Monthly Archives: August 2013

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Depth Psychology

Approaches based on depth psychology focus on the psyche, human development, personality formation, and individuation.  Individuation is a process of bringing our unconscious potential into a concrete living reality.  This process helps to secure a bridge between an individual and the unconscious as well as the individual and his/her wider community. By incorporating both an inner and outer exploration, one discovers a more potent sense of meaning and purpose in life.

In my research I found several articles by Dr. David Johnston, that are relevant for this website. Dr. Johnston is a psychologist who has many years of personal experience with Jungian depth psychology along with knowledge that aids in interpreting and understanding the unconscious. He mentions two of the books I have summarized on this website,  Jean Gebser’s Ever Present Origin and Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections in some of his writings.

In his article Meaning and Jungian Depth, in which he discusses the nature of a meaningful life from the point of view of Jungian depth psychology, he writes that according to Jung a life is meaningful if consciousness is increased. Dr. Johnston continues to describe a life where consciousness is increased as one “where work and relational goals are transcended, becoming increasingly reflective of an inner need for more consciousness and, potentially, a vocation or meaningful expression of being.”

He explains that the “Self, that is the God or Godhead” is a “complex of opposites, including what we experience as good and evil” and that a person with a meaningful life is related to the Self and integrates into consciousness experiences of the opposites.  In other words, the process of individuation involves integrating new aspects of the unconscious into awareness and one’s activities in life, developing one’s character and discovering one’s inner essence.

Dr. Johnston provides in this article examples of how people have been able to enhance the meaning of their lives with the help of depth psychology by recognizing certain aspects of themselves and making the necessary changes but emphasizes that in all cases the individuals concerned had “something of a genuine religious and ethical attitude to life, which is of fundamental importance to leading a meaningful existence.”

He adds that even if one’s life is deeply meaningful, it does not mean that there is no suffering, or times when life seems random and senseless but by intuitively understanding “that life will once again make sense, that darkness will give way to light and that meaninglessness will prove to be contained in a greater meaning.”

In his article Jung, the Self and the Jungian Depth Psychological Worldview he elaborates further on the process of individuation and points out that “this process involves not only the transformation of individuals but also of the community” which implies the need of “a creative engagement of the individual in the life of the community.”

He also addresses the individuation process at the beginning of another one of his articles,  Individuation and the Individuation Process, and interprets individuation simply as the “developmental unfolding of the psyche over the course of a lifetime.”  He discusses in more detail how this process involves becoming more conscious of disparate aspects of one’s being including shadow qualities and the four functions of consciousness, thinking, feeling, intuition and sensation, along with the two attitudes, extroversion and introversion and deduces that this process will consequently lead “to a relative degree of wholeness, at which time the Self, that is to say one’s inner center of being, begins to direct one’s life. “

I found even more overlap with my research in his article Jung in Contemporary Context.  At the beginning he points out that we live in an “Age of ConfusionCompare with A New Earth under Spiritual Development” and refers to Hindu mythology and specifically the Bhagavad Gita which explain that the reason we are living in such confusing times is that people are no longer living according to eternal laws and therefore the Divine/God is preparing the way for a new age.

Dr. Johnston explains that in mystical literature and Hindu thought, the transcendent Self is considered to be “Brahman or God” but that Jung hesitated to make such metaphysical assertions and stayed with empirical experience.  Rather “than insisting that these experiences of the transcendent Self are experiences of God, he referred to them as archetypal experiences of the God-image.  Jung preferred to call it the God-image for the sake of a scientific attitude.”

In the same article Dr. Johnston writes that we are in the early stages of a major transformation in consciousnessCompare with The Ever Present Origin under Philosophy and culture and that Jung has stated once, that there is a transformation of the principalities and powers taking place or “in other words, a transformation of the archetypes, of the basic underlying patterns of life, and the way that we understand and relate to life and the world.” He continues to write, “the old ways are being transformed or destroyed, so the new can live” and states his belief that a more divinely oriented world is “already there in its early stages of manifestation”.

In the conclusion of this article he writes that “a New World is laboring to become manifest” and that “understanding Jungian psychology can be very helpful in gaining self-knowledge and consciousness and in encouraging fulfillment of one’s unique destiny.” He adds, that “there is the need to assimilate qualities of the chthonic spirit, which allows for the instinctive expression of the Divine Will in life and the potential to participate consciously in the New World.”

