Archive for the ‘resonance’ tag
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.
A male Magnificent Cormorant sits on a mast of a small fishing boat called the Black Christ (Cristo Negro) in the harbour of Rio Lagartos, Yucatan, Mexico as evening gets ready to settle in. It’s a photo I took at the end of January of this year.
I struggled for quite some time today trying to find the words that I wanted to put here. A search through a number of volumes of Jung’s works didn’t yield anything that resonated. And so, I decided to simply speak as it “felt” for me. In the end, that is all any of us can ever do. the closest any of us can ever come to what might pass as the truth of who we are.
Black is about shadow, that much resonates loud and clear. However, all that is black isn’t evil. That is the hard part to get past sometimes. For the owner of this boat, obviously, the use of the word Christ is all about hope. So, why not have the two combine? This is where I jump from the scene of the photo to my personal realm of the underworld/inner-world.
Going through midlife, it is only when I dared to look at the edges of shadow country, staring into the fearsome blackness within that I finally began to sense hope, sense that I would emerge from that inner journey better than when I began that journey. The darkness and shadows yielded treasures about self, about personal strength and even validation of my “self.” Like the fisherman heading out into the ocean for the rich yields of the sea, I headed deep within the darkness, blind for the most part because of the darkness. I fought those sea monsters that assailed my sense of fear, my sense of inferiority and somehow, like the fisherman, found myself back in port, back in the outer world of consciousness. The journey had rewarded me with a bit more awareness of self and of the nature of the unconscious – a rich treasure. But more importantly, it renewed hope in something bigger than my ego. This is the promise of the Christ symbol.
There is hope if one does not fear the darkness so much that one flees from it. Rather, think of how San Juan de la Cruz (St. John of the Cross) embraced the dark night and found love, love that burned with its own light, a love that touched Christ. To embrace this, one must go under, one must sacrifice the “what is” for “what could be.” Or as I read in Jung’s works somewhere in words similar to these, “the good is the enemy of the better.”
I have returned from a short stay with my brother-in-law. The time spent with him was as good as I had hoped for as the weather allowed us to go into the countryside and re-visit places and memories of his past. I did get some photos as anticipated which only made the time even more special.
Of course, all is never perfect. A flat tire revealed that all four tires needed changing, an unexpected expense. But even that had a small blessing as it slowed us down enough to allow relax time together. It makes me think of “Thy will, not mine,” making room in life for the will of the gods, for a divine plane. And wouldn’t you know it, Hollis talks about this in his book Celebrating a Life. Even the title of the book felts somehow in sync with the weekend which was both a visit and a gathering of photos for the purpose of celebrating the present life of my brother-in-law.
The time spent with Mike is best described as a collection of moments of grace. Since his loss of capacity, he lives simply on his own. Unlike those who suffer Alzheimer’s, he has retained some memories and a sense of who he is. He has lost analytic function and cannot cope well with change or complexity. He is entranced by nature and sees the need to keep the environment clean. This is almost an instinctual level of knowledge, not a reasoned response to the environment based on study. It’s as though his soul has taken a shortcut to touch the numinous aspects of the world. He may have lost much of his “mind,” but he has definitely found his soul.
James Hollis talks about us as modern beings go in search of soul as though picking through the shards of ancient civilizations, through the rubbish of the past:
And how does one know which shards to carry forward in the infinite jigsaw puzzle of the soul? When something is of us, is for us, it sets off the tuning fork inside us. It resounds because it has always been there, archetypically. The resonance within us cannot be willed; it happens. No amount of willing will make it happen. But resonance is the surest guide to finding our own right path. (Hollis, Celebrating a Life, 2001, p. 61)
The photo above which I took earlier this evening upon our arrival back at our house was taken before I knew what I was going to write here. I took the photo for reasons of contrast, colour and the play of light. Yet, I see in the photo, shards of a pot, life breaking down, like the life of Mike is breaking down into simpler terms. In a way, it makes the future of growing older and of diminishing capacity something less fearful, something more holy.
On a walk during a recent stay in Mérida we passed one of many old churches. Above the front entrance to this church was a stained glass window proclaiming Jesus. The city is filled with churches from simple “Christian” churches to a number built in the 16th and 17th centuries by the Spaniards. Though I am not particularly religious in a church sense, there is quite a pull to some of the images and the space and architecture of these old churches. That said, it is in the detail that I find resonances.
Jesus, in a Jungian sense is an archetype that points to the “Self” within the “self”. Okay, maybe that doesn’t make sense to most people, but I hope that I can explain it enough so that you can understand how it resonates within me. In a number of locations in the bible one comes across the words with proclaim about finding “Christ” within. Christ represents the godhead, the Imago Dei, that lies within each person. Sometimes religion ascribes the soul as that aspect though in Jungian terms, that would be somewhat inaccurate. I say somewhat as all aspects, all archetypes all become just aspects of the whole, the holy, that oneness of conscious and unconscious both personal and collective.
Jesus is a representation of the collective unconscious that points to the potential for all to achieve a state of being the best one can be. As one travels a journey of individuation, one becomes more and more conscious, more aware of the nature of self in relation to other and in relation the collective and in relation to what I can only say is the sum of all that is and all that isn’t, that which religions call god.
I have just finished reading, yet again, the story of the Trojan war with Achilles, Ajax, Odysseus, et al. And this morning on my beach walk, I came upon this sea aged bit of concrete. It reminded me of how things link to stories. And this one spoke to me of a past that has been destroyed by time and the elements. In a way, it is a marker of myths. And in myths we are able to listen to the true stories of the human psyche. Reading and listening to real events and real people doesn’t give us any truths. For, they are conscious constructions and as such are limited in what can be said. Myths are not limited by prosaic facts which are never reliable at the best of times. Myths skirt by detail in order to dive deep into the heart of the human psyche.
In the day-to-day world of being present, I have often seen how individuals in a collective can never see the same event. Having had the opportunity to speak to more than one ‘witness’ I am always amazed that they can be considered witnesses to an event. Sometimes what is seen and heard, even if filmed, is not even close to the reality of the whole event. Rather, like a good anthropologist, it is better to see the artifacts and to let them speak intuitively. When there is a sense of resonance, it is likely that one is close to the full story. And so, it is a wise person who will approach the world of mythology with an open head rather than dismiss myths as just another make-believe fairy tale.