew out of the pain that is wracking the American nation and its citizens. No one has the answers. Like yourself, I am more upset about many making a profit off of the pain of others because they promise answers, a way out of the pain. Jungian Psychology never has promised any answers, nor any relief from the pain. What Jungian Psychology has suggested is that perhaps the pain and suffering can be purposeful, meaningful.
I guess I can’t get too upset at the “life coaches” or any other brand of “help” out there. People do what they can. Many get involved in animal rescue ventures or saving trees or any number of other worthy causes in an attempt to help make the world a better place. Perhaps if we can learn to play and learn and co-exist with each other, then the world will become significantly better.
That said, the work of individuation is a work of one. Each day one must rise again from the darkness, to begin a new journey into the light. Each journey is experienced on a pathway built for only one person. As someone once said (Paul), “There are many roads that lead to God,” I am coming to believe that there are as many roads to wholeness, to holiness, as there are souls. There is no “one-size fits all,” let alone even two souls.
I have chosen a different photo this morning, one that I just finished taking. As usual, I was up at 5:30 am just before sunrise. Believe it or not, others are up earlier as I can hear them on the street outside my window. For a change, there are no clouds in the sky and there is a definite shade of blue in the sky as the sun’s rays catch the edges of the tall buildings. There is something about dawn that brings a warm glow that travels deep within me.
As the light and the warmth make the journey inward, I get a better sense of who I am. Each ray seeks to illiminate, to make known what lies in the shadows. And I see my self exposed. This “self” is not the full self that I am, just the self that I know, my ego’s vision of self. Most of that knowledge of self is placed into a holder, the persona. Of course we all have a sense of “person.” We see ourselves as individuals with personality and identity that is unique. We tell ourselves that we are complete beings, basically understood by others. Yet, we rarely admit that we are still mysteries to ourselves. Persona is our sense of being a person, one among many.
“Jung describes the persona as an aspect of the collective psyche, which means there is nothing individual about it. It may feel individual – quite special and unique, in fact – but such designations as “struggling writer,” “father,” “teacher,” “doctor” and so on are on the one hand simply social identities, and on the other ideal images. They do not describe a particular person; they do not distinguish on doctor or father or teacher or writer from any other.” (Sharp,Jungian Psychology Unplugged, p. 41)
These words make me think about how I see myself, how I even describe myself. On Sunday I met a new classroom full of students for the first time. As always, I introduced myself to them before having them do the same in return. I used the words, father, teacher, writer, photographer, grandfather, husband and so on. I was deliberately using these words because of the universal images they invoke so that the differences between myself as an English-speaking Canadian, would be bridged by these images into their collective and individual consciousness as Chinese students. I thought I was telling them about myself as an individual when in truth I was placing myself in the collective, defining myself in collective terms.
Thankfully I can hear these words and realise that I have a long way to travel yet before I can truly say I know myself. For now, it is enough that I wake and again seek to become more conscious of the stuff within, the stuff of “self.” This morning’s early light makes me think of how each day there is an opportunity for me to become a bit more conscious as a human being. With “grace” I might be able to bring a little more light into the darkness within, to bring the hidden shadows forward to be recognised. It isn’t a one-day project for me, it is one that will last until my mind loses sense of “self.”
“At the hour of dawn, before the sun’s rising from beyond the horizon, I sat in the middle of a field communing with Nature. At that hour filled with purity and beauty I lay on the grass, what time men were yet wrapped in slumber, disturbed now by dreams, now by awakening. I lay there seeking to know from all that I looked upon the truth of Beauty and the beauty of Truth.” (Gibran, “Lament of the Field,” A Tear And A Smile, p.66)
Before putting Gibran’s book aside, I decided to read a bit more.
“And when my reflecting had set me apart from the flesh, and my imaginings lifted the covering of matter from off my inner self, I felt my spirit growing, drawing me near to Nature and revealing to me her hidden things and teaching me the language of her wonders.” (ibid)
As you may well guess, I took a significant pause after writing these words of Gibran’s before daring to add my thoughts to this post. All that comes up for me is to finally be still with the moment and let the image and the words do their work of talking to my soul, and like Gibran, “set myself apart” in order to allow the spirit to grow.