Archive for the ‘energy’ tag
I took this photo earlier today, just before I ate my lunch. The scene was quite near the apartment, less than 50 metres away. Because it was lunch time, the people who work at hard, physical jobs such as taking care of the boulevard green spaces, often quickly eat a small lunch then use their time to rest. They have learned the art of sleeping on pavement and hard ground at a moment’s notice. I guess one could say that they have mastered the art of energy conservation.
In Jungian terms, psychic energy is often referred to as libido:
“All psychological phenomena can be considered as manifestations of energy, in the same way that all physical phenomena have been understood as energic manifestations ever since Robert Mayer discovered the law of the conservation of energy. Subjectively and psychologically, this energy is conceived as desire. I call it libido, using the word in its original sense, which is by no means only sexual.” (Jung, C.W. Volume IV, paragraph 567)
The photo talks about conservation of energy and about the absence of energy, at least in terms of conscious energy. Digging further into my texts to see where the absence of conscious energy would take me, I soon found myself looking at the word depression. Interesting. As a therapist I have often been faced with clients having serious issues with depression. In their waking life they had little energy to perform tasks, to be present in their relationships, to care about themselves or their work. Since I learned long ago in science classes that energy is neither created or destroyed, it made sense that the energy that used to be present in waking life had to have gone somewhere in the psyche. But where? If not in the conscious psyche, it must then be in the unconscious psyche.
“The unconscious has simply gained an unassailable ascendancy; it wields an attractive force that can invalidate all conscious contents – in other words, it can withdraw libido from the conscious world and thereby produce a ‘depression,’ an abaissemnet du niveau mental (Janet). But as a result of this we must, according to the law of energy, expect an accumulation of value – i.e. libido – in the unconscious.” (Jung, C.W. Volume VII, paragraph 63)
Since the energy has gone underground, so-to-speak, in order to regain energy in the conscious state we must do the work of connecting with the unconscious via dream work, or via active imagination. In a way this work is not much different from being a plumber and unplugging a drain or a toilet so that the water (energy) can again run free.
For myself, continuing to work with active imagination sort of acts as a way of preventing an accumulation of libido (energy) in the unconscious as well as having too much energy located in the outer psyche (ego). I do better when there is balance between inner and outer
I searched for a while for today’s photo and decided that this photo taken in February in Angkor Wat deserved to brought forward for you, my readers. I chose the photo before any thoughts as to what today’s post was to be about as I was unsure about the direction of this post. As I come closer to returning to Canada for the summer, I find that I am disrupted from normal routines. I haven’t taken my camera out for a walk in weeks and my sleep patterns are changing as the weather warms up. I find it harder to focus, even to read. It is as though some alien force has clamped an energy suppressant shield over me.
I think some of this is due to the frustration I feel in trying to access Internet and write up posts. At times, the good times, I can simply turn on a browser and log into this page and write to my hearts content, taking time to search for the right photo and browse though a book or two to find words that resonate. Recently that freedom has all but vanished. I use a program called Freegate to try and get passed the Firewall used to limit the access both into and out of China’s web spaces. If there is a small opening in the wall, I can sneak in to catch up on a bit of reading and posting using social media such as Twitter or Facebook, media which shortens the distance between family and friends left behind. However, I can’t post blogs using Freegate as my host site in Canada doesn’t allow proxy access to do so.
Yet adding to the Internet issues is the perennial issue of end of course documentation so that the university can release grades and move on to a new term. At least Internet isn’t an issue in doing this work. However, it is a dull, dispiriting kind of work that drains the energy levels and leaves one lethargic.
I realise that this post is not much more than a rant, and that, thankfully is not typical for my way of being here. Now, if I could only get this tree off my back and renew my presence in both face-to-face life and here in my sacred container, Through A Jungian Lens.
This is a photo taken yesterday when walking to visit a colleague who had recently given birth to a baby boy. New blossoms of all sorts are opening and the willow trees have new green buds which give a thin veneer of green on their branches. After so many bits and bytes of news that talks of death and destruction around the world, it is good to witness another side of nature, the side that shows life emerging.
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As the above marks indicate, I somehow had a significant “pause” in the process of constructing this post, a two-day pause. It had to do with being a bit under the weather and not being able to focus too readily. However, now I am back with an improved state of being. I wonder if it was synchronistic that I lost my energy during the the time of tragedy unfolding in Japan and in the Arab world? Somehow, I think that this was the case. The tragedies have not ended, if anything, they are set to worsen. But, life must go on for me.