Websites I have used for this article are:

http://www.goodtherapy.org/Jungian_Psychotherapy.html#Depth%20Psychology

http://home.arcor.de/g.mackenthun/lect/keywords/key11.htm

http://www.pacifica.edu/whatisdepth.aspx

http://www.terrapsych.com/depth.html

http://www.cgjungcenter.org/?page_id=97

http://www3.telus.net/gusbear4/articles.shtm

Religion

Each of us connects with the word “religion” very specific ideas. The word religion (“respect for what is sacred, reverence for the gods,” “obligation, the bond between man and the gods”) is mentioned as a description of the religious life for the first time in Cicero’s  “De natura deorum”. Some modern scholars favor the derivation from ligare “bind, connect”.

There are two world traditions, which have formed the cultural and ethical basis of the world, as we know it. Both have an unbroken history going back thousands of years.

1) Abrahamic religions are the monotheistic faiths of Middle East origin, recognizing a spiritual tradition identified with Abraham, the founding father of the Israelites.

Judaism is the oldest Abrahamic religion, originating in the people of ancient Israel and Judea.

Christianity is based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. The Christian faith is essentially faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God and as Savior and Lord.

Islam is based on the Quran, one of the holy books, considered by Muslims to be revealed by God, and on the teachings of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

2) The Vedic tradition, also termed Dharmic tradition, are a family of religions that have originated from the Indian subcontinent. They encompass Hinduism and three other religions that have spawned from it—namely Buddhism, Jainism, an Sikhism.

Hinduism includes Shaivism, Vaishnavism and Shrauta among numerous other traditions. Hinduism includes a wide spectrum of laws and prescriptions of “daily morality” based on karma, dharma and societal norms.

Buddhism was founded by Siddhattha Gotama who aimed to help sentient beings to end their suffering by understanding the true nature of phenomena, thereby escaping the cycle of suffering and rebirth that is, achieving Nirvana.

Jainism is an ancient Indian religion that prescribes a path of non-violence for all forms of living beings in this world.

Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded on the teachings of  Guru Nanak and ten successive Sikh. Sikhs are expected to embody the qualities of a Sant-Sipāhī—a saint-soldier, have control over one’s internal  vices and be able to be constantly immersed in virtues clarified in the Gutu Granth Sahib.

There are other religions that can’t be put into one of these two world traditions, among them Shinto (the indigenous spirituality of  Japan), Zaroastrianism (an ancient Iranian religion and philosophy), Taoism (a religious tradition that emphasizes living in harmony with the Tao meaning “way”, “path” or “principle”), Confucianism (an ethical and philosophical system developed from the teachings of the Chinese philosopher Confucius) and Baha’i Faith (a monotheistic religion emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind).

The development of religion has taken different forms in different cultures.  But we have to remember that the great teachers never founded a religion. It is the followers that established and promoted the different churches, replete with their own beliefs, dogmas, rules, rites, rituals and other governing persuasions.

Each great teacher emphasized different ideals and virtues.   The ideal is the selfless aspiration to help uplift humanity and a virtue is the fulfillment of the ideal.  In other words, an ideal is a virtue we promise to practice. In the end there is a basic unity of the world’s religionCompare with The Universality of Golden Rules in Religion even if they emphasize different ideals because any particular ideal includes all the others for its altruistic completion.

 

RELIGION TEXT IDEAL TEACHING TEACHER TIME
Hinduism Vedas Divine Duty, Wisdom Vyasa and Unknown +2000 – 600 B.C.
Judaism Torah Righteousness Moses ca. 1250 B.C.
Shinto Kojiki & Nihonji Godliness Unknown 660 B.C.
Zoroastrianism Zend Avesta Purity, Truth Zoroaster/Zarathushtra 660 – 583 B.C.
Jainism Siddhantha Angas Harmlessness Mahavira Vardhamana Jnatriputra 599-527 B.C.
Buddhism Tipitakas Compassion Siddharta Gautama Sakyamuni Buddha 580 – 483 B.C.
Taoism Tao Teh Ching Simplicity Lao Tzu 570 – 517 B.C.
Confucianism The 4 Books & The 5 Classics Altruism, Propriety Confucius 551 – 479 B.C.
Christianity Holy Bible Love, Forgiveness Jesus 105 B.C.
Islam Koran Divine Surrender Abulqasim Mohammed ca. 570 – 632 A.D.
Sikhism Adi Granth Devotion Guru Nanak 1469 – 1538
Baha’i Faith Kitab-I-Agdas Peace Mirza Husain Ali Nuri 1817 – 1892

 

Sources for this article:

Escudero, B. (1994). Basic Unity of the World Religions. Summar Sophia Series, Volume 4, Number 9

Jewish Virtual Library. Abraham. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/biography/abraham.html

Renkewitz H. (1980). Religion aus Das Moderne Bildungsbuch.

Vedic and Abrahamic Thoughts. (n.d.) Retrieved from http://veda.wikidot.com/vedic-and-abrahamic-thought