It is easy to get caught in the drama and have one’s energy sucked away. I see this happening to some in various parts of the world via social media such as Twitter. Those affected are possessed even if they are thousands of miles or kilometres away, getting little sleep and hanging on to every bit of news that comes out of cyberspace, reposting the news without checking for validity. The individual mind has fallen asleep at the switch while the archetypal energies run free, eating away at the human host.
So, I had to stop and take a time out, to relocate my “self.”
On one of my innumerable walks, I passed by a new housing community that featured about a dozen skyscraper high rises and a collection of two and three story complexes and homes. Standing at the edge of the community was a short two story building that was like a miniature castle. It wasn’t a home, though. I saw this tiny thing as quite pretentious in its location. One would have expected it to be the tallest of the structures rather than one of the shortest buildings.
The image taken and then left on the computer with other photos from the walk, it was soon forgotten. Then, while looking for a specific photo, I saw this one again and decided that it had something in it that merited another study. So, I cropped it to see what emerged. The first thing to stand out was the phallic symbol. Ah-ha, a photo for the series of posts that I want to do on the theme of the masculine. I then left the image on my desktop screen until I could place it in its appropriate folder that I have set up for the images that might be useful for the theme. yet, I never did drag the photo to the folder and it stayed on the desktop staring at me.
Today, I began to think of writing my blog post after checking my morning e-mail and reading my Twitter and Facebook pages in order to see how family and friends were doing. Before deciding on today’s topic, I somehow chose this image to be here.. I trusted that the words would find their way here. Besides, I could always change the image later. Then, I turned to Mythologems and soon found the reason why this photo belongs here:
“Looked at archetypally, a god is the image that arises out of a depth experience, an encounter with a mystery. For this reason, divinity is always renewing itself. How could it possibly be fixed? It is energy, not image. The image is only the transient husk of divinity. Divinity floods the husk, renders it numinous, and when the human ego seeks to fix it, worship it and constrict it in service to its own ego security agenda, the god “dies,” which is to say, leaves the husk to reincarnate elsewhere. This is the meaning of the “death of a god” motif, which may be found in the ancient mythologies of all peoples, long before Nietzsche’s mid-nineteenth-century pronouncement.” (Hollis, Mythologems, p. 91)
The phallic imagery in these words “fit” the image I have brought here. Of course, I don’t equate “god” with “phallos,” but I do see the metaphor of being filled and being emptied, about being a “husk” and about worshiping the image instead of the energy. It has to come back to the energy. The mating of self and other in which both are “filled” to create a holy marriage followed by a small “death,” that is part of the imagery. It isn’t the swollen membrane that deserves worship, if one must worship, it isn’t the holder of the energy be it a penis, Allah, Yaweh, Baha u llah, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius or whoever; it is the energy which gave rise to these holders of the energy that one must honour. For me, it is about honouring and not worshiping the energy that arises from the depths, a place where “self” and “Self” become one.
I took this photo yesterday afternoon. This is a prairie hail storm in action. Besides hail, at least two inches (5 cm) of rain fell in less than two hours. The streets of our small town became lakes and rivers. Storms are fascinating. I find that they provide good photo opportunities both during and after the event. How can one capture the energy, the wildness of the storm with an image? That was my intent. And for once, there is a hint of this wildness.
I think there is a bit of the “wild” person in each of us even if it is buried under so many layers that one has lost all sight of that wild person. Here is a snippet from an interview with Clarissa Pinkola Estés, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves:
Bert: What is the “wild woman”?
Dr. Estés: She is … God.
Bert: Are you talking about finding a god within?
That comment provides a starting point for trying to understand the “wildness” whether that wildness is in nature or within a person. I remember as a child, repeating the old refrain about thunder as being God moving the furniture around in heaven. Storms are seen as payback for a society’s or a culture’s sinful ways with the story of Noah’s Ark being the ultimate story of wildness and the power of God – God as a “wild deity.” Dr. Estés goes on to say:
Dr. Estés: My sensibility is that what is wild is nature. We need to see and understand that whatever stands behind nature is what is god. Nature itself, it is the manifestation. We see things about nature that are beautiful, like your blue sky outside today, and it fills us with almost a prayerful excitement. When I look at it, I feel still. I have seen this sky every day of my life and I am still in awed by it. That is what the wild is — this intense medicinal beauty. To look at it makes you feel whole. To hear it, if it is ocean or water running in a stream, is to feel made whole again. To see a thunderstorm or a lightning storm is to somehow be energized by it. Even tornadoes and earthquakes — to be rocked to your very foundations by the power made in all these things. If that is the wild and if that is in every human being, then a man and a woman would essentially be no different from one another at the very elemental core.
I guess that helps explain my fascination with storms, a fascination that revels in the energy. I don’t seem to have a fear of storms, even a healthy fear of storms with the exception of a prairie blizzard in the middle of winter. Then, it is more about disliking the intense cold than it is about being stung by the snow and bent over by the wind and seemingly lost in fury and whiteness. I guess it is about seeing some of the faces of God, about resonating with those faces as being a part of something deep within myself.
I went for a walk yesterday afternoon, my first real walk since I have come back to Canada. The blizzard kept me indoors for a couple of days and my allergies stole whatever energy I had on the other days. The allergies are still going on strong but I knew that I had to get out or else I would simply turn into a zombie.
Out in the countryside, I found this lone seagull standing on the ice-covered lagoon looking rather lonely. I would imagine that he felt abandoned and alone out in the cold, a feeling that I share at times when depression decides to pay another visit. Depression, as described in this article, Fighting that Frozen Feeling, steals one’s energy to do things and to interact with people.
So what to do with this feeling? Well, the first thing is to realize that there is some purpose at work. The depression isn’t simply an incident of chaos. As my friend Ur-Spo reminds us:
In the Jungian theory, depression is a symptom of a wrong direction, or a necessary step of discarding false matters to make room for real psychological growth. So, in Jungian psychology, depression is not an ‘illness’ per se – it is a signal; sort of like a ‘red warning light’ that comes on when your engine has a problem. (Ur-Spo, Spo-Reflections, Depression From a Jungian Point of View, January 6, 2008)
Rather than fleeing or trying to deny the depression, one looks carefully at the depression in order to see what needs attention. Yes, there are roots, past events that can be held as responsible for the depression’s origins. However, it is something about the present that is not quite right according to the psyche, something that needs to be brought to light so that energy or libido can be freed up so that normal living can continue.
With energy freed, one begins to feel warmed by the spirit, the inner sunshine which then thaws the soul. Being able to move again, one can then relate again with others in a life-affirming manner, so that one is no longer alone and out in the cold.
Life can flow forward only along the path of the gradient. But there is no energy unless there is a tension of opposites; hence it is necessary to discover the opposite to the attitude of the conscious mind … The conscious mind is on top, the shadow underneath, and just as high always longs for the low and hot for cold, so all consciousness, perhaps without being aware of it, seeks its unconscious opposite., lacking which it is doomed to stagnation, congestion, and ossification. Life is born only at the spark of opposites. (Jung, CW 7, par. 78 – cited in Sharp, Jung Uncorked: Book One, p. 43)
Today’s photo was taken just moments before writing this post. In a way, before seeing this scene from the small patio in front of our casita, I had little intention or energy for doing a post. Truth be told, I was feeling conflicted and low in a way, but not really depressed, just a bit lost and empty. Life does that to a person. I sometimes get so into my head, so into the sky, that I lose sight of what lies beneath the sky.
And, in being lost in the sky, I fail to notice that I have begun to operate unconsciously, not my usual somewhat aware self. And in doing so, conflict finds its way back into the picture as I rail against this incursion of shadow into my “self.” It took this photo to remind me that I, too, need balance. I can’t stay all in the sky, in my ego-aware head. I can’t wander unconsciously acting in ways that spill out either, something that happens when I get too caught up in my head. Remembering, I can juggle both a bit and hope for the best with a sense of balance. And in juggling, I find again the energy to do.
A simple photo today, one taken yesterday morning from my backyard deck. Like the previous photo, this one is about the contrast between light and dark. Here, the shadow world is active. As I looked at the scene, I was struck how much vitality was given to the object, Trollius x cultorum, or “Golden Queen.” Those flowers in full sunlight appeared to be faded, almost washed out with the light. Those in deep shade where also less distinct. But those at the edges of shadow and light were the most vibrant. Nature has so much to teach us.
This makes me thing of how we become more ourselves, fuller beings when we work to bring aspects of the shadow into our consciousness. Being stuck in a sense of self that is fully persona leaves us washed out, energyless and feeling empty. Being stuck in the underworld of inner spaces where ego is almost non-existent is akin to being the living dead. It is only when one dares to experience some of the depths of self, to dare heroic journeys of self discovery that one is able to emerge a more vital being. It is then that one becomes “gold,” not that much different than the Golden Queen flower that thrives best in the partly sunny, partly shady spaces.